Maldivian government endorses Deobandi Islam, the religion of the TalibanBy Azra Naseem | September 19th, 2011
The Religious Unity Regulations have provided the clearest indication yet of the official direction religion in the Maldives is taking: towards Deobandi Islam, the religion of the Taliban.
Among 36 institutions of Islamic learning approved by the regulations is the ultra-orthodox Jamia Darul Uloom in Deoband, India and at least six affiliated madrassas.
Established in 1867 to bring together Muslims who were hostile to British rule, the Deoband madrassa, created the so-called ‘Deobandi Tradition’ committed to a literal and austere interpretation of Islam. For the last 200 years, the Deobandi Tradition has argued that the reason Islamic societies have fallen behind the West on all spheres of endeavour is because they have been seduced by the amoral West, and have deviated from the original teachings of Prophet Mohammed.
It is the fundamentalist Deobad Da-ul-Uloom brand of Islam that inspired the Taliban movement. Many of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan and in Pakistan are graduates of the Deobandi-influenced seminaries in Pakistan. Mullah Omar, for example, attended the Deobandi Darul Uloom Haqqania madrassa in Peshawar.
The Kabul Centre for Strategic Studies has reported that so many of the Taliban leaders were educated at the school that its head cleric, Maulana Sami ul-Haq is regarded the father of the Taliban. The Deobandi Tradition is highly critical of Islam as practised in modern societies, feeling that the established religious order had made too many compromises with its foreign environment.
The mission of the Deoband is to cleanse Islam of all Western influences, and to propagate their teachings with missionary zeal. Increasingly, the Deobandi movement has been funded by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, leading to the former being co-opted by the latter.