“I was attacked because I advocate secularism. The Islamists want Maldives to remain a 100-per cent Islamic country.” But remember: the real problem is “Islamophobia.”
NEW DELHI – The Maldives’ best-known blogger, who nearly died in an attack outside his home last month, has blamed resurgent Islamists for the assault and fled the country.
Ismail Rasheed, known locally as the blogger “Hilath,” was on his way home from prayers on the evening of June 4 when three men grabbed him from behind and one of them stabbed him in the throat.
The 37-year-old former journalist with leading daily Haveeru, who had upset the Indian Ocean nation’s increasingly influential religious hardliners, slumped in a pool of blood outside his front door in the capital Male.
Rushed to hospital, he remained in intensive care for days where doctors brought him back from the brink. His trachea – but not a vital artery – had been sliced clean through.
“I was attacked because I advocate secularism. The Islamists want Maldives to remain a 100-per cent Islamic country,” he told AFP in an interview conducted via Twitter and email in the past few weeks.
The free-speech advocate has been literally silenced. He was unable to talk in person or over the telephone because doctors have advised him not to speak while his throat heals.
Fearful for his future safety, Rasheed has since fled the country and is considering seeking political asylum.
“The Maldives is not safe for me anymore,” he said, declining to disclose his present whereabouts….