" Battle Between Truth and Falsehood "
by President Mohamed Nasheed ( Dealing with fundamentalism )
I am often criticised by liberal Maldivians because I refuse to censor religious groups. I am criticised because I won’t crack down on the fundamentalists.
But my point is this: the ends do not justify the means. You cannot arrest and imprison people just because you disagree with their views. Moreover, the battle between liberalism and fundamentalism is a battle of ideas.
Liberally-minded Maldivians must organise, and reclaim civil society if they want to win this battle of ideas. People with broader viewpoints must become more active, to create a tolerant society.
A few nights back, 32 young people came to see me. They were furious about the rise in extremism. To my mind, these are just the sort of people who need to reclaim civil society, if they want to foster a more open-minded society.
We must defeat the rejectionists, who hanker for a return to authoritarian rule. We must overcome the vested interests that want to stymie economic progress. And we must win the battle of ideas against extremists who want to replace democracy with theocracy.
I believe we will not win by going for a crack-down, or a witch-hunt or mass arrests. To my mind, violence only begets violence. Instead, for democracy to flourish, the government must show that people’s lives are improving. We must be able to say, that things will get a little better. We must be able to highlight a brighter future. We must use hope, to overcome fear. MINI van NEWS