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Former Maldivian President Gayoom delivers a Distinguished Lecture in India

By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor, The Diplomatic Society

16 March 2016

“India was and remains the most strategically important partner of Maldives ,“ the former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said this in response to a question after delivering an address on ‘Islam: A Religion of Peace’ at the Delhi- based , multidisciplinary public policy think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) on 8 March 2016.

Pictured: (l-r) Farish Gayoom, the former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Mr.H K Dua and Maldivian High Commissioner to India Ahmed Mohamed

The former President of Maldives is one of the founder members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) which was established in 1985 and served as the President of the Maldives from 1978 to 2008. Maumoon  Gayoom is the President of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)  and the  Chairperson of the Maumoon Foundation (TMF).

 

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) hall was filled to capacity. The former president’s lecture was chaired by one of the most senior journalists of India, Mr. H K Dua, an advisor, Observer Research Foundation and Farish Gayoom, the Media Coordinator to former President.  

The Maldives is an Islamic republic which lies off the Indian sub-continent. It is made up of a chain of nearly 1,200 islands.  Tourism began in the 1970s, and has grown to be the Maldives' most important industry. Tourism in Maldives accounts for about 30 percent of Gross domestic product (GDP) and 60 percent of foreign exchange. 

 

Srimal Fernando pictured with Former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
 
Islam is a religion that preaches peace and the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful.  Lasting peace, building conflict resolution practices among Muslim communities should be constructed within the Islamic framework. Addressing the wider audience former Maldivian President Gayoom said, “The tenets in our holy books say that killing one man equals killing the whole of mankind."  Gayoom went on to say, “militant outfits like Islamic State (IS) are "not fighting a holy war" or upholding the rights of Muslims with their mindless violence borne out of religious ignorance. Thousands of people are being killed in terror attacks and I condemn all such violence and wars waged in the name of religion."

In line with the country’s religious identity and values, the Maldives assures tourists that the island nation is safe.  Speaking on the occasion with concerns about its strong impact on the country's tourism industry, former Maldivian President Gayoom  said,  “for us tourism is a major sector for sustaining our economy and therefore we are committed to contributing towards building a comfortable climate for everyone."   

The core message of the lecture was that Islam is a message of peace, it is essential to build bridges within the Muslim society and with other non -Muslim communities. To build a society in peace, serenity, friendship, non-violence practises and understanding the Muslim Principles are important.

 

 

 

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