A man claiming to have been trained by Taliban militants in Pakistan is recruiting in Dhiffushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives Dissent has learnt.
Known as Zubba, and originally from Male, the man, who is in his 30s, recently rented a room on the island and moved in with his wife and two children.
Zubba is said to have befriended a handful of disenfranchised youth, mostly heroin addicts, and has already twice held Friday prayer congregations in his rented accommodation.
When islanders discovered this they called for him to be expelled from the island, Zubba’s supporters have rallied around him in support. Zubba, meanwhile, has threatened serious consequences if the islanders interfered with his activities.
According to an islander, Zubba at present is tailoring leaflets to convert the whole of Dhiffushi. He does not go to work and it is not known from where he gets funds to support his stay on the island.
Although Zubba has been Wahhabi for a long time, he shaved off his beard and turned non-Wahhabi for a short while after the Sultan Park bombing.
Dhiffushi, an impoverished island two hours from Male has a population of just over 700. Many of its inhabitants turned Wahhabi in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. An islander reported that the boatyard on the island constantly plays Radio Atoll, which spreads misogyny and intolerance in the name of religion, over loudspeakers.
The government’s Islamic ministry, headed by the Adhalath Party, has so far failed to address the growth of extremism in the country. Instead, its heads appear to be using the resources at its disposal to spread its own intolerant misogynistic and anti-democratic propaganda.