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Rannamaari, Women’s Day and Sheikh Fareed

March 9, 2011

This year March 7 coincided with the day Maldives was converted to Islam by a North African or Iranian traveller. The details of that moment in Maldivian history is shrouded in mystery and mythology but the popular narrative that has been spoon fed for generations of Maldivians is that a virgin girl was sacrificed at a seaside temple every month for a sea demon called Rannamaari. The foreign traveller saved the capital Male from the sea demon and invited the reigning king to convert to Islam.

If there is an ounce of truth in this narrative, young girls of Maldives were terrorized one thousand years ago. However, the conversion to Islam did not stop Maldivian women from being terrorized, bullied or marginalized in society. In fact, in the 21st century, the biggest advocates of misogyny in the Maldives are those who marginalize women in the society in the name of Islam. Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed and several other religious scholars who preach a religious narrative that promises to take modern Maldivian women back to the times of the seaside temple, sea demon and sacrifice.

It seems Sheikh Fareed is toying with the idea of retirement. However, it is hard to believe he is ready to jump into the obscurity of history merely a year after we delivered him underwear on Valentine’s Day.

Whether Sheikh Fareed retires or not Maldivian women are not ready to be sidelined to the margins of society. Watch this video and celebrate the resilience of Maldivian women as we all mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. mithra permalink
    March 9, 2011 12:26 pm

    The foreign person who converted Maldives would be From Isfahan, in giving consideration to the date.

  2. Anna permalink
    March 9, 2011 3:26 pm

    Good luck with everything you’re doing. I hope to read about more of your activisms soon! Keep going at it – you are in the right and these misogynists need to be shown the error of their ways! In sisterhood, Anna. x

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