Postcard from... The Maldives


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The Independent Online


It’s election time in the paradise islands of the Maldives, and for some superstitious islanders that means keeping a watchful eye out for magic coconuts.

This week, police were called out to a school on Guraidhoo Island, where students had discovered a small, four-inch coconut, which they feared had been cursed with black magic because a Qu’ranic verse in Arabic was written on the side.

Their principal called the police, fearing this might be an attempt to influence the presidential elections due tomorrow. The school will be a polling station on Saturday.

The cops decided this required the expert opinion of a white magic practitioner, who fortunately declared the coconut to be “a fake”.

A Guraidhoo islander told Minivan News: “It was not really ‘fanditha’ (black magic) on the coconut. If it was fanditha, there would have been Arabic letters and numbers written.

“Now the police and school officials are more aware and police are patrolling the school at night, so magicians can’t practice real black magic at the school.”

The Maldives is a strictly Islamic nation, but superstitious belief continues to hold sway in many of its remote atolls.

The country is gearing up for crucial elections tomorrow. Its first-ever democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted under suspicious circumstances last year, is hoping to return to power.

His attempts to introduce liberal reforms have angered religious conservatives and those linked to the dictatorial regime that preceded him.