At 12AM on Friday the 23rd of November 2018, a whole bunch of Maldivian twitter users changed their profile pictures to the one above. It shows a young Ali Rameez leaning back, relaxing his head against his arm. The incident is referred to by some as #NationalAyyaDay.
Mass confusion spread as everyone’s notifications looked the same.
Yup, giving up on trying to figure out who is who.— Azzam Pompi Mohamed (@Pompeee) November 23, 2018
To make things worse, many users changed their names to song lyrics by the one time Maldivian king of pop. There was once a time when you could not walk two feet in the Maldives without hearing one of his songs on the TV or radio. I’d post more screenshots of the incident, but most people have already changed their pictures and names back. Guess the world can only take so much Ayya.
Of course I say one time because Ali Rameez is currently a violent extremist “sheikh” who constantly spreads hate and fear speech against Maldivian minorities such as non-Muslims and LGBTI+ people. While being a massive sexist of course. On top of this, he also regularly promotes such lovely things as child marriage.
In the above screenshot, the Dhivehi text reads “Islam dheenun beyru vejje meehaa; gathul kuraasheve’”, which roughly translates to “Slaughter those who leave Islam”.
The first comment below it reads “It is best if such children move to a country where they can get the freedoms that they want. No space for atheist in this country”.
It doesn’t take a genius to see how this encourages vigilante violence against non-Muslims. I suppose it is also worth pointing out again for the thousandth time that the Maldives is one of the few countries in the world whose constitution bans freedom of conscience.
Ali Rameez promotes these views on his official twitter account and his facebook page, where he also pimps out his extremist buddies from religious NGOs like Jammaiyathul Salaf.
With all this in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that Ali Rameez hates his pop star past. He did famously dump all of his CD’s into the ocean after all.
Is singer/songwriter Ali Rameez and haabee Ali Rameez the same person? 🤔— Refty (@Refty) November 23, 2018
So while people took the opportunity to mock / celebrate him by sharing his music and reminiscing about the days when he wasn't a psychopath, others took the opportunity to gaslight Maldivian minorities by claiming that the good sheikh was being bullied.
This kind of gaslighting is typical from “liberal” Maldivians who fall head over heels to defend extremists yet never utter a single word in support of Maldivian minorities whose very existence is criminalized. As such I am sure these people are not ignorant of Ali Rameez’s extremism. Instead I think they are sympathetic. I think extremists like that say what these people are afraid of saying. What they really think.
You will never get any of these people to admit whether they support something as basic as freedom of conscience. However they will rarely admit they don’t support it either. Instead, they will prop up the extremists who have the courage to actually express such darkness. This is why I respect honest extremists who will say to my face that they want to kill me. I have no respect at all to closet conservatives like this who pretend to sit on a fence while they crap on minorities below. It is not an equal conversation when one side has their existence criminalized.
“liberal extremism” is a thing— Shani 🍂 (@shani1i) November 23, 2018
Can you believe the audacity of such a statement from people who do not think their fellow Maldivians deserve constitutional recognition?
Wait till you are bashed and joked about for saying this.— Mushfiga Waheed (@MushfigaWaheed) November 23, 2018
Comments like this one are referring to an incident in the past when a woman on twitter made extremely homophobic remarks. For once a lot of people on Maldivian twitter called out this woman for her blatantly bigoted remarks. Not this crowd of closet conservatives though. Much like this incident, back then they sided with the bigot being roasted. How could you bully such an innocent person they all decried.
This past event, and the common occurrence of conservatives and extremists to claim to be victims of “bullying”, is what has led to the creation of the local meme of “bleeing”.
This type of gaslighting would be funny if it wasn’t the norm. Gaslighting, for those unfamiliar, is when an oppressor makes a person doubt their own memories and self. It is a common tactic used by abusive people against their partners.
Wikipedia defines it as “a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. “
They states that the signs of gaslighting are:
Withholding information from victim;
Countering information to fit the abuser's perspective;
Verbal abuse, usually in the form of jokes;
Blocking and diverting the victim's attention from outside sources;
Trivializing the victim's worth; and,
Undermining victim by gradually weakening them and their thought process.
When have he ever advocated killing anyone he deems as infidels? Any reference?— Mohamed Allam Naeem (@8laam) November 23, 2018
Observe this clear example from a tweet calling the original one out.
When he is okay with underage marriage. When he blames the rape victim always. These are the different views you talk about? Yes. I do have a problem with that.— 𝕲𝖎𝖗𝖑 𝕴𝖓𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖗𝖚𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖉 (@Thathu182) November 24, 2018
Look at the response above. Ali Rameez is well known for blaming rape victims and his support for child marriage. Yet the original tweet dismisses this as having a “different understanding”.
It’s nice that everyone’s having a bit of fun.— Mohamed Shuraih (@MohamedShuraih) November 23, 2018
But do try to keep in mind that @aliramyz thinks it’s okay to marry 13 year olds, promotes violent jihad, is a core member of Jamiyyathul Salaf, and advocates the death penalty for those he considers laadheenee.
The day led to some clashes within the more progressive parts (relative to the Taliban) of Maldivian twitter as well, with some people thinking that the incident downplayed Ali Rameez’s extremism.
Just for fun, would you put a pedo on your Twitter DP?— @waddey (@waddey) November 23, 2018
I don't think so. kthnksbye
Isn't Ali Rameez known for his extremist religious views? 🤔 Love his songs but finding it strange to be so obsessed with him given who he is now.— 🍞🌹 (@kopitaaaa) November 23, 2018
Some responses from the twitter cult leader responsible for this madness:
Haha hello my cult, what else should I do today after renouncing feminism and supporting Ali Rameez’s extremism, might fuck around and drop all my morals and principles and become someone N E W— KeehveFA (@ShafaRameez) November 23, 2018
Kindly fuck off and let people fucking enjoy today, good lord! 😂 People woke up to an abundance of Ali Rameezs on their TL today, that is fucking AMAZING that it was pulled off. An, miothy than thanah thadhuvaa kudhinnah khaassa lavayeh ♥️https://t.co/hw61dHt1Jf— KeehveFA (@ShafaRameez) November 23, 2018
Now that we’ve dealt with the drama and my existential bitterness, here are some of the funnier tweets from the day:
Kaia asking me the name of a random internet cat that popped up on my timeline. Told her the first name that popped into my mind. Ali Rameez. Thanks, twitter.— EhJu (@EhJu) November 23, 2018
Brain reading the entire timeline in Ali Rameez voice.— EhJu (@EhJu) November 23, 2018
Ali: I'm no one's crush.
Ali: this cabinet is bullshit.
Ali: here's a cat.
Ali: I'd rather use tampons but they're too expensive
W E I R D
Ali Rameez towards the end of his music career was in a band called “Freeze Band”. Once he gave up music, he capitalized on this by creating “Freeze Brand” - a company that sells dried fish and other products. Gotta admit that some of their stuff is pretty delicious though.
On this auspicious day I was just blessed to see Ali Rameez on the road. 😱😱😱😱— S-laughter (@heyshaha) November 23, 2018
I give up on checking who’s who, I’m liking everything in bulk now— KeehveFA (@ShafaRameez) November 22, 2018
The other day at uni i saw ali rameez and randomly started singing “dhanee dhanee” bc obviously i was leaving the uni— salty (@thelulifaiyy) November 22, 2018
Tb to the time i made eye contact with Ayya for a split second while eating pani puri @ the place infront of Iskandhar. He was having tea and looked away at the speed of light. Ma iny anga haluvan ves neyngifa— KirimJehiBanas (@meynakambulo) November 23, 2018
The best part about this is how much I hate Ali Rameez and he still hasn't blocked me.— San (@dontcallmesatan) November 23, 2018
Did you call him a finifenmaa ?— Althaf🎈؟ (@AlthafAli_) November 23, 2018
The cat is screaming out lyrics to one of Ali Rameez’s hit songs “Finifenmalakey” (like a rose).
legends say people are still trying to get over the double vision of ayya from their twitter feeds 🤣🤣— Awhosun (@awhosun) November 23, 2018
Marinating a chicken with bae. It's so hot man— Shady 🎈❓ (@shadyfish) November 23, 2018
Ali Rameez had a particularly saucy hit video where he sensuously marinates a chicken with a beautiful woman. Probably one of the sources of his paranoia about his past sins.