President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Friday, delivered a televised speech on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, signalling the end of the Islamic holy pilgrimage of Hajj.
During his address, the President extended warm felicitations, urging citizens to observe "peace, forgiveness, communal understanding, and unity above all else, on this holy day".
Noting the ongoing pandemic as a "challenging time" to fulfill religious duties, President Solih stated that Eid al-Adha provides an opportune moment to strengthen bonds with friends, family and loved ones, as people adjust to a 'new normal'.
The President also requested individuals to inquire over their loved ones and to send Eid greetings during the special day. Stressing on the importance of utilizing modern technology, President Solih recommended calling and speak to close acquittances, especially those that are elderly or vulnerable to the virus.
President Solih concluded the address by calling on all Maldivians to heed the advice of medical professionals in order to overcome the pandemic.
The President further expressed well-wishes to all Muslims who performed Hajj, praying that their pilgrimage would be accepted.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's calls for unity comes at a time when public ire is at an unprecedented high, since taking office in 2018, as staunch criticism grow louder fuelled by government proceedings.
In June 2020, the United States 'Trafficking in Persons Report' placed Maldives in its 'Tier 2 Watch List' for failing to prevent forced labor, fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, debt-based coercion and human trafficking.
Large rifts have recently been observed between various civil factions, with a number of Maldivians calling for immediate deportation of all migrants, labelling migrant-led demonstrations as acts of terror that threaten the sovereignty and religious unity of the nation.
Over the last couple of months, several rallies were held by concerned citizens, advocacy collectives and opposition over various issues, including the impunity for sexual offenders appointed to public office, more stringent measures to ensure the safety of women and children and over its continued tolerance over severe mistreatment of expatriate workers in the country.
Amid various expat-led protests that took place between March to July, Chief of Defence Major General Abdulla Shamaal, publicly equated the actions of foreign workers as attempts to take over the nation, describing the migrant worker situation as a "national security threat".
Though the president himself had acknowledged the exploitation of expatriates working across the island nation, of which crimes reported include human trafficking, withholding of wages, poor living conditions, and other human rights violations, he is yet to respond to scrutiny over comments made by the Chief of Defence or other MNDF leaders.