Police have completed investigating the case of Mohamed Nazim and have submitted the matter to the Prosecutor General’s office.
Nazim publicly claimed he was “Maldivian and not a Muslim” during a question-and-answer session with Islamic speaker Zakir NaikNaik in March, angering many in the 11,000-strong crowd and forcing police and Islamic Ministry officials to escort him from the venue for his own protection.
After two days of religious counselling while in police custody, Nazim appeared before television cameras at an Islamic Ministry press conference and gave Shahada – the Muslim testimony of belief – and apologised for causing “agony for the Maldivian people” and requested that the community accept him back into society.
Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameen confirmed the PG’s office had received the case from police, but had not yet taken the decision to submit it to the Criminal Court.
According to the Maldivian constitution all citizens are required to be Muslim, and the country is always described as a ‘100 percent’ Muslim country.
Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari told Minivan News at the time that he was unsure if Maldivian law had a penalty for apostasy. Where the country’s laws do not cover such a case, Maldivian courts default to sharia law.
Apostasy is considered a grave sin under Islam, although scholarly opinion varies as to its punishment: in response to Nazim’s question, Dr Naik clarified that the penalty was only death “if the person becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his faith and speaks against Islam. Just because a person who is a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim, death penalty is not the ruling.”