Former President denies being invited to scholars symposium

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has denied claims by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs that he was invited to the religious scholars symposium organised by the ministry to reduce conflicts on religious issues.

In a statement yesterday, Gayoom said he “deeply regretted” the Islamic Ministry informing the media that the former President declined to participate in the two-day symposium that concluded last night.

Gayoom is a graduate of Egypt’s al-Azhar University where he finished top of his class in 1966.

Islamic Ministry Spokesperson Ahmadulla Jameel told newspaper Haveeru that a text message was sent to Gayoom’s phone on Friday night upon his return to the country after two months in Malaysia.

The other scholars were first invited through text messages before official invitation letters were sent, Jameel explained, adding that he could not say whether Gayoom received the message.

The ministry had previously corresponded with the former President from the same mobile phone number, Jameel said.