Imam of unauthorised independent prayer congregation sentenced to jail

Self-appointed Imam, Hussain Thowfiq, arrested last month (September 30) for leading unauthorised prayers at Dharmuvantha Mosque, has been sentenced to jail for two years by the Criminal Court.

The 34-year-old was found guilty of disobeying religious unity regulations by delivering unauthorised sermons at the mosque, leading Friday prayers at a mosque not designated for the prayer, and of attempting to incite religious strife and discord read the criminal court sentence.

Meanwhile, Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said yesterday (November 8 ) that such independent congregations are “unacceptable” and threatened legal action if members of such groups refuse to accept advice from scholars.

The government would not allow practices outside the bounds of the law and religious strictures, declared Shaheem.

The Dharumavantha congregation had previously been described as inciting extremist ideology by the Islamic minister. The sermons had called for the destruction of the current government, prompting a temporary shutdown on February this year.