Islamic education top priority: Moosa Maniku

Islamic education is more highly prioritised than at any other time in Maldivian history, said MDP parliamentary group leader Moosa Maniku during a Majlis debate on a DRP bill to mandate the teaching of Islam and Dhivehi in grades 11 and 12 in the country’s schools.

The DRP bill was proposed for political purposes, said Maniku, and he condemned it. “The constitution very strongly stipulates that Islam as the Maldivian religion and Dhivehi as the Maldivian language shall be protected,” he said. “That’s for all Maldivians, and not for the government alone or for students alone. We do not need another law to respect Islam and Dhivehi in this country. There is no time in our history when Islamic scholars were as free as they are now.”

Laws which aim to limit the policy options for the government are unacceptable, said Maniku, and there are rights which have to be given to people but they cannot be delivered as there is no legal infrastructure for that to happen. It will be better if the Majlis could help people in realising those rights, he said, and the current debate was a waste of the Majlis’ precious time.

DRP members spoke in favour of the bill during the debate. Abdul Azeez Jamaal Aboobakur, a co-sponsor of the bill , said that he had submitted the bill in a personal capacity and his aim was not political. It is important to protect the main pillars of Maldivian society from imminent threats and dangers, he said.

The bill was accepted for further debate and sent to the Majlis committee for national development.