Bill of amendments to Religious Unity Act returned to committee

The bill of amendments to the Religious Unity Act has been sent back to the Social Affairs Committee on Monday for further revision after a mere 16 out of 66 MPs in attendance voted for it to be passed.

Late MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, who was brutally murdered at the beginning of this month, had submitted the bill proposing a total of 11 amendments to the Religious Unity Act on June 7, 2010. The Social Affairs committee had completed its research into the bill on June 20, 2012.

The bill had been presented to the parliament floor for discussion on October 9, 2012. Members had submitted an additional 11 recommended amendments to the bill at that time, some of which were passed during Monday’s voting session.

The passed amendments include submissions by Adhaalath Party member and Fares-Mathoda MP Ibrahim Mutthalib. One of these amendments stated that only those who have been educated in a university approved by the qualification board or educated to a level deemed acceptable by the government could teach Islam in local schools. It also states that if a foreigner is to teach Islam, he has to be a Sunni Muslim.

Amendments prohibiting the establishment of prayer houses for any religion besides Islam; creating, selling or using anything depicting other religions, and seeking external assistance for spreading other religions were also passed.

Additionally, the amendment by Mavashu MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal AbuBakr of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) stating that there should be no attempts to instill love for a religion other than Islam in the hearts of school children and that no lessons involving other religions should be included in the school curriculum, was also passed.

Among the amendments which were rejected were a proposition to replace the existing Fiqh Academy with a ‘Fatwa Centre (Lecture Centre) and a proposition to appoint imams for all mosques and place them under the direct authority of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

At Monday’s parliament session, 45 of the 63 members in attendance voted against passing the proposed Bill of Amendments to the Religious Unity Act, with two members abstaining from the vote.

Meanwhile, Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir expressed concerns regarding the act in Monday’s parliament session. He said that enforcing such “strict religious penalties’ were not suited to a country as small as the Maldives.

Jabir went on to say that “all ministries in this 100 percent Muslim country are Islamic Ministries”, adding that the ministry being controlled by Adhaalath Party was leading to religious issues getting politicised.

He added that although the Adhaalath Party was based on religious values, it was nonetheless a political party with political aspirations.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Jabir said “What I am repeatedly saying is that the Maldives is too small a country for the implementation of these issues highlighted in this bill.”

The Religious Unity Act has been in effect since 1994 and has been previously criticised as being against the spirit of the 2008 Constitution.

The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives had also filed a case in the High Court in February 2011, claiming that the Religious Unity Act of 1994 was inconsistent with the constitution of the Maldives and should be invalidated.

In September 2011, the then-government had brought into force Religious Unity Regulations, enforcing the existing Religious Unity Act, with a penalty of 2 to 5 years’ imprisonment for violation.


21 thoughts on “Bill of amendments to Religious Unity Act returned to committee”

  1. There are so many MPs who drink and party hard regularly, yet they would not allow any kind of entertainment for the people who elected them!

    Thank you Jabir. We need more people like you. On this one instance at least.

  2. How about a clause demanding everyone to be haabees? Yes, suppress the freedom to think and question. That and oppression all over the islamic world is the only reason Islam is staying alive. Christianity too went through such a stage and now look where they are.

  3. We need the people to speak out and express their support in order for MPs to stand up against this shameless attempt to Wahhabize the Maldives for personal gain.

    Instilling love for religion is all well and good but forcing it down someone's gullet is another matter entirely.

    Islam is a great religion with a legal system that provides the basis for individual freedoms and human rights. Yet opportunists in the Maldives are using Islam as a tool to further their own ambitions. The threat here is not one of terrorism as Nasheed and his supporters would like to portray it.

    It is more of a clerical class who wish to provide their services to political parties in order to declare a moratorium on issues that might open the eyes of the public to injustices that would be as clear as day if our public could understand them.

  4. I suppose if "no lessons involving other religions should be included in the school curriculum", then at least this should rule out other religions being criticised in schools?

  5. @Wives and concubines

    "oppression of the Islamic world is the only reason Islam is staying alive"ehhehe
    Where did you find the facts from ??? if you are referring to the Assad regime, believe me, he is no Muslim(educated in london, an alawi; a mystical religious group of Shia Islam) and if you are referring to Iran then also mostly full of Shia muslims(but i do praise them for not prostrating to America and the gang)

    This is a story which the christian missionaries sometimes rely on but people know better now.
    Islam in it's true sense does not suppress the freedom to think and question but extremism does?? However spreading blatant lies about it and misguiding it's followers proves to be a pretty big joke coming out of you,i undoubtedly believe that you are undeniably challenged and worried that Islam does have some sense in it(why talk about something so much if you're not challenged). However, i do despise the parliamentarians; their actions never coincides with their say!

    here, let me show you how muslims around the world are being and had been suppressed and oppressed by their fellow humans

    The Genocide in Bosnia, the UN did not provide urgent assistance but instead is still unearthing the bodies in mass graves!!

    the state of Muslims in china and Myanmar. the Chinese govt bans fasting in the Muslim community and we all know by going through history of myanmar how Buddhists killed Muslims for not eating pork and most recently how they were chased out of their homes.

    Israel and Palestine is an age old story but i just can't understand why the jews prohibit muslims to pray in the holy Mosque considering it being a mosque and not a temple???

    If muslims pray five times a day and put on a beard then people conceive him as an extremist or a terrorist while people like Lenon(with the biggest beard) and lady Gaga(with her satanic, amoral and evil acts) are applauded for their performances.

    Muslims too retaliate and commit crimes but do you really believe that 9/11 was planned and executed by them considering the US, it's resources and ability. the US has long forgotten and now try to keep away from speaking about the 9/11 attacks. Ever heard of it lately!!!??

    and why is the holy Quran always burnt or referred to as satanic verses or is urged to be burned day after day by the rest of the religious bunch???

    who's oppressed by whom here?? am confused???!!!

  6. 1. How come the bill to remove '+' sign fro the keyboards not passed? It resembles a cross. All the keyboards in Saudi has this removed!

    2. Moadis, the land of unashamed hypocrites.

    .3. I would not be surprised if education to girls be banned. Since the goatee men are so ignorant, the only way they could have any abusive-control over an intelligent girl is to restrict education to girls. And then use violence to intimidate her.

    4. This is now Moadis, in reverse gear, heading towards disaster.

  7. Libaas >>>>>>>> Hijab.

    Think about how both of those dresses got here and tell me how the latter can possibly be justified as being more "Maldivian" the former. It will not be other religions or even the lack of it, but the politicisation of Islam that will be the death of our culture.

  8. " creating, selling or using anything depicting other religions"
    Half of my wardrobe gone
    Movie collection gone
    Most of my books gone
    Cable tv n Internet banned?
    Our history gone
    "no lessons involving other religions should be included in the school curriculum"
    Islam school syllabus n other islamic teaching materials (the Ramadan favourite 'mohammedul rasoolullah) should b changed or banned!?

    What's next? Ban maldivians from getting higher education from 'non Muslim' countries and institutions? Ban transactions with 'non Muslims'?
    How insecure can they b?

  9. About Dr. Afrasheems Murder.

    If you read his wife’s interview. This murder has something to with the selection of Fiqh Academy. I guess the relevant law enforcement authorities should look into this Fiqh Academy selection meeting minutes and interview influential stakeholders in Fiqh Academy.

    1. Certain people were against Dr. Afraasheem being a member of Maldives Fiqh Academy. On previous occasions he was attacked and threatened as per media reports.
    2. Dr. Afrasheem was very worried, not being invited to be a member of Fiqh Academy.
    3. He was expecting a letter from Islamic Ministry inviting him to be in the Fiqh Academy. He told his wife that, Islamic Minister wants him to be sitting in Fiqh Academy.
    4. Numerous times he asked his wife, whether the invitation letter to Fiqh Academy has been received.
    5. He was determined to be in Fiqh Academy, even met the Islamic minister on the day of his death. (He could easily convince Islamic Minister to assign him to Fiqh Academy through PPM’s political lobbying)
    6. If Dr Afrasheem is dead he cannot be a member of Fiqh Academy.

  10. Some of the prejudices against the Shia are understandable given the atrocious amount of bid'ah they have introduced, but it is important to note that many of them are good Muslims and some are even great scholars.

    The Ayatullah Khomeini, may his name ever be praised, was a good man - and the veleyat-a-faqih is a good system of government. Let us not pretend there is nothing we can learn from the Shia.

  11. "... there should be no attempts to instill love for a religion other than Islam in the hearts of school children and that no lessons involving other religions should be included in the school curriculum, was also passed. "

    ABSOLUTELY NOT. This is Haraam. We are supposed be practising tolerance! Jesus and David are prophets of Islam too! What the heck is the Majlis thinking?

  12. @Impartial Comments

    Christians perveted the message of Eesaa (pbuh) by worshipping him as the son of god (Subhaan'Allah!)

    They are perverters and deviants. Would you let your child love a pervert or a pervert love your child?

  13. I believe that some of the ammendments passed are unconstitutional as anything against islam is unconstitutional.

    It is conditional for all muslims to recognise all the prophets that Allah sent to earth and the books that were sent to them.

    That is not FOLLOWING a religion.

  14. Love how Shimy tries to deviate attention from the original subject of muslims oppressing others to things like 9/11 and lady gaga. Typical of an apologist.

    If in fact, Islam does encourage freedom to think or question, why did the organizers for thanfeez say that there should be no debate over things like the death penalty? Why are little girls being shot for trying to encourage education for women. Why are women in many muslim countries in the middle east, asia and africa forced not to go to school? Why are muslim so anti-science? Why do they get so insecure when people bring up things like evolution? Why have people like Bilal Phillips deemed the space program as a waste of money? Why have people like him mocked world renown scientists such as Stephen Hawkings? Why are women being killed for trying to participate in things like politics? Why are wahhabees demanding that no woman can run for president in the Maldives? What have muslims contributed to the world in the 20th or 21st century apart from oppression, genocide, terrorism, ban of freedom of speech and worldwide misogyny?

    And please, don't talk about other countries taking away the rights of muslims. In Myanmar, the rohingya people started up everything this year. Talk about other countries when non-muslims are given the same rights as muslims in islamic countries that non-muslims give muslims in non-islamic countries. Also, take your time to read the entire official 9/11 report released by the US. You're deluded into thinking that no muslim can do wrong.

  15. @wives and concubines,

    Pls, don't get me wrong and don't delude people by saying something i never said, anyone who says humans are pure and they will never do any wrong are stupid and Muslims are also humans, that's why god in his ism says oft forgiving and most merciful repeatedly.

    In fact, in my opinion,Muslims themselves conjured all the misery on themselves by their own actions by questioning God and disobeying the truth infront of them.(you might find this difficult to digest but this is how i think)
    My point is Islam, the religion is not to blame but rather some of the people in it.

    We all know the condition of Muslims around the world(mostly war and poverty)
    but history always praise them for their contribution to humanity.(you can check this on any site to confirm)

    Infact Europe was in this condition long ago but i assume they found a way back, i do not know how; through enslaving the poor from regions like Asia and Africa and stealing their wealth(you see the beautiful stones on the queens crown came from different regions and god knows how much she has stolen)Any country which the British had left was thrown to chaos and misery be it India and most of Africa. But

    Islam had banned slavery long in your name, wives and concubines, you know that all the countries and religion which existed long ago had concubines and wives but our prophet was the one to give the concubines their rights and freedom.

    Thus the countries you are referring to as tolerant were not so tolerant after all. And i believe what they have achieved is through slavery, inhumanity and war.

    You think countries which aren't Muslim(In fact Islam is spreading else where so i can't say Islam is non existent in some parts) live harmoniously, then you are deluded, my dear, be it America, Russia or The UK.
    Just check for the crime rates

  16. It's true that Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest crime rates but i do detest the royalty their because Islam never talks about hereditary rule.

  17. And if the Sharia law does not work and the laws imposed by the Americans, Britons etc etc does work, we would have seen a better world by now (considering the non muslims legalizing everything that is illegal in Islam) where are the good results. sigh!!!

  18. @shimy

    The language is evolving, and people communicate using languages. The Quran cannot be translated accurately because it'd have lost meaning, just defeats the purpose of it all. This is the fundamental reason used for our kids to read the verses over and over again, without comprehending a word, until their brains lose intuitive streak.

    The path to heaven is supposedly clear. The fact that there are so many disputes within the Muslim communities, killing each other endlessly, proves the path is not so straight. One objectively wonders, has god made a mistake is his guidance and failed so badly, that message is lost now?

    You say religion Islam is not bad. I say, if it has divine guidance, the Makers helping hand, it would not be in deep shit that Islam and its followers are today.

  19. @Joking Aside

    Who said Quran is incomprehensible? who said it has lost meaning because of evolving language? It's still the same old book it was years ago and the fact that non- muslims cannot find fault with it, is the only reason why they spread hundreds of lies about it.(if it is incomprehensible then show what part is incomprehensible.Rather than to challenge and debate about it, they spread hundreds of

    Have you ever heard of a book more cursed and urged to be burnt other than the Qur'an.Why?

    For instance, these fools delude people by saying that Qur'an never mentions the kabaa in it but it's not because it's not mentioned but because the Kabaa has the name; masjidhul Haram, it's simple as that!and we with our brains never give a second thought to these lies spread by a bunch of people who believes that UFO's exist and wiping ones bottom(don't want to use that word!!) with toilet paper is hygienic???

    And you are right, reciting something over and over again without understanding make one wonder why bother but is this what the Qur'an mentions?? To only read?? No, it says to read and to think!!we, maldivians have been reading it for centuries but do we think about it and use our brains. I think this is why the Islamic world and the Maldivians are in such bad shape now.Thus understanding half of the quran or nothing at all leads to extremism!!

    Islam is not against other religions, however are other religions in it's original form? Christianity was so against homosexuality but the pope (thus makes him the god)had legalized it for the sake of a bunch of homos.
    And Islam for withstanding this and all the evils of the world has to face war and chaos. But we'll see who wins in the end, me or you, only time and death will tell???? what i have learnt from this world is injustice and God promises justice for everyone equally on the last day!!!

  20. “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
    —An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith 13 (p. 56)

    Remember, according to Islam all of us (Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Atheist... etc) came from Aadham, and we are all brothers and sisters


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