Campaign against new alcohol regulations will continue, promise protesters

Demonstrators against the government’s new regulations governing the sale of alcohol on inhabited islands held the first of many planned protests on Friday afternoon.

The protest had been planned for the artificial beach area but was moved to the open space near the tsunami monument due to the Red Bull Street Style football stunt event.

Stallholders along the park estimated the crowd numbered 2000, while newspaper Haveeru reported that it reached 3000-5000.

Spokesman for the NGO coalition against the new alcohol regulations, Mauroof Zakir, said the protesters reached a peak of 5000.

“It was lucky we moved it to the tsunami monument, because we weren’t expecting so many people,” he said.

Many of the men present wore white while women were dressed in black to show their support for the fight against the new regulations, he said.

State Minister for Islamic Affairs and Adhaalath party spokesman Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, one of the leaders of the protest, said he would resign his post in the ministry along with other senior people if the government approved the regulation.

Sheikh Ilyas Hussain also spoke to the protesters, warning that the former government had been changed because it had “walked in the wrong path”.

If the new government also chose the wrong path, he warned, “we might have to work to change the government.”

Zakir reported that the organisers derailed an attempt by a speaker from the People’s Alliance (PA) to politicise the issue by removing the microphone from him.

“There were a lot of MDP activists there,” he said. “Adhaalath is not against the government, we’re just asking the president to remove the regulation.”

He said that yesterday’s protest was “just the beginning”, and that even larger demonstrations would continue if the regulation was approved.

The protest ended for Maghrib prayers at 6pm after a recitation of a ‘dhua’ by Sheikh Ilyas.

The government currently appears to be gauging public sentiment on the issue. The Ministry of Economic Development announced the new regulations would come into effect on 1 March, but the president’s office has responded that they would only apply once gazetted. Late last week President Mohamed Nasheed was reported to be seeking religious advice over the issue.

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up across the city particularly outside the president’s residence and the Holiday Inn, one of the hotels reported to be seeking a liquor license under the new regulations.

The issue has sparked vigorous debate about the country’s relationship with alcohol. Under Islam the use, handling and sale of alcohol are considered ‘haram’ to Muslims, and Article 10(b) of the Maldives’ Constitution states that ‘no law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives.’

However the country depends heavily on tourism for its economy, particularly resorts which profit from the sale of alcohol. Thus far the resorts have been separated from the definition of an ‘inhabited island’, however the Ministry of Economic development has argued the sale of alcohol to foreigners in these areas is essential to create an environment “conducive to foreign investment”.

Among those opposed to the regulation, the debate has split between those who believe the Maldives should move away from its reliance on an industry that profits from the sale of alcohol, and those who believe a compromise is possible while retaining the country’s national identity.

Minivan News will continue to cover the issue as it unfolds this week, speaking with the key players on both sides of the issue.

Images provided by Maapu


64 thoughts on “Campaign against new alcohol regulations will continue, promise protesters”

  1. i think this is just an animated scenario. The economic ministry publish the regulation, but didnt consult with the other stakeholders in the government, including presidents office. next day presidents office seem to be surprised that economic ministry published it. day after adhalath politicians start warning to topple the government. the next day the coalition members (of what is remaining) demonstrated and denies the participation of other political parties. the next day president becomes the savior of islam. it sounds too animated!! by the way i always thought and read that tourists come to maldives for its beautiful beaches and clear blue seas. yes, tourists would love to have a drink. same as us, maldivians would love to taste tuna when living abroad, but we dont find it, but that doesnt mean we dont send our children to study abroad. well, just a thought. its all dirty politics.

  2. Nadya I agree with you. Why is Anni only consulting with religious scholars, why not people in the Maldives who want a liberal society, surely we are more than 5000 people. Anni be strong!

  3. the government has decided not to sell alcohol in inhabited islands, alhamdh lilaahi. congratulations to all the faithful maldivians who opposed this outrageous law. this shows who has the real power and who are the majority here. after all this is a democracy, and the government cant oppose the will of the people no matter how much pressure is given by the secular lobbyists.
    thank you adhaalath party and all the patriotic NGOs. thank you. we look upon you with love and respect.may allah bless you.
    and all those alcoholic mind clogged secularists who kept on screaming that the 'mullahs' should flee to afghanistan should better pack up the bags and flee to amsterdam or wherever lol. cox this is our country and our forefathers made so much sacrifice to bring the light of islam to us and we intend to make the same sacrifice so that our children can live in a peaceful islamic country...

  4. It's quite ridiculous to read that Maldivians, Muslims, are debating about and demonstrating against something that is not for them!

    It's for F O R E I G N E R S, not for locals. It is NOT for the public, not for our children, not an alternative for druggies - so what the hell?

    Instead, it will be much more controlled than it is now, since liquor permits for expatriates will not be extended.

    Clear that this demo is just a political propaganda, nothing more than a beardo gathering.

  5. what do Muslims fear of secularism. if Muslims have strong faiths then why do they fear. why cant you let people believe what ever they want. we all have the right to freedom of expression so you can convince people that its only Muslim the only religion.

    This makes me think that Islamic phillosphy is not that strong as people say or its only for weak minded people.

    Does Allah in Quran or Jesus in bible say that "O people of Maldives don't let any other religion be practiced other than Sunni sect of Islam or Christianity in your country".

    what we need to understand is human values. not some stupid faith based beliefs.

    this whole religious or faith based beliefs are crap. you can live a decent life even without that. think about it

  6. Its regrettable were the country is heading. Regulation and enforcement as suggested by the new regulation is better current status quo. Alcohol is cheaply available in Malé. Protests should call for the end to this lapse licensing to foreigners. They should focus their protest to stop drug loads being free by corrupt judges. Adam Nasser had drugs in the home and tons of money with him. What more evidence do they need? Dear Protesters, Drugs is equally bad or even more potent to the society than alcohol. Wake up...

  7. @ marina n other crappy secular : u c, this is a democracy… and in a democracy the majority wins. So just wait til the day people with ur view comprises a majority in this country.

    Until then, no alcohol and no churches. period.

  8. God willing, now we will take over this government and ensure EVERY person submits to the right path. Shaheem is now more powerful than Anni. God willing, he will become Supreme Leader!

  9. @ mohamed ibrahim: no need to drool so much of jealousy.
    yes, shaheem and other Maldivians who stood for their religion are strong, powerful and supreme. and people like you cant do anything about it...! so shut the f**k up.

  10. @ fuvahmulah - Yes, I agree that in a democracy, the majority should decide whether alcohol should be sold, or not. I think President Nasheed will anyway decide in the favour of you beardos. That's fine and doesn't disturb me in any way. I have no affiliations with Holiday Inn or any other upcoming city hotel. Btw no one talked about building churches in the country. You might have misunderstood the regulations.

    I was just saying that people who are not even eligible to drink alcohol are protesting against it. You had a chance that this drug would have been much more strictly monitored than it has been up to now.

    You see what'll happen - expatriates will get their licenses back and shwuppppp - there the spiral starts spinning again! You may not rely on tourism as our main income stream - sadly! We should start riding on camels and take all fish out of the sea, start shouting "You alcohol-drinking infidel, stay away from our Maldives!" You may even consider exporting fish to secular countries as "haram". And tourism revenue from guests who consume alcohol too.

    Sad what Maldives has become... after 900 years of peaceful Islam now power-hungry "religious scholars" misleading the public...

    Mohamed Ibrahim, I hope you can decide for every citizen of the Maldives what "the right path" is! You should be better living in a dictatorship than democracy...

    Anni, people in this country are not ready for a change, they are rather going back in time than heading forwards out of the Third World Country status...

  11. marina, calm down, calm down. you are not making any sense. maybe because of the sheer hatred and jealousy.hehe

    we can only guess what marina and other mind numbed secularists have in store for Maldives. a country where not only alcohol but all sort of narcotics are legal and freely available. a place where temples, churches, synagogues are built in each and every inhibited island. a place where incest, gay and lesbian marriages are not only legal but supported...

    well, i've got news for you. we will not let any of this to happen, thats the message given by the vast majority of maldivians who came out in thousands and thousands in all of the islands of maldives.

    and by the way you said that "people who are not even eligible to drink alcohol are protesting against it". do u seriously think when a muslim maldivian reaches a certain age it is legible for him/her to drink?? hmm.. maybe thats how it is in your so called moderate religion..(a.k.a moderate atheism)

    and also its not the religious scholars who are misleading the public but it is the opportunists like you, who are doing exactly that!

    and finally if you think maldivian citizens are backward for trying to protect their culture and religion and if you think maldives will suddenly become a first world country by legalizing alcohol, then better get your head checked up.

  12. i agree with fuvamulah dude
    the bombs that anni has promised pharaoh to drop over our heads..ITS COMING..its coming one by aware all my fellow Maldivians. Insha Allah we wont let their tricks and games be played in our minds..NOW THAT WE HAVE SHOWED THEM A SMALL PIECE...

  13. Secularists are NOT trying to promote sexual promiscuity.

    Paranoid religious fanatics posting here should stop confusing secularists with satanists.

    Secularism is the idea of separation of state and church.

    There are millions of Muslims around the world who have embraced Secularism and are much better off for it.

    The constant flip-flopping by the 'sheikhs' in the Adhaalath, and the way it is harmfully affecting the government that chose to get into bed with it, and the suffering of public because of this constant religious discourse in the place of good governance - is plain for all to see.

    Politicians should not be allowed to abuse religion for their own petty ends.

  14. @ yamyn: Paranoid religious fanatics, huh? if so, you are a paranoid secularist satanist
    for your information maldives is not a secular country as per the constitution. so y dont you respect the will of the people or get lost!


Comments are closed.