Contentious religious unity regulations polarise religious factions

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair has denied that the President’s Office brought any changes to the religious unity regulations drafted by the Islamic Mnistry, refuting allegations made by the Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari.

Islamic Minster Bari had told local media that the religious unity regulations were sent to the President’s Office and changed “the way they want it”, and that the ministry was now revising the regulation.

He also said that the Ministry would not give consent for the regulations to be gazetted before revising it thoroughly.

Zuhair said that Dr Bari had made his remarks not in the capacity of a cabinet minister, “but more as an ally of the Adhaalath Party.”

“We did not bring any changes to the religious unity regulations,” he said. “The first half of it was drafted by the then State Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and the other half by current State Islamic Minister Sheikh Hussein Rasheed.”

He said there were rules in the regulation that were inconsistent with the government’s policy and had asked the Ministry to comply with that policy.

“It is a responsibility of all the government ministries to uphold the government’s policy,” he said. “There should be no ministry that has to go against the policy.”

Minivan News understands that certain high-profile persons met with the President prior to the commencement of drafting the regulations and requested the President support the drafting of the regulations in a way that would stop the Maldives National Broadcasting Commission (MNBC) from broadcasting live sermons of Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed.

The President reportedly stated that freedom of speech was vital in a democracy and dismissed the idea.

Recently local religious NGOs Jamiyyathul Salaf and the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives requested the President not to gazette the religious unity the way it was drafted, citing concerns that the new regulations could be employed to silence religious NGOs.

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

“How can a regulation enacted under an unlawful Act be valid, there is a case we have filed in the High Court to invalidate the Act,” said Ibrahim Fauzee, president of the NGO. “We call on the government to wait until the case in High Court reaches a conclusion.”


9 thoughts on “Contentious religious unity regulations polarise religious factions”

  1. Religious unity is not a requirement nowadays. Country united is more important.

    Religion is a boat to heaven. For those who want to go fast, go get a AK47 and go to Afghan border. For those who want to go on a rowing boat, have your way by yourself. Peacefully do your thing.

    For those who do not want to go there, don't antagonize others, just know that the others are also human beings, and accommodate them within the community. And expect vice versa.

  2. It is perhaps important to note that the Adhaalath controlled MoIA probably sees itself less as a Ministry or arm of the government, and more of a Supreme Guardian Council acting as an intermediary between the heavens and the Earth.

    TO have their authority challenged by such a thing as a democratically elected government is just insulting to say the least.

  3. Maldives is a signatory to many of the United Nations charter on human rights and so on. The Adhaalath party and the crazy Mullahs like Shaheem, Imran and Iliyaas wish to have last says on many issues and act like Grand Mufti, this is the problem with these Mullahs in short they wish to exercise powers without having political backings.

  4. another session of islam bashing by minivan. bravo!
    if you guys don't have any real issues to write about, then pls give a hint. i can suggest a dozen issues in a comment.

  5. This is the kind of idiocy we can expect when something as volatile as religion is slotted into the executive through a ministry. The government and people of this country would have been better served if an independent body such as a Council on Religious Affairs were incorporated with a mandate to regulate religious affairs, both Islamic and non, given the fact that we do have non Muslim residents in the country. This whole issue about religious unity and the defense of Islam is just political hocus pocus. Allah SW does not need us humans to make laws and regulations to defend his religious. Nor does the individual need a law to defend his faith. Faith and belief should be stronger than something written on a piece of paper. Point in case all the apostates cropping up, even though we have a piece of paper which states that all Maldivians are Muslims. These regulations are just useless on a long term basis other than for power and politics.

  6. how come president is standing up for the freedom of speech of only sheikh fareed and other religous NGOs? Why not ALL?

  7. Anni , mr. nasheed, is a little boy and confused. Anni is under pressure. How was 20 years a go here, 100% moslem no fight why now? why why send this people to this country where is war of .... i am sure they piss in there pents , all !!

  8. Zuhair is right in this case. Bari has no right to stop Government policies. If the Cabinet votes then the Government has the right to implement the policy and there is two things Bari could do. One is to keep his mouth shut or to resign.

  9. “Religious unity act” the title itself is contrary to human rights, unless it addresses the unity of all individuals who can express, practice their views on all religions without hindrance of preachers who have extreme ideology that they are only right. If Religious unity is to address the issues of individual conceptual mechanism, than the Adalth should seek unity of individual’s social behaviors. Since Adalatha advocates, polygamy, child bride, wife beating, under unity of social behavior, we will soon see such act passed for very one to be united with Adalth with these behaviors. Adalath should come out of the box and start thinking that whatever they believe is also some kind of concepts and not necessarily the ultimate truth. If what they believe is black and white truth, than why it is not universally accepted like day and night.


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