DQP condemns TVM poll on religious freedom

The opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) has condemned a poll on state television about freedom of religion, accusing the government of attempting to allow religions other than Islam into the Maldives and undermining Islamic faith.

A press release by the party yesterday states that the poll on a Television Maldives (TVM) programme on Sunday night was “a devious scheme” intended to show that other religions could be practiced.

“Maldivians have remained 100 per cent Muslims for over 800 years and no effort was made in the name of religious freedom to see whether Maldivians could practice religions other than Islam,” it reads. “We call upon [President Mohamed] Nasheed’s government to cease its efforts to show through TVM or any other state institution that there is space for religions other than Islam in the country.”

The party believes that the purpose of the poll was to “philosophically” weaken Maldivians’ faith and “encourage the people trying to bring other religions to the Maldives”.

It adds that Islam in the Maldives was under threat due to the government’s policies.

DQP is led by former presidential candidate Dr Hassan Saeed, who resigned as special advisor to the president on the anniversary of the government’s 100 days in power. In October, the party left the coalition government, arguing it was failing to deliver on campaign promises.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Mohamed Zuhair, the president’s office press secretary, said the president’s office had no connection to the poll.

“The[Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation] is a company now,” he said. “There is no official mechanism to interact with them, apart from inviting them to press conferences like everyone else.”

He added DQP’s line of attack was “a joke” and clearly politically motivated. “It’s like saying the dried buns sold at some teashop tasted too spicy today – let’s blame the president’s office.”

Zuhair claimed the party were resorting to the same attacks it deployed unsuccessfully in last year’s presidential election because “they can’t accept defeat”. He predicted the DQP would disseminate more press releases in the near future to prove it was an active party, as the Elections Commission will soon be allocating funds for political parties.

Ahmed Afruh Rasheed, editor of TVM news, told Minivan News today the DQP had taken the poll out of context as the programme hosted a discussion on disputes within Islam.

“Their press release shows that they didn’t even watch the programme,” he said. “The question wasn’t whether other religions should be allowed in Maldives. It was about whether space should be given to disagreements about Islam in our society.”

The show focuses on “controversial social issues” that were not spoken about publicly, he added, with the purpose of raising awareness in society.

Afruh denied the poll was meant to encourage religious freedom or that it was put up on the orders of the president’s office.

Other issues addressed by the programme have included the rights of expatriate workers, the neglect of the elderly and media freedom, he said.

Zuhair said there was no reason to harbour ill will towards the new government apart from “an inability to digest defeat”.

“This government hasn’t used devious means to torture an inmate to death. This government hasn’t used tried to meddle in a judicial trial. This government has not had high-level officials accused of corruption,” he said.


18 thoughts on “DQP condemns TVM poll on religious freedom”

  1. Slightly surprised by this press release as Hassan Saeed, quite literally, wrote the book on freedom of religion. "Apostasy in Islam" was its title if I recall correctly..

  2. Full Support on this, as we can see, countries like Switzerland who are being so against Muslims, and also in several other countries Muslims face a lot of Discrimination.

    I really don't understand why the title has to be so big when Muslims do something..

    We are totally against other religions practice in the Maldives, plus the government of the Maldives have better thing to do for the people of the Maldives instead of this..

  3. This is matter of pride and politics rather than defending the religion. There re dozens of Maldivians who publicly address themselves as Christians on facebook and elsewhere. How could we be counted as a 100% Muslim nation when everyone is not. It could be the official religion. As a Muslim I truly believe everyone should have the right to choose their own faith and the right to practice it in every country .i wouldn’t want to see a country banning mosques just because they don’t believe in it. Do they really believe they can drag someone on a particular path/road and take someone to heaven? The free will has to be accommodated.

  4. DQP is playing a dangerous game and encouraging a political dialogue that is focused wholly on religion. Instead of promoting policies or certain political ideologies, they focus doing anything and everything within their power to criticize the government. Dr. Saeed resigning at the 100 day mark, the numerous statements aimed at attacking government policy, and the constant rumor mongering that is perpetuated amongst the educated populous of Male’ are not executed with the best interests of the nation at heart.

    Now, with religion; we must allow the different views WITHIN Islam to be expressed so that conservatives do not continue to dominate the religious dialogue. The more the conservatives come up against the liberal youth, the more young people turn away from religion altogether.

    DQP – I implore you to be more sensible. Promote discussion. When you criticize, at least say what’s being done right as well. Find an ideology, a path, and promote that – instead of the constant petulant slander. And do not make this dialogue about religiosity, because it’s a surefire way to alienate your base.

  5. How do we really weaken people philosophically? Thats a new concept from a bunch of cry babies.

    Hassan is doing what he is best at, which is trying to create doubt in peoples mind by telling a bunch of lies. When you tell a thousand lies continuously, one eventually would be taken up by the media, like Minivan news is doing for this one.

    Imagine these people trying to run a government here. They have dispelled so much garbage on their side that they would be preoccupied with clearing it up rather than running the country.

    But then again, Hassan is pretty good at distorting the truth. I am sure he will come up with something.

  6. pha
    what kind of muslim r u
    r u saying we should stoop down to the level of the kafirs?
    islam is the religion of peace & tolerance
    also Islam allows freedom of religion
    u should not let ur emotions compromise ur religion

    people united through gunpoint is not unity
    people r allowed to be individuals & the judgment is for the afterlife

    i support religious freedom!!

  7. truth hurts. DQP has a habit of saying something in a released "medial content" for every social and political issue of this country. but they failed to recognise that Maldives is open to the world and it is inevitable that we will face challenges one way or the other. so whats so wrong with taking a poll on anything? i wonder what would happen if TVM conduct a poll which is related to DQP. they would probably release such a huge media content that will be no match for Chuck Norris' Roundhouse Kick... i am just saying...

  8. We need foreign income. We need foreign tourist dollars. We need foreign workers do to the jobs we dont do. We need foreign aid to build our schools and harbours. But we wont let them practice their own religions even in their bedrooms. How fair is this? But we will practice our religion in their countries and they let us do that. Common guys! Without doubt we Maldivians are one of the most selfish and intolerant people on the face of Earth.

  9. Its not only DQP who have to condemn this poll rather all muslims in this country should follow them too..

    its like "freedom of religion" is the only commodity they have got to trade as governement is in dire need to fullfill its campaign promise...

    What a shame!

  10. I had warned the government like others have, that the Foreign Ministry implying any relationship with Israel would backfire BIG TIME as the opposition will use this to pretty much to slap the government around and weaken it in the long run. I even tried explaining this in an article explaining this to the government.


    The current government is the best choice there is at the moment, but when they play with religion by having friendly meetings with Jewish presentatives from Israel (even if the previous government had secret dealings with the zionist state of Israel), the government is pretty much shooting its own foot.

    Im guessing there are some in the government that wants to see 'the opinion of the country' when it comes to freedom of religion. This way they would know what steps to take according to the poll result, etc. But ofcourse this is speculation only.
    At the same time as long as any poll is made completely transparent, it should not be a problem as long as it is not represented only by those access to a phone or internet.

    Many people that does not have a particular TV channel, internet access, or not just interested in modern technology, etc.. might not be able to vote or want to vote in the first place. Hence the vote would not represent the majority of the country. Instead it will represent a minority that is western educated and spend more time on the internet or tv instead of using the free time to pray (which a religious individual might do).

    Im not saying either way of life is bad for observation sake. But this is just to point out that unless a country wide referrandum was done, like the elections where every registered person is allowed (one vote per person), then only will we get a fair view.

    The downside is that any government that tries it would risk pretty much everything and any future elections if they lose. Not to mention death threats by those that do not want this to even be given an option since Islam is not about options if a country's population is all Muslims already.

    Personally if someone is born a Muslim, does not mean they really believe in their heart that Islam is a way of life that has solutions for every problem we might find in society and on a personal level. So when countries like Switzerland has referandums, that is acceptable because it is not a Muslim country to begin with. But when a Muslim country tries to change to be accomodating to hostile governments that uses propaganda around the world to its own benefit, then it is something very dangerous.

  11. Not surprising that DQP ceased the moment however little it is for their political agenda.
    They are not REALLY worried about national unity and human rights and Maldivians being muslims. they want a piece of the pie.
    Its never been about welfare of human beings. its all politics.
    Such a shame that people who are so highly regarded in this country talk such hogwash.

  12. @ Pha on Wed, 9th Dec 2009 12:14 AM

    Full Support on this, as we can see, countries like Switzerland who are being so against Muslims, and also in several other countries Muslims face a lot of Discrimination.

    I am a European and find your words intolerable. They must not stand here.
    First, take note that Switzerland is not a muslim country. As a non-muslim but liberal country they do allow the building of churches, mosques and temples etc. to accommodate every citizens religious belief.
    Is that so in the Maldives or your beloved Saudi-Arabia?
    Isn´t it that non-Muslims rather get persecuted in many muslim countries, if not in most?
    Have you forgotten that the EU is quite generous in their treatment of your country and that much of IMF and WB funds come from European and American taxpayers?

    You opined that “Muslims face a lot of discrimination in several other countries”. Please name those countries.

    In EU countries Muslims have the same rights then atheists or people of other beliefs. Our constitutions separate state and religion, religion being seen as a wholly private affair – as it should be in a democracy!
    Families that adhere to Islam get the same social benefits if in need as the indigenous population despite the many worries and problems these immigrants from alien culture might create for many Europeans. Quite a few of these migrants do not wish to integrate into our societies but rather wish to create parallel societies as it is happening in GB and in other European countries. Here is a small example for you:

    Sharia court in Spain attempts to kill woman for adultery
    From Al Arabiya:

    May I remind you of the many terror attacks in the name of Islam that took place in European countries?

    You wrote: “We are totally against other religions practice in the Maldives,”…
    Who is “we”?
    If most Maldivians think like you – remember that Maldives is a signatory to the UN Human Rights Treaties – you can find all Treaties here:
    http://www.bayefsky.com/ -
    then tourists might soon start to reconsider if they should spend money in the Maldives or rather elsewhere.
    So, be careful what you say in public, don´t spread unproven assertions as facts and remember that many people from around the world might sometimes take a look into Maldivian papers. Yes, some might be watching you.

  13. DQP is really out of context. What has the presidents office to do with a Poll on TVM. I think comments DQP has very little political weight for the president of the Maldives, given its size and support in the public.

  14. I fully support the press release of DQP. If some of you folks beleive that the western system is faultless, there are many preeminent figures who refute your assertion that limitless freedom and this so called boundless democracy is impractical to a global context.

    Also, advocating to the press release of DQP doesn't mean that I am a zealot of DQP, however, I am refuting this for our nations future and I would persevere to do anything to the last drop of my blood to save Maldives from allowing freedom of religion.

    Fatumah - I wonder why people like you are so concerned about Maldives being a european. Why dont you sort the insidious problems that you have in your home. I am also someone who lives in europe and I am proud to see Maldives as a 100 percent muslim nation. I can see more vicious crimes europe than in Maldives. I can see dozens of paedophiles, child abuse, corruption, robbery, murder cases weekly or if not monthly which have all resulted due to your inefficient systems and the system of Islam does not tolerate any of this.I feel more secure and more welcoming to be in Maldives still. Maldives have a long history of being an Islamic unity and why you people want to indoctrinate evil into the good and deceive people by disguising falsehood as truth.

    I know that there are many things that you can say to purport your argument, same like some of the europeans, even if everyone knows what you are saying is baseless and thats the outcome that I interpret from your efficient system.

  15. Dear Ahmed, nobody ever said that western systems are faultless - only you do.
    I am not particularely concerned about Maldives IF you further democracy and give finally freedom of thought and belief.
    You opined: "I can see more vicious crimes europe than in Maldives. I can see dozens of paedophiles, child abuse, corruption, robbery, murder cases weekly or if not monthly".
    All these things exist where human beings live. They exist in the Maldivis in abundance when one looks at the number of people living on your islands = 300-329 thousand. To find proof, one only has to skim your newspapers. May I remind you of the last 2 juicy stories about homosexual activities? What about heavy drug abuse and the stabbings, muggings and murder cases in Male?

    Have you ever wondered WHY so many people from muslim countries want to get a Green Card for the USA or a ticket to enter Europe if everything is so fine and dandy as you claim it is in your country and muslim countries in general?
    You blathered on: .."even if everyone knows what you are saying is baseless and thats the outcome that I interpret from your efficient system."
    WHO is "everyone"?
    This is what people who do not have a real argument or can present proof for their accusations always say. At least you admit that our western systems are efficient. Thanks.

  16. It is not necessary that the Maldives should follow your so called "Western Systems" , you can never deny the fact that recent assassination on Muslims.. thats how good your Western System is.. and let me remind whatever loan that comes from IMF is not for free!

    Furthermore Westerners are not the only choice for us in the Tourism Industry, and please dont give that kind of big words that Europeans should conside whether if they have to spend money in the Maldives, no body as them to come, they are coming here for vacation, not for any religious practice..

    So you better go and enjoy your vacation in Europe and enjoy it for the rest of you life, and let there be peace in Maldives..

    people like you are the one who is ruining the world...

  17. Fatumath - Maldives is tolerant in giving freedom for thoughts and beliefs, but not the way you people want. Haven't you seen Maldivians who beleive in Aetheism who lives in Maldives. Are they outcasts? or are they being discriminated?

    Dont you see from your own mind that how much cost, losses are occuring when you people want to impose boundless democracy to nations, when they already have much better systems. Islam does have democracy and freedom and it has limits on it and not the way that Americans and Europeans defined it. If you atleast have a word with criminologist or psychologist you will realize that "limitless freedom" is a cause for crimes to occur in a society.

    And you asked me WHY so many people from muslim countries want to get a Green Card for the USA or a ticket to enter Europe are applying? I wonder if you have any bit of knowledge about the world history on how your so-called european nations have invaded countries and designed the whole system in a way that people from other countries have to rely on them. Muslims doesn't live in europe to enjoy the great social life that you people have. They live for the purpose of income, check how much percentage of people have emmigrated from UK last year and I must say that you would not be oblivious of this as the norms of your misconceived system contradicts with Islam.

    And finally, I must say that if you beleive in true democracy, you should respect the fact that Majority of Maldivians, I would say 99%, pratice and prefer to have Islam as the only religion in Maldives and its such a tribute to our nations harmony. And it would be an injustice and even against the moral standards to allow different faiths and create violence for the sake of few people rights, who are being influenced by your medias.

  18. @ Ahmed

    You have insulted me and everything you wrote is based on assumptions, not truth.
    Here are MV´s own rules to study for your next post:

    Your mind is locked and therefore it is impossible to discuss with you in a fair and calm style.

    Nobody has asked you to adopt any system alien to you. The only thing you people are expected to do is to adhere to what you have signed on: democracy.
    This includes what this gentleman said in a comment to one of the articles in this paper:
    Dhivehi Resistance on Wed, 9th Dec 2009 9:57 PM
    Maldivian law and society deprives the non-muslims among them of human rights.

    Globalization brings globalized HUMAN RIGHTS, take note. What this means is clearly written here in Art. 15 to 20 in particular:


    FGM (shame on all those extremely weak men who support this crime against humanity), gang rapes of women, child abuse, neglect or even abuse of the sick and the elderly, abuse of foreign workers to the extreme (sort of slavery) is NOT part of that list. Period.

    One of your remarks I wish to comment on:

    ..."Muslims doesn’t live in europe to enjoy the great social life that you people have. They live for the purpose of income,"...

    You say clearly , that many do not come to integrate but to earn money only.
    I ask you to reflect upon WHY they don´t find work, paid work, in their OWN countries?
    You do not expect a reply. All the best to you.


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