The religiously conservative Adhaalath Party has condemned a decision by the Education Ministry to make Dhivehi and Islam optional subjects for A-level students, sparking protests outside Minister Musthafa Luthfy’s home last night.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that one police officer was injured during last night’s demonstration.
”Somebody from the crowed punched a police officer in the mouth,” Shiyam said. ”He was taken to hospital last night but has now been discharged.”
The Adhaalath Party yesterday issued a press release ordering its branches to protest against the ”incumbent Education Minister’s decision to make Islam and Dhivehi optional subjects.”
”It appears that in his zeal to secularise the education of this Muslim nation, he has put the final nails in his political coffin,” the press release said.
The party claimed that Luthfy had told Adhaalath officials in a meeting that he would take the issue to cabinet or parliament before taking a decision.
”Mr Luthfy should have learned a lesson or two from the recent controversy created by the Youth Ministry regarding the venue of Dr Zakir’s lecture,” the party said, “or the controversy about selling alcohol in inhabited islands. But obviously our Education Minister is a slow learner.”
”One wonders what is wrong with these people. They seem to be obsessed with creating one controversy after another,” it added.
Last night a group of people gathered near the minister’s house at around 10:30pm. Riot police arrived and dispersed the crowd after almost an hour.
Luthfy told Minivan News that the controversial decision of making the Dhivehi and Islam subjects elective was not finalised.
”It was a suggestion proposed by the Ministry’s steering committee,” Luthfy said. “It is not even a decision that has been approved.”
Luthfy added that it was not the responsibility of a political party to decide which subjects should be compulsory.
”I accept the expression of opinion in a civilised way that respects the rights of others, others,” Luthfy said. ”In my house there are many people who have no connection with the matter at all, and it is not fair to disturb them.”
Deputy Education Minister Dr Abdulla Nazeer noted that last year 10,000 students sat for their O-level exams, but only 1500 continued with their A-levels. Many others had continued their education outside the formal system, he noted, where subjects were not compulsory, he explained.
The Ministry would ensure the Islam and Dhivehi subjects “are available at every school where students are willing to take the subjects,” Dr Nazeer said.
President of the Adhaalath Party Sheikh Hussein Rasheed did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.