MBC, broadcasting commission summoned to parliamentary committee over televising “politicised” religious sermon

A religious sermon televised live on Television Maldives (TVM) was interrupted for violating the state broadcaster’s guidelines, Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Chairman Ibrahim Umar Manik told a parliamentary sub-committee today.

The MBC chairman along with members of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission were summoned before the Independent Institutions Committee following complaints by MPs of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that the sermon by religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf preacher Sheikh Adam Shameem Ibrahim infringed the rights of the party’s presidential candidate.

“We definitely do not consider [televising the sermon] as anti-campaigning against a particular candidate using religion. [But] around 11:35pm, because his talk was changing a little, we stopped the live [broadcasting],” Manik was quoted as saying by local media.

The state television decided to approve the live broadcast after considering whether it involved either a politician or political party and after determining if the Islamic Ministry had authorised the sermon, Manik explained.

Asked by MPs whether he had heard the Sheikh’s criticism of the MDP’s guest house policy, Manik said MBC will evaluate the content of the sermon and take measures.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Rozaina Adam, a member of the sub-committee, explained that the complaints alleged that the religious scholars politicised the sermon titled ‘Andhalus,’ which MDP MPs contended resembled negative campaigning more than a religious sermon.

Rozaina said that MBC Chairman Manik told the committee that the MBC did a background check on the two sheikhs that delivered the sermon to determine if they had previously been in any political parties or if they were affiliated with any political party. Manik claimed that the background check showed that the sheikhs were not involved in political activities.

According to Rozaina, MDP MP Ali Waheed in the meeting noted that Sheikh Shameem had recently visited his constituency and told the people of the area that MDP would kill him if former President Mohamed Nasheed was re-elected and openly campaigned against the party’s candidate.

Rozaina observed that Sheikh Shameem last night talked against MDP policies such as introducing mid-market tourism but did not reflect on more important issues in terms of religion such as murder, gang violence and drugs.

“The MBC Chairman told the MPs that they cut the live feed when the Sheikhs speech was getting politicised,” Rozaina said. “But I don’t know if they actually cut the live feed.”

The sermon last night was organised by NGO Salaf, attended by senior Adhaalath Party members and broadcast live on all local television channels with the exception of MDP-aligned Raajje TV.

The sermons were delivered by Salaf preachers Sheikh Adam Shameem and Sheikh Ahmed Sameer under the title “The Fall of Andalus (Spain).”

Advertisements on social media stated that “the fall of Andalus (Spain) is an event Muslims will never forget. Why did it happen? What lead to the fall of this great Muslim state and what lessons can we draw from this. We present to you ‘Andalus’ by Sheikh Adam Shameem and Sheikh Ahmed Sameer.”


12 thoughts on “MBC, broadcasting commission summoned to parliamentary committee over televising “politicised” religious sermon”

  1. Sheikh adressed crimes and criminal activities happening in Maldives and this sermon was not political at all.

    He has told the truth and he has highlighted some important issues that need to be addressed.

    I do not know why MDP need to get offensive on this speech unless they are trying to promote anti islam here in Maldives.

    Sheikh never mentioned any party or any candidate name and this can apply to any persona or any party who are trying to promote anti islam sentiments in this country.

  2. @barabaru, Why lie? Sheikh Shameem directly referred to MDP's Presidential candidate in the sermon, and he also tried to justify religiously motivated attacks carried out by Jammiyyathul Salaf members against journalists in Maldives.

  3. Someone should really start taking action against these religious-conservative NGOs and their money-grubbing morally-bankrupt wannabe-priests. Here are some reforms that I think would go a long way;

    1. Strengthen the registration and reporting process for NGOs to make sure that membership lists and accounts are duly declared including sources of funding.

    2. Strengthen broadcasting standards to outlaw airing of open statements against the Constitution as well as statements made in contempt of court as well as in breach of Parliamentary privilege (these Sheikhs are often fond of inciting hatred against democracy and moderate Islam by exaggerating weaknesses in our young institutions).

    3. Take action against gatherings held to incite hatred, high treason and or violence (the subject matter of these "sermons" more often than not).

    4. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE - create more jobs to increase disposable income and allow some form of entertainment and some outlets for our youth to vent their boredom rather than agitating against the status quo at these "sermons" that feed on widespread poverty to create religious fervor.

  4. Laughable .....lololol .... If one is not guilty why make such a fuss .....these days champions of democracy alwys trying to dictate lololol

    Shows stupidity has no limit .....

  5. Jamiyyathul Salaf is a political organization. They believe religion & politics cannot be separated as they are one. How can we call them a religious NGO?
    They behavior is similar to Mahloof, Hassan Saeed, Reko Moosa,Imran or Abdulla.What they preach is 100% politics.

  6. Yeah right, the self-proclaimed “champions of democracy” only have the right on the freedom of speech. It just so appears that the sheikhs and rest of the people don’t have the right. We have indeed forgotten that article 7 of the Maldivian Constitution states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expression in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam.”

  7. @Godaddy and @tashiya:

    I think a lot of people, and to be fair not just 'sheikhs' are misinterpreting the meaning of human rights. They are not a license to threaten, intimidate or degrade anyone. Our Constitution does grant several freedoms to us. But our Constitution also sets out certain limits on those freedoms. A simple reading of the Constitution will not give us the full picture. Please read Article 67 and ask a qualified lawyer (not a preacher) about its meaning.

    Let me summarize it here. Art. 67 says that rights cannot be separated from duties. It also lists the duties of every Maldivian citizen when exercising their rights. These duties include;
    1. Respecting the rights and freedoms of others.
    2. Promote friendship and unity among different groups and societies and also tolerate differences between yourself and others.
    3. Work for the well being and development of society.
    4. Uphold Maldivian sovereignty, togetherness, peace and national pride.
    5. Respect the Constitution and uphold the rule of law.
    6. Promote democracy without compromising the basic tenets of Islam.
    7. Promote the state religion of Islam as well as Maldivian culture, mother tongue and national treasures.
    8. Protect and preserve the natural environment.
    9. Respect national symbols such as the flag and anthem etc.

    I respectfully believe that the preachers who took part in the sermon had openly described campaign slogans used by MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed as anti-Islamic and threats to Islam. Therefore I don't think there is any doubt that the sermon was politicized and meant as an anti-campaign. So refer to Art. 67 of the Constitution and tell me whether the preachers were practicing their right to expression within Constitutional limits.

  8. Sheikh never mentioned MDP or Nasheed in his speech and go and rechecked .

    Yes what he had mentioned are completely in line with MDP policies and no other party's actions are similar to that.

    When MDP used filthy words and do anti campaign against others, it is OK. But when someone else does, it becomes an issue.

    When Rajje TV shows and televise completely non sense and false information, it is OK and when others shows anything not in favor of MDP, it becomes an issue against the democratic values.

    What a double standard we have here in Maldives. Basic point is that MDP has no tolerance against them and others are more tolerant .

    Since MDP together with DRP are have just managed to get majority in the parliament, now MDP had started given warning to independent commission. This is how far they go with the democracy when they have little influence.

    Imagine, when they get the full power , how they will treat the people other than MDP and we must be aware of this when we vote in the second round.

  9. My full support for this crazy mullah and others like him. More such sermons please! Call for stonings and beheadings too. Hahaha! Start the killings now. 🙂

  10. @tsk tsk
    I completely agree with you on that. I’m damn sure that each single political party is inciting hatred towards each other. Maldives – just one nation, one race, one religion but deeply divided by the different shades of color.


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