Parliament committee to probe Sheikh Ilyas Hussain’s “false preaching” over draft penal code

Parliament’s committee responsible for drafting the new penal code has slammed the “false preaching” of the Chair of Adhaalath Party’s Scholars Council Sheikh Ilyas Hussain over the bill.

In a sermon given on Friday evening at the Furugaan Mosque, under the title “Purpose of Islamic Sharia”, Sheikh Ilyas declared that the new penal code does not recognise fornication with mutual consent as an offence, said committee’s member MP Nazim Rashaad.

During the parliamentary committee’s meeting held on Tuesday, Thulhaadhoo Constituency MP rejected the claim stating that no such stipulation was included in the draft penal code.

Rashaad said that section 130 of the draft bill states that sexual intercourse with another person without consent is categorised as “rape” under the new bill.

The existing penal code does not explicitly recognise “rape” as a crime, and cases are handled under provisions for sexual offences.

Rashaad contended that whether sheikh or not, nobody could misinterpret the clause and claim that the bill did not recognise “mutually consented sexual intercourse” as an offence, and accused the Sheikh of lying to discredit the bill and parliament.

Briefing committee members on the sections concerning sexual offenses, Rashaad stated that under the draft penal code, both fornication and rape are offences under section 411 of the draft bill.

“These people are deliberately making misleading comments regarding the draft bill without doing proper research.  They are attempting to discredit the bill and incite hatred among people towards the parliament and the members of this committee,” the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP alleged.

Following Rashaad’s comments, Chair of the Committee MP Ahmed Hamza stated that the committee will look into the case.

The committee also decided to send a written request to local radio station Atoll Radio seeking recordings of the sermon which was broadcast.

Amendments to bill

The parliamentary committee’s decision follows its rejection of all but one amendment to the bill suggested by the Fiqh Academy of the Maldives.

Speaking to local media on Monday, Hamza said  the committee had decided to accept only a suggestion concerning the offence of theft.  Other amendments, he said, were merely changes to the wordings of the bill and carried little legal weight.

“They have submitted amendments to abolish certain sections. These include certain legal defences. When we looked into removing those defences, we found this impacted fundamental principles embedded to the draft penal code. So we decided to reject their suggestions,” he said.

Following the decision, Vice President of the Fiqh Academy Sheikh Iyas Abdul Latheef told local newspaper Haveeru that the academy had informed parliament that current draft penal code should not be enforced in the country.

Speaking of amendments proposed by the Fiqh Academy, Latheef claimed that the defence of intoxication included in the bill, if proven in court, could lead to the acquittal of a convict, but said the academy’s proposal to remove the defence had been rejected by the parliament.

“The current draft does not include the Hadds established under Islamic Sharia. There is no mention of the death penalty for murder, the punishment of stoning for fornication, the punishment of amputation for theft and the punishment for apostasy. We proposed amendments to include these punishments,” he said.

Iyas also echoed the remarks made by Sheikh Ilyas Hussain in which he too claimed that the current draft implied that fornication with mutual consent was not an offence.

He also added that the bill stating that a convict should be able to use voluntary intoxication as a defense conflicted with the rules and principles of Islamic Sharia.

Furthermore the vice president of the Fiqh Academy said the draft penal code bill was drafted in such a fashion that it would encourage criminals to commit crimes and disregard the principles behind punishments prescribed under Islamic Sharia.

Along with the Fiqh Academy, the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party has also sent a letter claiming that the bill as a whole contrasts with Article 10(b) of the Constitution which states: “No law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives.”

Responding to the criticism, Chair of the Committee Ahmed Hamza claimed that even though the committee had decided to reject the suggestions, amendments could be brought to the bill when the committee sends the bill to parliamentary floor.

US assistance with draft

The initial draft of the penal code was prepared by legal expert Professor Paul H Robinson and the University of Pennsylvania Law School of the United States, upon the request of the Attorney General in January, 2006. The project was supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Professor Robinson’s team have published two volumes (Volume 1 and Volume 2) consisting of commentaries on sections of the draft bill.

In an interview given to Times Higher Education UK, Professor Robinson was quoted as stating that the draft bill strictly adhered to the principles of Islamic Sharia and Islamic law as the “law in the Maldives is based on Sharia”.

“The cultural norms are quite different,” He said. “What the Maldives will want to criminalise and the ranking of the seriousness of offences will be different in many ways (from the US system). They criminalise adultery, for example, whereas most American jurisdictions have dropped it.”

“Some of these provisions have symbolic religious significance more than practical importance. I’ve never actually heard of anybody who has more than one wife, though it may well be that there are some somewhere,” he was quoted saying.


7 thoughts on “Parliament committee to probe Sheikh Ilyas Hussain’s “false preaching” over draft penal code”

  1. Islam will not get crumbled by a national penal code. What kind of idiots are we, to listen to a mad-man, and get our blood pressure up.

    Islam in Maldives, will not be held by a democracy. There are people who faint at the sight of blood. There are people who get sea sick. There are colorblind people. There are people who cannot conceive children. There are people who can count one to three. Then again there are people who cannot comprehend square root of 2. In other words, people do not have thinking capacity, physiological stamina to think the same.

    Trying to force Islam to everyone is impossible. Not all would believe in the unseen. And all religions agree on that they are believing a large part on the unseen, unproven.

    So, if the countries, parliamentarians pass a law, that does not mean Islam is destroyed. It means most constituents do have an open mind.

    I wonder though, why is it these Sheikhs are so worried to have a 100% muslim nation. Regardless of 100%, or 2%, as per these Sheikhs, if they live good, they can get to heaven. So, why bother with the unrelated others???

  2. because it is the responsibility of the sheikh to tell the truth to those ignorants .

    Many of these MPs are monkeys who never had any educational qualification yet they want to make our legislations ? This must be a joke?

  3. 100% Islamic my ass ! I see all kinds of Maldivians eating pork drinking alcohol, smoking, doing drugs, prostitution, and adultery. You name it they are doing it, good luck with this whole Islamic thing haha... If you ask me these Sheiks preach cancer, not the cure !

  4. @kuribee

    You cannot speak for all maldivians. The elected MP is representing the constituents. Even if the elected one, you say is ignorant, uneducated. That is immaterial here.

    Why don't you ask your representative MP to make case for you.

    Ilyas is creating a potentially lethal cocktail that could viral into the whole country.

    Sheikh ilyas can be in a mosque all his life, and his wife in locked underwear, in he expects faithfulness. He has ZERO rights to tell someone in ha. Hanimaadhoo, how to live their life.

    But the MPs has ALL the rights to compile the laws for the nations.

    I Sheikh Ilyas wants to contribute, as him to come out of mosque, do some thinking earthly, and then get himself elected into MP, and then hiss-open his snake mouth.

  5. I think these sheikhs are the ignorant lot. Such hypocrisy in this country when fornication is almost the number one past time.

    And most of these ultra religious groups with their foot long beards go about fornicating and wooing other women while they have a wife tucked away at home under all that black cloth, their excuse, they are exercising their god given right to find a second wife.

    Why can't they just lead their own hypocritical lives and leave the rest of us alone.

    We are not interested in turning Maldives into another Pakistan or Afghanistan and participate in twisting our beautiful religion into a faith that is full of punishment and fear.

  6. Sheikh hasn't taken time to examine proposed penal code or he didn't comprehend what was written in it. His misleading sermon is an attempt to undermine and disrepute the majlis. Muslims nations are bogged down on their way to development and civilization due to extremist ideology. The penal coded has been dragged for years from being approved due religious issues and I expect a major hurdle before this can be approved.

  7. Like I said in June 2007, the Parliament of Maldives has consistently failed to uphold the rights of the people. Now it appears more eager to please the Fiqh Academy than assess how much of their proposals are consistent with public interest or the Maldives' treaty obligations-- obligations verified by the parliament too. Has the parliament forgotten that it has endorsed the Convention Against Torture in 2011 without any reservations? How can then Parliament talk about amputation?


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