Parliament to review constitutional amendment regarding religion

An amendment seeking to inhibit parliament’s scope to change the constitutional guarantee of Islam as the Maldivian state religion has been accepted by the parliament.

The proposal was submitted by Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) MP Ahmed Amir, who argued that the relevant clauses must be protected from the legislature.

“I find it very disturbing that the constitutional requirement of holy Islam staying as the religion of the state is subject to being changed just by the parliament if they so wish. And thereby, with the belief that changing it so that MPs alone cannot bring any changes to this article will bring peace to the minds of the parliamentarians, I have taken the initiative to propose this,” he said.

Following heated arguments for and against the amendment, parliament voted to accept the bill after 29 members in attendance voted for, 13 voted against, and 6 abstained.

The proposed amendment asks for Article 10 to be included as the first point in Article 262(b) of the Constitution of the Maldives.

Article 10 states that “(a) The religion of the State of the Maldives is Islam. Islam shall be the one of the basis of all the laws of the Maldives” and “(b) No law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives”.

Article 262 (b) states that the president must accept any constitutional amendments made by the Majlis after a public referendum.

“Even if one citizen does not want to allow other religions, it must remain so”: MP Amir

“The rhetoric that this bill calls for a public referendum where citizens are to be asked whether or not they want Islam to be here is, I believe, a further attempt to create resentment and dishearten people through misinformation,” he alleged.

“The best way that an amendment like this can be framed, even I believe, is to ensure that once it is reviewed in committee stage, it comes out in such a way that this article is made strong enough to not allow any changes to it at all as long as there is even one single citizen in the country who wishes it to remain the same, without allowing other religions,” he continued.

“Even we are aware that it is not necessary to include Islam in this, our constitution. Islam itself has given us a divine law to follow. As long as we are abiding by this divine law, there is in reality no need for it to be included in our man-made laws,” Amir said.

“However, because there is a fear that such an article in our constitution may be tampered with, we are obligated to protect it,” he stated.

“Instead of a referendum, mandate Supreme Court approval”: MP Muhthalib

Some of the MPs stated that while they supported the intentions behind its submission, they would choose to bring ‘minor changes’ to the proposed implementation.

Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muhthalib stated that, “As things are in this world today, if even 50 people vote to say they want to adopt a religion other than Islam, foreign governments will back them up and soon start advocating for these people’s rights. They will then start harassing us. They will interfere with the internal matters of this country.”

“My suggestion is that instead of a public referendum, we change the amendment to read that such a change cannot be brought about unless it is passed by the parliament, then approved by the seven judges sitting on the Supreme Court bench, and after which it will still need to be ratified by the president,” he proposed.

“Then, god willing, there is no way that it can ever be changed. My wish is that the amendment is passed in such a way that neither Article 9 or 10 can ever be changed, even by any future parliament,” he said.

Article 9 concerns the qualifications for citizenship, which includes a clause stating that non-Muslims cannot become citizens of the Maldives.

Opposing the amendment

According to some other MPs, Article 10 of the Constitution cannot be amended or debated anywhere, including the parliament floor. Many added that they did not believe the article could be changed even after a public referendum.

Some MPs claimed that if the current parliament was to amend the article, there might be a time in the future when another composition of MPs decide to annul it altogether, insisting it was inadvisable to begin something that may lead to “serious unpredictable implications” in future.

MDP MP Ali Waheed was removed from the premises after he protested against the holding of a debate on the amendment, claiming “while there is life in this body, and I am sitting here in parliament, I will not allow such a debate to be carried out here.”

After initially taking up procedural points, he later stood in front of the speaker’s seat to express disapproval until the speaker ordered the Sergeant at Arms to remove him from the premises.


12 thoughts on “Parliament to review constitutional amendment regarding religion”

  1. The seven judges of the supreme court were moulded on their seats to serve a specific political voice.

    It is time Majlis open a discussion on their powers which seem to be above everyone, even the god.

    As long as the seven figures (actually 4) remain in their position, this country shall see NO justice but follow the whip of dictatorship which apparently is back in business.

  2. Who cares what these morons debate on about my personnel belief? You can write whatever you want but ultimately it is my choice. Guys you are just wasting your time, the Majority of Maldivian are hardcore Islamist, you don’t need to force them on this, they will die for it. As for those few who may not care about religion, probably they don’t give a damn what you write on your constitution. Don’t these crazy people have anything better than this, just wasting time on how people should use their brain? Once these backward people get out of cocoon, then you will know how much you are capable to control the brains of other people.

  3. LOL! So, Chief Fornicator Ali Hameed gets to decide that we should keep Islam? Muttalib should be awarded Nishan Ghazee for his novel suggestion.

    Don't these morons realize that 20 to 30 years from now, the world will be a very different place and EVERYTHING but the Quran (the word of God) will change. No matter what law you pass today, there will become a time to modify it and it will be done future generations. Idiots.

  4. What s non issue! MDP must keep put of these debates and vote "for Islam" whenever it is called for.

    Since it is not MDP in power, any "war" against Islam by the govt cannot be used to fool the useful idiots who voted against the "evil ideology of Nasheed".

    MDP and Nasheed must keep their heads down and go with the flow. They shouldn't allow the stupid people to be used any more than they already are. What idiots, "dheenatakka" indeed.

  5. No court or parliament can decide what religion an individual chooses.

    By trying to pass these laws you are in direct breach of the tenets of Islam. No compulsion to follow the teachings of the Quran.

    Only cowards and bullies feel the need to enforce a belief on another person.

    Hang your heads in shame for twisting the teachings of the prophet.

  6. peasant, MDP is opposition, which means exactly the opposite of what you advice Nasheed and MDP to do. Opposition doesn't not go with the flow, but criticizes on everything they feel the majority does wrong.

  7. When will you stop living in the dark ages. All this talk about religion is just a distraction from the real problems facing this country. Politicians are abusing religion, because they are seeking commitments and sacrifises from every citizen in this life against promises for better things in the next life. Nobody should be permitted to pay with a "currency" they do not own. Religion is 100% personal and not for anybody else.

    There are no presidents, no Majelis, no police nor Imams in the next life. Only you and your good deeds in this life. Religious dictatorship is not a good deed. Muslim killing Muslim in Irak, Epypt, Tunis, Lybia, Lebanon, a.m.m. is not a good deed. Keep religion away from power or it will be our demise, not in the next but in this life.

  8. The compelling proof that religions are rubbish and the more rubbish is when the followers of such religions are so desperate to proof that their religion is so wonderful. If it is so wonderful why do you worry when people don’t like it. Normally people hate when others wears the cloth they wear….> This enough to be sure that these religions are some shitty things people believe and they know deep inside it is crazy and get crazy when others don’t buy their shit.

  9. Subhaananallah! Minivannews must cease publishing these comments deprecating our holy religion.

    Dear Guest, balanced budgets, health and emotional well-being and full stomachs are in fact distraction from our religious obligations.

    None of those things which we possess on this earth shall avail us on the day of judgement. May Allah SWT protect our nation from evil thoughts such as yours.

  10. @Guest "When will you stop living in the dark ages."

    Well, you tourist fellows can stop funding the dictators. That's a start.

  11. Politicians, do your job and stop wasting time. Islam spread in the world because of many beauties that it holds for the humanity and by the practices of its followers(sufis, saints) not by the amendments of lawmakers.
    And stop this 100% muslim nonsense. Medina the real Islamic state role model wasn't 100% Muslim but they coexisted with the followers of other faiths peace fully.
    “There is no compulsion in the matters of faith” is a Quranic injunction.according to this injunction everyone has the right to choose whatever faith he may like.


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