President apologises to Vilu Reef couple, invites back to Maldives

President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed rang the couple degraded in the Vilu Reef ‘wedding ceremony’ incident to apologise on behalf of the nation, and invite them back to the Maldives at their convenience as his personal guests.

Nasheed called the couple on Saturday afternoon to personally apologise for the incident, which grew into an international media firestorm after a video of the couple being mocked and humiliated in Dhivehi by up to 15 complicit resort staff surfaced on video sharing website YouTube.

“The couple told the President that their images have been published in the media without their consent, which is causing them considerable distress and embarrassment,” the President’s Office said in a statement, adding that Nasheed was appealing for their privacy to be respected.

“The couple asked President Nasheed, during a telephone call on Saturday afternoon, to make the intervention on their behalf.”

“President Nasheed calls on the media not to reproduce photographs or video footage of the couple without their consent and to report the incident in a sensitive manner.”

The statement added that the couple “thanked President Nasheed for taking the time to personally intervene in this matter.”

Ambassador Iruthisham Adam from the Maldives embassy in Geneva also telephoned the couple, offering the government’s “profound and heartfelt apologies”.

“I informed the couple that the entire country is deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened. The Maldives is renowned for its warm hospitality and this incident has brought great shame upon our tourism industry and our country,” Ambassador Adam said in a statement.

The Ambassador informed the couple the two members of the resort´s staff had been arrested by Maldives police and the case was being investigated. The ‘celebrant’, food and beverage assistance Hussein Didi, and another man, are in police custody while the authorities determine the charges.

Minivan News understands that the Ministry of Tourism met with tourism industry leaders today to discuss steps to avoid a repeat of the incident. The government has already proposed to regulate ‘renewal of vows’ ceremonies in every hotel and resort in the country.


75 thoughts on “President apologises to Vilu Reef couple, invites back to Maldives”

  1. Derek Postance

    Its not damage limiting by the Maldivians, if so the government and Maldivians would have tried to hide the video when it first broke into the news.
    Its been specifically requested by the couple in question. The do gooders and everyone else forgot how humiliating its for the couple and we are making them suffer over and over again by plastering their image and the video all over the papers in the world without their consent. They have been victimized over and over again, and we should stop that now. Talk all we want but don't use those images anymore.

  2. Some of Villu Reef staff did this unspeakable thing to the unsuspecting tourists and I, as a Maldivian, am very disgusted and ashamed by this act.
    However, I am not happy about the way Sun Travels is going about this situation. I know they have contacted the couple and apologised but what i would like to know is that if Mr. siyam apologised personally.
    Also, I am waiting for him to aplologise to the public of the Maldives as well...because, it is because of him and his company that the tourism sector is facing so many negative comments internationally.
    I don't know why Sun Travel is saying the incidents being investigated. Yes, we know it is. But what action is the company taking against the employees and the senior management of the island?
    We depend on Tourism for our livlihood and i can see from the comments that apart from one comment most tourists has condemned maldives and maldivians.
    What I would like to tell all the tourists is that all Maldivian are not like these people and not all employees behave like the way Sun Travel staff behaves. Most of us do not make a habit of making fun of non muslims and we welcome all our visitors to the Maldives. There are all kinds of people in all countries and because maldives is such a small country we come into the lime light. We are not another somalia as one of the comment on the site said.
    I hope that future visitors would take this to consideration.

  3. Well, Shiyam can at lest come and apologise!!!!! OR is he too prouder to do that!!!!

    He is the real one he has to be responsible for this act and he is the first person to up to the media and apologise.

    Shame on you Shiyam!

  4. @ogun
    Don't worry about your travel plans, I doubt that you will face any agression in Europe about this issue. Questions, maybe, but that shouldn't be your problem.

    Whatever can be translated out of other videos won't add to it, because everybody watching the first clip can see this was too routined to be a first.

    The only one who have to worry about that is the resort management, because they will pay refund for it.

    I also hope that the perpetrator will be treatened fairly according to local law and human rights. This will also help to restore the image of the Maledives.

  5. Who are we protecting here? Maldives? It's people? A name? A brand? OR the hungry few who OWN a whole country. Think again.

  6. We have visited the Maldives several times, and will visit again.

    What happened was terrible for the couple concerned, but rest assured most who have actually visited the Maldives will not be deterred by this incident.

    We love the Maldives - the people are amongst the most pleasant, friendliest we have met anywhere.

  7. @Larry[geordie]Dodds:

    You're absolutely right. Our parents who served and worked with the RAF personnel were a very different generation. They were not indoctrinated into hating 'infidels'. They learned from the ways of the foreigners. Maldivians used to be a very welcoming people throughout the generations.

    However, the Islamisation of the last 3 decades have left deep rooted problems in society. You're also right that money and greed has a part to play in this. But the Mullahs fuel this by praying on the minds of the young. They are taught to hate the 'infidels' with all their dollars and worldly goods. They are taught that no matter how much wealth those 'infidels' have, they'll all go to Hell in the end. This systematic demonising of non-Muslims for decades have taken its toll.

    Look at what the Islamic Ministry is saying today: "Non Muslims should not be allowed to marry in this country in any manner whatsoever"!

    Firstly, the Islamic Ministry needs to be taught about respect for fellow human beings regardless of religion, culture, creed etc. A wholesale re-education of the country needs to take place for the next few decades to eradicate the poison. Otherwise, this country is no fit place for foreign visitors.

    Now, the other aspect we are reminded is the constant winging by the local workforce that resorts do not hire them or take them seriously. Now, we know why!

  8. hehe.....shiyamm....hmmm.

    he though he would be in favor of the president because he was or is marrid to one president's relatives......

    He knew he was not in favor when the audit report came out that year. forced to sell his management of two of his most well constructed resorts to another management because he was forced to pay back to government for the money he took.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Shiyaam was out of the picture of those in favor and he sold his resorts..

    Shiyam, when will ur eyes be open?

    The sultanate has long gone...the only thing not hanging is ur d-*/k down a line.

  9. The resort should be shut down, sold and proceeds to be given as severance pay to the staff not involved in the incident and the rest should be gifted to the couple. When so many members of the staff can stand and watch this humiliation of a client and pretend to participate in a real wedding, the establishment doesn't deserve to stay open.

    Travelers should be warned by their embassies to not trust locals with their dignity.

  10. @ VIDYUT,

    U must be indian from ur discrimination meant...those kind of comments would only mean u had seen a lot more than our little country.

    No offense to any one but all are not Muslims, neither Jews, nor Hindus. we are a different race of pple with different personalities....

    We are as diverse as you...a part of india, sri lanka, philipines, british, aus, south african, american blood mixed...what we have come out in is less than urs be more sensitive plz

  11. I feel that the minivan news should not have posted this on Youtube without the consent of the couple in it and that even with subtitles. Minivan news should apologize to the couple as well. Shame on you.
    Its time that Islamic ministry and education ministry began teaching proper Islam in the schools, since our religion does not encourage such treatment towards those of other religions.
    Our economy depends on tourism and we acknowledge and respect the west for their aid over the years unlike the uneducated fools in this video. When I went through the comments posted on different sites by Maldivians I noticed that the people were extremely shocked and against this shameful act. I wish outsiders would not judge our entire country by the conduct of the minority of it's people

  12. Stop kidding ourselves.

    The current generation has had hatred shoved down our throats by the mullahs.

    Its always how we have done better, our ethics have been flawless and whenever things go wrong, and they do very often, its the work of the devil and infidels.
    I have repeatedly heard, 'Victory to muslim brothers, failure to all infidels!' chanted in all Khutubahs. Sermons.

    So, WTF are you complaining about. You get what you bred!

    Atleast I see the light, distant it may be, due to internet / education and globalization. Maldivian must be free from this hate mongering mullahs, and then they can decide the merits of all religions and chose, and not have one shoved into their bottoms.

    But we need external assistance here on this. Mullahs grips currently is very strong, and all are intimidated to silence. I just hope I see reach the light, for the future of my kids.

  13. Minivan should make an Italian and German dubbed version of the video. And also Chinese.

  14. You need a good leader. A leader who studied in an Arab country. Not a leader who studied in the UK. Please elect me or Yamin again in 2013.

    If anyone of us get elected again, we will install the hatred to other religion like we’ve always been doing. We can’t let the current president make friendly agreements with Chrisitian USA and Jew Isreil. We will only promote ISLAM with zero tolerance towards other religions. This is proven with all the debates from our guys so far. Be it parliament or TV or anything else.

    I will make sure these things are totalls erased from the face of Maldivian lands when I or my party people get back to power. Just imagine how smoothly we were running the country before.

    Don’t balme it all on me. Don’t say that I did not do enough to develop a respectful society in Maldives.

    Don’t say that I didn’t educate the people. I’ve built school.

    However, people may say these schools were with low quality school systems, low quality syllabus, low quality teachers – most who’re drop-outs from the school. Also people may say there is not a single university in the country after I’ve reigned in power for 30 long years. Yes, true. I was going to build one this year but the people wanted to elect Mohamed Nasheed (oh, how much I hate that little guy…..#%^&).


  15. Okay, the main reason why so many "Infidels" are angry about this is that in our countries, the law has almost reached the point that if we even THINK about Islam and Muslims in a bad way, we can end up in prison.

    We are constantly being told Islam is the religion of peace, yet all the evidence from around the world says it is the direct opposite.

    When something like this appears on the internet and TV, resentment is bound to be felt by those who feel Islam is a threat to the West.

    It is not possible to cancel the incident. "The Maldives" has to make every effort to survive this, for the sake of those innocent Maldivians who depend on tourism for their income.

  16. Love how you removed my comment.
    Please, allow me to give you the Aussie salute, aka the middle finger.
    Rot in Hell Maldives

  17. True or not; me and my boys will be writing stories and creating senarios from which we can do collateral damage to MDP government (the guys who brought me down from my kingdom- the kingdom which was bestowed only to me and my cronies).

    The stories and senarios we play cannot be rationalised by average Maldivians to identify if it’s ture or not.

    The reason is simple: to defame the western-style MDP government and to stir-up a public uprising that will ultimately overthrow this MDP government. After that I will or Yamin or any of our guys who ruled the country for decades with absolute power will preside over the country.

    We do this by twisting facts or just simply brew some nonsese. On top of all that we would sprinkle some Islamic and language or heritage stuff. Vola – and the majotity people will believe. haha

    Nothing can be done to us. No court will be against us. No matter how much corruption or crimes we’ve committed in 30 years. haha.

    And the people are all fools execpt a few. And these few people are too busy trying to put back things on track. These few people forgets the most important thing to do- to stop us or give counter or to take precautionary measures. hahaha

  18. Come on minivan news! way to go! u have officially snatched away the millions of dollars that would contribute to the Maldivian economy for years to come...

    Come on! before u publish something dont u ever think abt the consequences you will b facing? What is the propaganda behind this?

    Come on! the celebrant n the other staff are a bunch of miserable ignorants n idiots who r so miserable in their life. they r those group of uneducated n uncivilised ignorants in maldives. Ofcoz its something wrong with the whole education system. But this is no way represents what is practiced in the Maldives. But now this article has officially change the image of Maldives to the whole world as a fanatic terrorist community. Good for you as a journalist! But sadly if u r a maldivian, the joke is on u too! This matter could have been addressed in another way!

    Oh Come on! I feel sad.


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