Local religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has called on the parliament to enact stronger regulations to protect Islam, beyond the the Religious Unity Act.
In a statement issued today Salaf claimed there were regulations protecting sea turtles, whales, birds, lagoons and the environment, but no adequate regulations that protected Islam as such.
Salaf claimed that the new Religious Unity Regulations allowed “anyone to play with the faith of Maldivians, any way they want to.”
The NGO accused the government of pressuring and threatening Salaf when Salaf once asked Home Ministry, Islamic Ministry and the parliament to investigate some persons that have violated the Religious Unity Regulation.
Salaf also claimed that Ali Ahsan, the developer of the website promoting Friday’s protest, was arrested under the Religious Unity Regulations.
An Islamic Conference due to be held at Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, organised by the Foreign Ministry and the Islamic Ministry, was questionable, Salaf said in the statement, alleging that article 22 of the regulation allowing for the deportation of missionaries was deleted before it was published in the gazette.
Salaf this week declined an invitation from President Mohamed Nasheed to meet and discuss their concerns.
In its statement, Salaf accused President Nasheed of pardoning “Christian missionaries” deported by the former government, and attached a list of names and passport numbers of individuals blacklisted by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Foreign Minister under both governments, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, has previously told Minivan News that allegations of proselytising against foreigners were often “political charges” deployed by the former President, and had reached “saturation point”.
“There is this very, very deep reaction to anything un-Islamic in this country, and you can use Islam as a political tool quite easily,” he told Minivan News in June, following his appointment as UN Special Rapporteur on Iran.
“But I think people are getting fed up with it – you can see the reactions in the press to my appointment as special rapporteur. DRP MP Mahlouf said it was a Zionist conspiracy and a trade-off for favours done to Israel on my part. These things ring hollow the more you say them. They become cliche.”
At the height of the heated election rally in October 2008, the former government “mischievously suggested” that Salisbury Cathedral in the UK was conspiring to blow up the Islamic Centre in Male’ and build a church.
Salisbury Cathedral subsequently denied the allegation.