Minister for Human Resources and Youth, Hassan Latheef, has agreed to release the Maafaanu football grounds to the Islamic Ministry to host visiting Islamic scholar Zakir Naiks’s sermon.
The decision comes after Latheef said yesterday that the venue requested was ”only for football’,’ and would dishearten the youth who practice football there every day.
Latheef said that the decision was made yesterday ”despite the difficulties.”
”It was very, very difficult to release the land for any purpose other than sport and music,” Latheef said, ”but we have decided to give that land as the Islamic Ministry has requested.”
Latheef said the football ground will be given to the Islamic Ministry for three days.
”This type of land belongs to the Youth Ministry,” he noted. ”We have drafted a law that determines which place can be used for what purpose.”
Spokesperson for the Islamic Ministry, Sheikh Ahmadulla, said that the ministry was writing a letter to the Youth Ministry to confirm the decision.
”We also heard the Youth Minister saying that in a television programme,” Sheikh Ahmadulla said, adding ”we will send a letter to the Youth Ministry asking for the confirmation.”
Press Secretary for the President, Mohamed Zuhair, said that the land was used by youth to play football every day and the minister was concerned about social issues that might be raised due to the restriction of the grounds during the days of the lectures.
”But now they decided to give the land because the Islamic Ministry, after checking several venues, said that the requested football ground was the best,” Zuhair said.
”This is a time where all the Islamic NGO’s are acting in a very competitive spirit, with one NGO trying to hold a bigger event than the other,” Zuhair said. ”It will be very difficult if everyone starts requesting such land for other purposes.”
Zuhair said that there is now another request by a religious NGO to use the Galolhu National Stadium.