The Criminal Court has extended the detention of controversial blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed by 10 days.
Rasheed was arrested on the evening of December 14 for his involvement in a ‘silent protest’ on Human Rights Day, December 10, calling for religious tolerance.
The protest ended violently after a group of men attacked the protesters with stones, and Rasheed was taken to hospital with head injuries.
Rasheed is one of only a few Maldivians who have openly called for religious tolerance on a blog under his own name. The blog was recently blocked on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs on the grounds that it contained unislamic material.
“I am a Sufi Muslim and there is nothing on my website that contradicts Sufi Islam. I suspect my website was reported by intolerant Sunni Muslims and Wahhabis,” Rasheed said, following the blocking of his blog.
“Under the Maldivian constitution every Maldivian is a Sunni Muslim. The constitution also provides for freedom of expression, with Article 27 reading ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expression in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam,'” Rasheed claimed.
While the Maldivian Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, it outlaws the promotion of religions other than Islam, and all Maldivians are required to be Sunni Muslim.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that Rasheed was being investigated for campaigning for something against the Constitution.
“Calling for anything against the constitution is illegal,” Shiyam said, agreeing that the circumstances were the same as if the group had been campaigning for something similarly illegal, such as the legalisation of marijuana.
“Once we have finished the investigation the Prosecutor General will decide whether to take action against him.”
Police are also investigating slogans published briefly on 23December.com, a website promoting an upcoming Islamic protest, calling for the slaughter of “those against Islam”.
Protest organisers attributed the slogans to a “technical mistake” and they were quickly taken down. Website developer Ali Ahsan, who also edits online publication DhiIslam, was also taken into custody after police claimed he was the only individual who could have posted the threatening slogans.
According to news outlet Sun Online, police argued that Ahsan’s release “could endanger Maldivian religious unity and even threaten life” and requested the court grant 15 days extension of detention.
Ahsan’s lawyers however argued that the slogans had been uploaded by hackers and the website developer was released.
Meanwhile, Maldives Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, Ali Hussain Didi, told the Freedom Online Conference at The Hague this week that “it is up to us as representatives of the international community to step up our efforts to remind all governments of their responsibilities, under international law, to protect human rights on-line.”
“It is also beholden on us to better assist those who live under repressive regimes and who are trying to use the internet to spread the word about their plight, to mobilise support and to engender change,” Didi said.
In his radio address this weekend, President Mohamed Nasheed called on political parties to outline their positions on controversial religious issues, claiming that religious protesters were really calling for the enforcement of Sharia penalties such as stoning, hand cutting and execution.
The Maldives had a tradition of issuing pardons for strict Sharia penalties, Nasheed noted, with the exception of flogging for adultery, and called for Islamic scholars to reach a consensus on the subject so that the penal code could be reconsidered and established by parliament.
27 thoughts on “Criminal court extends detention of controversial blogger”
"Criminal court extends detention of controversial blogger"
Kobaa massala akee?
The Majestic and Merciful Spirit of Islam was a mighty force against oppression! Islam liberated slaves, orphans, and the impoverished from fear through the Power bestowed upon our Beloved Nabi (SAW) and the Ummah.
The spirit of Islam rescued the Dhivehin from subservience and fear of the Portuguese oppressors!
This is the Beauty of Islam!
It is a force for Compassion and Liberty, to use it as oppression is to abuse it, to present a distorted version of it. IT is to destroy the people’s perception of what it is, AND THAT IS MASSIVELY HARAAM!
How can you Maldivians, or Judges, use this Great liberating force of Allah’s Mercy and Liberation , this beautiful Islamic Religion which I adore, to imprison your own ppl in fear!
There are Maldivians who do not believe in Islam!
Think about the consequences of forcing your beloved fellow Dhivehin to pretend to be something that they are not!
Think about the consequences for the unity of your people, for the psychological wellbeing of your people, for the SOVEREIGNTY of your people, of creating a silent, pressure cooking, brewing, one day to explode enemy of Maldives!
PROGRSSIVE MUSLIMS (Contextualists) argue that the repression of freedom for Muslims was only applied by Qur'an and by Sunnah for apostasy to save life because, the pagan religion was very inhumane in killing children - in murder and the non-Muslims were at war with the Muslims. This meant that by definition an apostate was a murderer or wanted to kill the Muslims.
In this line of thinking, to kill or repress an apostate who is not a threat is a brutal violation of the liberty promoting essence of Islam.
MAUMOON! ALL SO CALLED PROGRSSIVE MUSLIMS! DR SHAHEED< DR SAEED< ALL OF YOU!
Hilath needs your defence, if you don't give it, you are betraying ISLAM!
Stop abusing Islam, for your ppl, STOP FORCING ISLAM on those who reject it!
Hilath was calling for religious freedom and gay rights.
This is the same law that former governments used to stifle campaigns for change. Once the constitution said that the Maldives was a protectorate of Great Britain. While that was there people campaigned for full independence. Surely then, things are even worse now. If the constitution were upheld then like it is now, then we would all still be travelling on British passports. Perhaps that wouldn't be such a bad thing either.
Also if this law is upheld then the present constitution can never be changed because any move, discussion or debate to change it would be illegal. The present constitution will have to last as long as people live here.
Where are those who attacked the peaceful protest and injured a participant? Is it one of the offences negligently allowed occasionaly like wrongful parking outside parking lots infront of and in the vicinity of mosques on Fridays at prayer time?
Though the participants calling for religiious tolerence or even freedom which may be considered unconstitutional, no automatic duty lies in the general public to punish or obstruct them. This is a democracy organised society where everything is or must be governed by law. It is expected, therefore, that action will be taken against the attackers on the protesters for attacking against person of those who were injured by their attack.
People who feel the need to protect Islam are deluding. If god is all powerful it does not need little men to go about abusing other people who do not think as themselves. How sad of Maldivians to engage in such crazy actions.
Lakum dheenakum valiyadheen ... What does this mean ?
"Hilath needs your defence, if you don't give it, you are betraying ISLAM!"
NO and NO! Hilath has a lot of powerful people behind him. They are trying to test the waters on this so-called "freedom" of religion here. This will have worse consequences on the Maldivies than global warming! It will simply destroy this society.
Our society has been gradually losing its cohension over the last few decades. The newly introduced "democracy" has taken that to new levels. Intolerance is everywhere. No one knows how to use their right to the newly gained freedoms. Throwing all these "freedoms" into the pot has confused most people. The demarcation between freedom and respect for others views has been totally lost.
We have to step back and get some order into society. People like Hilath and his supporters are trying to chip away at another cornerstone of our society. Let's not allow that at any cost!
Neither Islam nor democracy is the issue. It is narrow-mindedness of people in this banana republic. Ignorance is the issue. Those Judges probably don’t have a brain of monkey, how can they use logics and reasoning. Islam was so unfortunate that it has got followers like these less evolve people in the world. Probably Islam was only religion that used logics to prove that religion was from a god called Allah. But that logic was for those ignorant Bedouins, unfortunately that logic did not evolve throughout Islamic history along with the human knowledge and findings.
Under the law of international human rights Hilath has right to freedom of expression, demonstrating agaisnt religious intolerance or freedom of religion. And if u islams dont want such laws why sign the convention for prevention of human rights. Cut hands of ur own children and stone them to death. And about constitution.. every week some political party will protest to amend constitution? Then it is proposed to majlis floor to debate and vote. We need to create that debate of what truly Islam is and why we have not practiced strict sharia rulings. People need to know why is that immigrants should be treated as human beings as us. People should understand that immigrants have their own religion too. And about maldivians praying to another god then Allah - u can't repent someone forcefully. If the unbeliever is forced to admit faith just because of the consequences he might face, it not being a true Muslim. Embracing Allah by fear will never give anyone honest and genuine faith. It creates hatred and as a result the extremes ate becoming more voilant. The fact is u don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand this chain reaction.
You guys are fingerprinting at Islam ? Will jews be OK if Muslims says something bad about thier religion ? Will u guys says that when Muslims says that sun worshipers does not have any sense of brain ? In this world, is it only the Muslims are problematic people ?
Why europe and US are having capital punishment? When western countries does any of the torture, it is nicely called for self-protection but when a Muslim does that it is called torture ? what hack is this ?
Islam is only the religion who has proven to given the best democracy for well being of the Mankind.
I support Ahmed from Addu on this.
An appeal to Minivan and its writers would fall on deaf ears because their agenda is to serve their governments and financiers.
However President Nasheed needs to don a thinking cap and ponder the benefits of stability. Hillath, Velezinee, Aniya, Nasheed, Nazim and a host of other characters are hell bent on serving their own whims and fancies. What about this country? What about these poor hapless people?
Point on point inflation, added strains on the dollar next year, expanding state budgets, destruction of social harmony - is this the change we voted for?
Kaleymenna Halaaku huri!
The provisions of international law are not enforceable here, and there is no policing body with the capacity to override our sovereignty as a precursor to implementing them.
All these people who want to push their obvious agenda with recourse to the language of the U.N Charter should releive themselves of their futile effort.
But then again, human rights activists are fools! FOOLS! They would have been garroted on the spot by now were we under the authority of the late Ayatu'llah Khomeini, may his name ever be praised!
if we want to develop no-nonsense style like singapore, then we shall dispose of selfish ppl like Hillath who only promotes himself. After this 23rd december fight, only hillath will stand to benefit from international recognition while we, the country will get bad press either way.
So like i said before, if we want to develop no nonsense style, then we shall abandon these fashionable european topics like, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and bla bla..
bla bla because they do not really allow freedom of anything without limits even in the wild west. for proof lets see that they have issue with niqab, they have issue with minarets, they have issue with beards. so how can we say they are liberal in this sense?
Hillath is pointing out a whole in the constituition which says every maldivian is a muslim. he is trying to point out what will happen to him if he becomes a non-muslims. 2 things will happen. if govt takes down this 100% muslim label facade, then govt be forced out from power. if they imprision hillath, then hypocritical internataionl scorn follow. so either way we will loose playing to hillath's drama.
@mode - Your preoccupation with semantics is admirable, meanwhile activists are getting improsioned over here.
"lakum dheenukum waliya dheen". means for you your religion, for me mine.. but did you check the begining of the verse? it started with "gul yaa ayyuhal kaafiroon" which means say o you disbelievers..
so this verse refers to disbelievers,not to pious sufi gay muslims like Hillath.
"Protest organisers attributed the slogans to a “technical mistake” "
I believe this bit is written this way to deliberately mislead the public.
Never have the protest organisers attributed the call to slaughter fellow Maldivians to a technical mistake, JJ. Their website was hacked and tampered.
@Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb: With the online name you have it is extremely sad for me to hear you speak about some great cohesion that used to exist between Maldivians, bin-Suvadheeb. Did you not have to beg for papers to enter Male’?
Any cohesion which existed came from economic necessity and fear, it was built on the oppression of the lower classes and on a racist attitude towards non-Male’ ppl which resulted in tyranny.
The only cohesion, respect, peace which can be maintained without painful, evil tyranny is cohesion based on a culture of self-sacrificial love.
Where is the love, where ever was it?
Oh yes that was a British plot to divide and conquer, was it?
Was it the British who invented the term quarter of the brain missing, which Male’ ppl use to describe Islanders? (I forget exact term but something like that!) NO. Because from what I understand that had been around a long time.
What cohesion used to exist?
Smashing hell out of your first President? Then smashing someone for having compassion on him?
“Stop abusing Islam, for your ppl, STOP FORCING ISLAM on those who reject it!”
No one is forcing anyone to be anything, Ben.
And no one is abusing Islam.
Hilath is the prime example of this. He has lived his life for at least more than 30 years the way he wanted. No one cared to do anythig against him. Even when he went anti-islam and called openly for gay rights in his blog until very recently, he continued with his ranting on his blog. And if media is true, he is even on drugs.
I think he should feel lucky that he is free to roam on our streets unlike many other addicts.
He should have known his boundaries and limits and kept things to himself. If I were him I would have lived a quiet life and no one would even bother. There are many cases like this in Male’. If you have lived here long enough, you will also know. No one is going against these people.
The problem lies when you want to test how far you can go. I think Hilath has gone a bit too far. He would have lived as Hilath if he lived quietly the way he lived before this government came into power. Now, i think he has got a sense of protection for he is (I heard) the president’s nephew. I also heard that he is (secretly) backed by the government. (Perhaps why you are also calling Maumoon et al to defend him?)
Hilath dared to organise a bunch of idiots and went out on the streets to protest for religious freedom. This is against Maldivian constitution. Freedom of religion is granted by Islam but not by our constitution.
You cannot change the constitution by suddenly appearing on the streets with 30 others protesting against something written down in the constitution. There is a specified route to take if one wants to change the constitution. Protesting on the strees is NOT its first step nor is it any other step of this route.
And by the way, the vast majority of Maldivans do not want to change the constitution on this. I have no stats to offer to support my claim. But you can know this if you talk to a hundred Maldivians picked at random.
The problem is, people like you think we can grant freedom of religion and everything else will remain the same. This is a grave mistake. Once freedom of religion is granted, the whole dynamics of our society will change. Then it will be so difficult to maintain the sovereignty and independence of this country. For this reason, I will not defend Hilath. Nor would I go against him. I will let the law decide what is to be done with him.
In my humble opinion, freedom of religion is not something that should be granted for Maldivians by our constitution.
We should NEVER change that clause.
i like kareemudeen's comment.
Get facts rights before you write. Its not Rasheed but Hilath who blogs about athiesm, gay rights and porn. After he startrd with porn govt blocked his blog. Which gov will allow a website that calls publicly for indecencies and dishormony, especially in a society where many teenagers go online? His protest was not silent but illegal coz it calls others to denounce their religion and create civil unrest in this small society.
The problem with Maldivian society is their limited experiences to the wider world. We are all biological product that functions with chemistry. Love and obsession is chemical reaction that is expressed through neurotransmitters and expressed by actions and feelings. The moral is social construct from the environment we live that is built from internal and external stimulus. The obsession of life is what makes religious and spiritualist concepts in the brain. The Mullahs and most Maldivian in general are simply reacting to their biological chemistry and due to a poor environment the external stimulus plays a very narrow roll to program these apes.
If i was the editor of Minivan News website I would not have this as headline news. We have more important issues.
spot on rambe.
@karemuddin: I am very greatful that you have said this... "Once freedom of religion is granted, the whole dynamics of our society will change. Then it will be so difficult to maintain the sovereignty and independence of this country..."
If you could explain to me why this is so, if I could be convinced through a rational argument that this what you said would be the case, WHY it would be the case, I would honestly be very sorry.
I am merely an ignorant, naive typically stupid Westerner who loves Maldives, but does not understand it, you see, just please, have some sympathy for a stupid soul like me who needs to understand and just offer me a reason for why Maldives would fall apart if Islam would not be imposed.
COULD ANYBODY PLEASE DO THAT!
Consider me as a relatively stupid, new Muslim who is beginning to feel like leaving Islam because I see Islam being used to repress people's conscience, yet, I need you guys to please please please, as a service to a struggling Muslim brother who desparately needs help to stay a Muslim, to have it explained WHY Islam needs to be imposed and when I have that, you would have saved my soul from returning to Jahilya!
Oh Allah save them from the hell fire. show them the right path.
Allahummaghfirlee mu'mineen wal mu'minaath
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