The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has issued a statement proclaiming that nobody is allowed to talk against Islam in the Maldives, “even in parliament”, as Islam is “the source of all laws made in the Maldives.”
The Ministry’s statement follows a call from UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay in parliament last week that the Maldives put a moratorium on the practice of flogging as punishment for extra-marital sex, while it holds a debate on the matter.
Pillay told parliament that flogging was a form of punishment “that is cruel and demeaning to women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country.”
The Islamic Ministry condemned the parliament’s decision to let Pillay speak, noting that MPs were handed a Dhivehi translation of her speech and should have been aware of what she was about to say.
‘’No Muslim has the right to advocate against flogging for fornication,” the Islamic Ministry stated.
“According to the Quran 100 lashes should be given for the woman and man involved in fornication,’’ the Ministry said, citing 33:36 of Quran which reads: ‘’It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.’’
The Ministry said that no international organisation, foreign country or individual had the “right to obstruct Maldivians from upholding Islamic principles.”
‘’To preserve this nation’s sovereignty, all Maldivian citizens are obliged to respect the articles in the constitution and uphold the constitution,’’ the statement read. ‘’No law against any tenet of Islam can be enacted in the Maldives, according to the constitution.’’
The Islamic Ministry said any calls or action against this would be condemned by the ministry “in strongest possible terms.”
Religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has yesterday sent a letter to the UN Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, alleging that a call from UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay for a moratorium on flogging was “inhumane and disrespectful.”
In a press conference last week, Pillay also described the 100 percent Muslim provision in the Maldivian constitution as “discriminatory, and does not comply with international standards” which led to protests outside the UN head office in Male’.