New religious unity regulations crack down on extremist preaching in Maldives

New religious unity regulations have been published in the government’s gazette cracking down on extremist and unlicensed preaching of Islam in the Maldives.

The regulations reflect the enforcement of the Religious Unity Act and were originally put forward by the Islamic Ministry, but have undergone numerous drafts and revisions over the past year. The penalty for violating the regulations under the Act is 2-5 years imprisonment, banishment or house arrest.

Under the regulations – the government’s interpretation of the Act – scholars foreign or local must be licensed to preach in the Maldives by the Islamic Ministry, and have received at least a first degree at one of 36 listed universities.

None of these are Maldivian institutions, although the regulations stipulate that new institutions would be evaluated on a case by case basis, and the list reviewed every three months.

The regulations contain general principles for the delivery of religious sermons. These include an emphasis on specifically referencing the Quran when statements are made, and clarifying the authenticity of Hadith.

Preachers are instructed not to express anything “against general agreement” reached among Islamic scholars, or provide any information “ about issues disputed among Islamic scholars that serves to create disunity among the people and result in internal conflicts.”

The regulations also require preachers to refrain “from passing off as Islam one’s personal stand – that may result in obstruction of human progress and development and hinder modern findings and intellectual advancements.”

Controversially, preachers are also asked not to preach in a manner that flaunts human dignity, that may be interpreted as racial and gender discrimination, prevent people from education or health services in the name of Islam, or demeans the character or creates hatred towards people of any other religion.

Foreign scholars preaching in the Maldives “should not talk against Maldives’ social norms, nor should they criticise Maldives’ domestic policies and laws,” the regulations state.

It remains illegal to propagate any other religion other than Islam, and to carry or display in public books on religions other than Islam, “and the translation into Dhivehi language such books and writings on other religions.” Proselytising by foreigners remains punishable by deportation.

Articles involving comparisons between Islam and other religions, “and description of sayings and expressions about Islam by people of other religions, and dissemination of Muslim expressions on other religions”, are exempt, according to the regulations.

Media is banned from producing or publicising programs, talking about or disseminating audio “that humiliates Allah or his prophets or the holy Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet (Mohamed) or the Islamic faith.”

“This also includes the broadcasting of material (on other religions) produced by others and recording of such programs by the local broadcaster, and broadcasting such material by the unilateral decision of the local broadcaster,” the regulations stipulate.


At a press conference today, the Islamic Foundation of Maldives (IFM) contended that the regulations conflicted with both the Maldivian constitution and the Quran.

In February this year, the IFM filed a case at the High Court requesting that outdated provisions in the Protection of Religious Unity Act of 1994 be abolished.

Article 2(b) of the Act states that permission to preach or offer instruction in religious matters must be sought in writing with the President.

Islamic Foundation Lawyer Shaheem Ahmed argued today that the Act conflicted with article 27 of the constitution, which states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expressions in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam.”

“Sadly however no hearings have been conducted in this case so far. We don’t know why this is so,” he said.

In addition, Shaheem argued, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs did not have the legal authority to enact regulations that restricts or limits fundamental rights and freedoms enumerated in chapter two of the constitution.

Article 16 states that the rights and freedoms contained in the chapter could be restricted “only to such reasonable limits prescribed by a law enacted by the People’s Majlis”.

“After this regulation was approved, from this day onward no one without a degree could teach Islam in any school in the country,” he said, adding that imparting knowledge of Islam by a person without a degree would also be illegal.

As provision 5(l) of the regulations prohibits speech that could “incite hatred among the public, demean or undermine the human dignity of followers of another religion,” Shaheem noted that the Quran described Jews as “evil people and liars” and cautioned against “taking Jews as your friends.”

“Would expressing something like this from the Quran incite hatred or love towards us from Jews?” he asked. “The people who formulated this regulation should consider that the basis of Islam is the Quran.”

Quran 2:120 states that, “Never will the Jews or Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion” while 5:51 reads, “Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliya’ to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya’, then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).”

Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed Ahmed meanwhile called on Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Bari to “repent” for approving a regulation that conflicted with the Quran.

“[The regulations] obstruct the freedom granted by Almighty God to spread Islam. It is therefore completely void,” he claimed.

Fareed called on the government to review the regulations and reconsider enforcing the new rules, urging Islamic Minister Bari to consult religious scholars who were not Adhaalath party members and “not make such decisions on your own.”

“We urge very respectfully and with affection, to reconsider this and change [the regulations] so that it does not conflict with the Quran,” he said. “And don’t try to narrow Islamic matters in the country.”

IFM President Ibrahim Fauzee meanwhile revealed that the foundation was preparing to mount a legal challenge to the regulations at the Supreme Court.

Adhaalath Party condemns regulations

The Adhaalath Party, which controls the Islamic Ministry, issued a press statement today criticising the removal of “very important principles” from the original draft, and distanced the party’s religious scholars from the regulations.

The statement notes that the regulations were drafted by a legal team from police and 11 prominent religious scholars and approved by three Attorney Generals.

“We would like to inform the beloved Maldivian people that the party condemns [the changes] in the harshest terms and the party’s religious scholars and members renounces the gazetted regulations,” it reads.

“We note that provisions from English law have been added that were not in the regulations before and are not suited to a 100 percent Islamic community. We also note that other dangerous changes have been made to the regulations,” reads the statement signed by Sheikh Ilyas Hussein, vice-president of Adhaalath party’s council of religious scholars.

“While the Minister of Islamic Affairs [Dr Bari, president of the religious scholars council] was requested to not agree to publishing the regulations in the gazette without consultation with the party’s
scholars, we want to reveal that the regulations were brought out in the form it is in the gazette without any discussion at all with Adhaalath party’s council of religious scholars.”

Among the clauses that were removed were provisions outlining criteria for issuing preaching licenses, and prohibitions on broadcasting “un-Islamic” material.

These included provisions that preachers must be Sunni, and according to the Adhaalath Party, a provision requiring that religious fatwas (edicts or rulings) must be issued in accordance with the Sunni sect
was also removed, and so-called ‘blasphemy’ laws appeared to be toned down.

Laws forbidding independent prayer congregations were also scrapped.

The amendment regulations published in the government gazette yesterday was made up of 12 provisions, whereas previous drafts contained 40 provisions and a number of sub-clauses.

A more ‘academic’ approach

Former member of the Special Majlis and the new Constitution’s drafting committee, Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail, who was involved in redrafting the regulations, told Minivan News that they set out a more “academic” approach to preaching Islam in the Maldives, and were targeted at curbing the spread of extremism.

“[The regulations] do not impinge on freedom of expression, compared to the first draft, and I believe we have taken out those elements,” Ibra said.

“We have observed in this country and elsewhere that there are people who misquote the Quran and twist it around to propagate their agenda. These provisions curb that,” he explained.

“What in effect we are ensuring is that preachers should not say whatever comes to their mind. We say that if those preaching religion must refer to sources – the Quran and the Prophet’s sayings – so someone can independently verify if they wish.

“Where scholars deliver sources on areas and issues that are in dispute, these regulations require that they should state that,” he said.

“We put in a provision that prohibits hate speech, such as no one should propagate xenophobia or negative sentiments towards other religious.”

The criminalisation of those who violated the Act was not stipulated by the regulations, but in law, he explained.

“Currently the parliament is reviewing the relevant legislation (the Religous Unity Act), what we are doing is simply setting out how this can be enforced,” Ibra said, confirming that 2-5 years sentences was “more or less” what was in the Act.

Enforcement would ultimately be a court decision, he explained, with the Islamic Ministry only having the right to temporarily suspend preaching license pending the outcome of the court decision.

Ibra suggested that religious groups active in the Maldives – such as the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives and Jamiyyath-al-Salaf – should welcome the regulations, “as until now there has been a move by some people to silence them. These regulations do not silence them, but ask them to engage and follow procedures in their work. There are no ramifications for any particular group – again this different to what was originally proposed.”

He disputed that outlawing extremist preaching would drive the practice underground, and lead to a repeat of the 2007 Himandhoo incident, in which islanders donned red motorcycle helmets and armed themselves with batons and knives to defend the Dhar al Khuir mosque from a police crackdown.

In the ensuing skirmish, a policeman was taken captive and another’s hand was severed. Shortly afterwards a video discovered on an Al Qaeda forum was found to contain footage taken inside the Dhar-al-khuir mosque moments before it was raided by police.

“Himandhoo  was not based on religion – those where highly politicised times,” Ibra said. “What I believe is that this will allow liberal-minded thinkers to convince people of the middle ground. Initially there may be some reactions, but I’m optimistic.”

Download an unofficial translation of the new regulations (English)


54 thoughts on “New religious unity regulations crack down on extremist preaching in Maldives”

  1. we will see how many anti-islam comments you publish for this story. Remember we are also here and we will uphold the countries regulations and we are ready to go to the courts if you people continue publishing anti islam things. Now we have the backing of religious unity regulation on our side.

  2. Shame on u Maldives... This proves wat the world over has been talking about... Islam is regressive, medival and allows no freedom of thought and expression... It's followers are possibly the biggest idiots on the planet...

  3. Few days back the Mullahs were complaining that the government is purposely not publishing religious unity regulation in government gazette.
    Now when the government full filled its obligation the Mullahs are complaining that there are restrictions on to spread the words Quran.
    However the mullahs who preach and spread hates towards other religions failed to understand that Maldives have signed UN charters on human rights and international charters which the government is oblige and binding. Furthermore the Mullahs refuse to understand that, if the government accommodates to their ideology and ways, Maldives will be isolated with the international community. We have to accept the fact that we are not in a position to be so.

  4. "me",

    I don't think you realize it, but it is now us, the secular and moderate wing of the public, who'll be closely watching Adhaalath and IFM.

    If you haven't read the regulations, or the article, do note that it explicitly forbids hate speech, misogyny and hindering the progress of civilization (hence the condemnation from IFM and Adhaalath, who know nothing else)

    This means, we moderates and secularists will be watching very, very closely when Illiyaas or Fareed gets up on the podium next.

    And conceivably, we WILL drag them to court legally now, should they engage in their usual hate speeches in contravention of the law.

  5. There is no doubt that Islamism is idiotic ideas it is so idiotic its believers believe that they are so right there is no scope for any doubt in the teaching of Islam and then the Maldivian have nothing except this perfect divine thing, how can anyone take that thing out of them. For them the first thing is their perfect religion because that’s the only hope they have. The other issue is Maldivian culture is art of doing nothing and Islam is the religion that promotes to refrain from all works accept banging their heads five times a day and go to heaven and enjoy life there. This is so perfect concept for Maldivian so be it. Also Maldivian lack individual identity and their conceptual domain are fixed and it will not exceed beyond that, they will have one role model and will be followed by everyone and it becomes their fashion. This is very unique people in the world and we should respect and preserve this indigenous culture.

  6. The next time any of these idiots say a thing against Jews and Christians, I will drag all these commentators and Mullahs to the court. Thank God for this regulation.

  7. @ yaamyn

    "I don’t think you realize it, but it is now us, the secular and moderate wing of the public, who’ll be closely watching Adhaalath and IFM."

    Kon kameh vaanethee?
    I think you ought to know a little bit about Maldives, Maldivians and Maldvian culture before you make such comments. You have lived abroad for too long that you are almost a misfit here now. You speak almost like a foreigner who is keeping an eye over things that happen here. I think someone like JJ will also understand us, Maldivians more than what you seem to do.

    Sheikh Ilyas, Sheikh Fareed and any other Sheikh you may mention will speak on the podiums just the way they have been doing all these years. Nothing is going to happen to them. You are naive if you think this new 'religious unity regulations' will do anything that would change their speeches.

  8. “Never will the Jews or Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion” oh the irony

  9. Oh folks, what sheer nonsense from both all of you dumbfks! I and my people, hear me out loud, do not give a flyin' fk 'about any of these dumb regulations.

  10. there is a difference between our kaafirs and their (western) kaafirs. Our kaafirs are always ready to provoke and insult our responsibilities but their kaafirs are not so eager. So its like this.
    our kaafirs have a very dim view of us. That our sharia is outdated, that our prophet is a bad person, that our holy book is invented etc. But after saying all these things at us they try to take the moral high ground. namely that their thinking is right, that they invented science, and that they only know science. and bla bla bla..

    the problem is these worthless bigots do not know how hollow their insides are!!

  11. paid Adhaalath Troll,

    You see, you can't lay claim to the moral high ground AND support hate-mongering at the same time.

    You can't deny established Science AND lay claim to science at the same time.

    There's a reason why we consider your party backwards. Because objectively speaking, progress lies in one direction.

    You use phrases like "your" sharia and "your" prophet.

    You praise the ideology of your masters to the heavens, but reject their dismal failures in every part of the world where it has been implemented in the last 300 years. You'd rather blame your leadership failure on the 'jews' and the 'west'.

    Learn to take responsibility for yourself and acknowledge some basic facts. Without that, you do not stand a chance of progress.

  12. @Ainth on sun, Good havens we do not advocate “BLASPHEMY”, faith is not a thing to be forced or imposed on people!

  13. @Rumbe
    You describe ‘Islamism’ as having idiotic ideas. Your ideas as expressed in your post sound more idiotic and could only have come out from a dunce (for your information, a dunce is more than an idiot; he is one who is inherently incapable of learning). Let me explain. Firstly, take the case your usage of words. There is sometimes no relation between them and what they signify. For example, it is not clear what you mean by ‘Islamism’? You seem to give the impression that ‘Islamism’ and Islam mean one and the same thing. Even though it may sound idiotic, you have the liberty to waive the conventional meanings of words and assign your own meanings to them! But if you want to make sense, you must at least be in the same class as Humpty Dumpty of Alice in Wonderland. At least, Humpty explains what he means by words when he chooses what he wants them to mean! If you do not do this, you will sound idiotic and your words will not make sense!

    Secondly, you claim that Maldivians lack an ‘individual identity’. What do you mean by this? Are not Maldivians individually identifiable? Do not they have names, addresses, dates and places of birth - all of which together give them an individual identity? In addition, they must also have a national identity – a shared language, history, ethnicity and culture – or else they would not be identified as Maldivians. And this national identity, in certain contexts - such as distinguishing a Maldivian from say an Indian - is part and parcel of their individual identity. Your lack of explanation renders your comment idiotic and nonsensical! You should have enlightened the reader on how a Maldivian can acquire an individual identity. By talking in a different language or claiming a different national history or by embracing a different culture or by changing their skin complexion? Or do you mean that many Maldivians have a ‘mass’ or ‘party mentality’ and blindly follow the masses or the party line without recourse to their own independent thinking and reasoning in order to formulate ideas and opinions? But what has ‘individual identity’ got to do with this? It is very confusing unless you explain! You should have at least said that in your dictionary black means white and white means black! Then it would have made sense. Otherwise it would sound idiotic and nonsensical!

    Thirdly, you make some very tall claims. You claim that Maldivian culture constitutes of just one thing, that is, to use your words ‘doing nothing.’ Are you saying that all Maldivians are idle, lazy and not productive? This must be quite insulting to many Maldivians and especially those hard working fishermen who toil at sea day and night in sun or rain just so that they can put a plate of food on the table for their families. Unless you are blind, you cannot fail to observe their burnt and dried skin which is enough testimony to their hard labour. Or may be you do not consider this as work? Does not that sound idiotic? You also claim that Maldivians’ ‘conceptual domain’ being ‘fixed’ and incapable of ‘extension’. Did you look into each and every Maldivian’s way of thinking and their intellectual capabilities? Does not this sound as utterances of a dunce? What a tall claim to make! You also claimed that ‘Islam is the religion that promotes to refrain from all works [except] banging their heads five times a day …’ So you investigated all religions and reached the conclusion that a fundamental objective of Islam, to the exclusion of all other religions, is to inculcate in its followers a sense of idleness and inactivity? In which Islam’s foundation texts did you find these teachings? Is not this a tall claim to make? How can your hatred of Islam reach such proportions that it makes your rational faculties redundant? Do you really believe what you have said and think you are right? If that is the case, you are indeed a dunce and your ‘intellectual domain’ does not go beyond that of a three year old who only sees his ball in the street and goes after it ignoring all the on-coming traffic! It is indeed amazing that you fail to see how idiotic and nonsensical you sound and how full of yourself you are! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

  14. @ yaameen

    just read article 8 of the regulation. it says:

    "Allah ah nuvatha ekalaage rasoolunah nuvatha nabee beykalun nah rahdhuwaaney gothah huthuru ehchethi bunumaai, Allah aai rasoolun naai nabiyunge qadharaai loabi kuda waaneh fadha kankamaai efaraahthakaai nisbah kurumah waahaka dhekumaai, kurehun kurehumaai, minoonwes gothakun efadha shu'ooru faalhukoh hedhumakee MANAA kamekeve."

    this means we will be watching very, very closely what you people write here in this website and in your blogs, facebook etc..

    And conceivably, we WILL drag people like you to court legally now, should you people engage in your usual anti-islam hate mongering in contravention of the law.

  15. @ the Mullah
    Amazingly nice job.

    but it is worthless arguing with a complete idiot as most of the anti-muslim-ists prove to be.

  16. yaamyn,

    "Let’s see about that. I hear Fareed’s speaking soon."

    I can tell you what will happen.
    Fareed will speak. Out of the keen listeners, few will get an opportunity to get some media attention. These people will make a hype of it. Some others will jump and and down. Fareed will be in the midst of it. He might be asked to attend few meetings. In these, Fareed might even be told a few things. The issue will be dragged as much as is possible. Those jumping up and down will run out of steam. Then dust will start settling. And when it settles, it would be just another day of life for Fareed. He will start preparing for his next speech.

    This is nothing unusual. The only thing new this time would be, in the meetings Fareed will be told of a new 'religious unity regulations.' But, other than that, there would be nothing new.

    What would happen would be some (who call themselves "the secular and moderate wing of the public") will be so disappointed that they will wow to not interfere ever again.

    PS. yaamyn, if you call yourself an atheist, mark my words, there will be a day of your life when you will realize how wrong you are. I pray that day will come soon.

  17. I fail to understand this vehement backlash against "secularists", nobody is calling for restrictions on religion, neither is anyone asking to replace Islam as the state religion.

    But hey, one thing I do understand is that the hypocrisy is here to stay and a lot of people will be happy to sit back and criticize the "secularists" and the "masters" the west, all the while paying lip service to their religion.

    I call on all who want to end this lunacy to fight fire with fire. As a first step we must join the Mullahs in calling for abolishing entertainment on satellite TV, especially the Hindi soaps with their idol worship. Once this is accomplished, (and with the women of this country with us) we can look for other"unislamic" targets until all the useful idiots which the mullahs wield understand that - live and let live is not such a bad philosophy.

  18. I mean really what is wrong with you all. Quran and sunna is there what else you all need.
    Anyways let c...!!??
    And for the people who are trying to bring religious freedom to Maldives. Do not even think about it. Are you people out of your mind. Do you really think we can live hear peacefully with that. I don't think so...
    @ Rumbe
    Our religion is perfect. It is the truth. If you are so great prove it wrong.

  19. @ Athiest
    ya we will make them our supreme leaders. No yellow or blue. I am a yellow guy but now i am against yellow and insha Allah i will make 100 of me. And that 100 will make 100 for each. You will see when the time comes.

  20. Rocket,

    That might very well be. But it won't make it legal.

    You must have misread my comment. Where did I (ever-)call myself an 'atheist'?

  21. @The Mullah
    First of all I am happy that you had completely read my mind and understood my assertion, most of Maldivian will not have that ability. The rest is debatable and thorough research and independent opinion can prove me wrong. Argumentum verbosium is logical fallacy and it is not how to prove someone is wrong

  22. Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve
    Qur'an, sura 2 (Al-Baqarah), ayat 62

    Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book (the Jews and Christians) are a portion that stand (for the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.
    They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works. They are in the ranks of the righteous.
    Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knoweth well those that do right.
    Qur'an, sura 3 (Al-Imran), ayat 113-115

  23. This website is just two three Drug addict, child sex, prostitute ruining very democratic website. They believe there is no god and they believe there is no there mother and father and even them self. haha

  24. Maldives is a Democratic country and Maldivians choose ISLAM is there Religion. I don't understand what you are calling for. What kind of Democracy your are following.

  25. Maldives resort photographer,

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of democracy.

    Please read more to understand the difference between 'tyranny of the majority' and 'democracy'.

    A modern liberal democracy has no meaning if does not (constitutionally-) safeguard and protect minority opinions and beliefs.

    Minority opinion and dissent is not only acceptable, but also crucial in a true modern democracy - which is why you have the concept of an 'opposition' in parliament.

    If 60% of the population want to dispossess the rights of 40% - and, by your idea of democracy automatically has this right, then it wouldn't make for a very ideal society.

    The percentages don't matter. In a civilized society, even a lone dissenting individual will have his rights protected.

  26. hahahah know minivan news cannot publish articles against islam...atheist works are failed masha allah..

  27. @ Yameen
    Some minority or some individuals says they want be Maldives to be like Pompey. That is having sex in public. Homo sex and Lesbians are their favorite type.
    Another bunch of people says we want to legalize all the type of drugs. Marijuana is their favorite.
    This is just few, if you like i can show you more.
    So yameen according to your democracy we have to give them their rights. If we are not giving these right we cant be a civilized society. Arnt we..!!???
    I am an uneducated guy. What to do!? My parents are Maldivians, they are uneducated. Unfortunately from their effort we are hear like this.
    Ya they did not go to moom but they took the moon to the king. I think they are better than Americans. Arnt they...!!!????
    Sorry we do not want be a civilized society that has no protection . In these so called civilized societies criminals run freely.
    I don't want to install a huge security system at my home that alarms even an innocent little creature unknowingly enters my home. I want to walk freely to the bank. I do not like bodyguards running around me. When i go out i see most of the youth roaming around high doing nothing. And i feel sorry for them. I dont want to see it either.
    So where is my right...!!!???

  28. Dhondheeenaaa,

    This is the problem I have with your thinking.

    The right to freedom of conscience is something modern civilizations elsewhere takes for granted.

    When you go to India, or Sri Lanka, or America or Europe, there's this basic understanding that come what may, you are free to have your own opinion, so long as you do not harm someone else, or threaten someone else's security.

    I have personally never seen or heard of any Maldivian demanding to have sex in public.

    You're equating your wildest fantasies with basic rights to private thoughts.

    Why stop at having sex in public? There are also people who'll want to murder, or rape children or worse. None of these things are allowed in free societies, because they infringe on others rights and safety, and an expectation of a decent living.

    What exactly does it take away from you as a Muslim when a non-Muslim practices his/her religion?

  29. Dhondheeenaaa,

    Have you ever paused to consider why you think anything but the strictest control over everything fills your mind with scenes of chaos and anarchy?

    This is exactly the kind of thinking that Dictators talk about democracy.

    If people are given the right to have an opinion, then there'll be no stability and chaos everywhere.

    It is true that democracies are a bit noisier and occasionally chaotic - but overall, countries like India, Western Europe and US and Scandinavia show that it works.

    The people in all these countries lead better lives today than they did yesterday, and can actually look forward to better tomorrows.

    Compare that with the stagnant dictatorships of the middle east who are 'stable' and 'peaceful' much like our country was for over 20 years.

    Some idiots continue to wish for a dictatorship in the Maldives, claiming it was more peaceful.

    A slightly chaotic freedom is always more welcome than a repressed, superficial 'peace'.

  30. @Dhondheena
    If I have no evidence that Islam is no different than any other religion why do you think I am advocating it. Probably you will say Allah has sealed my heart and made me blind and deaf so I can’t see the sign of Allah and can’t see the truth in the words of Allah. Definitely I can’t prove it to you because you have no scope for doubt for what you believe. If you ask my personal opinion, I don’t believe in personal God like Allah who communicates with his super creation through his chosen one in a specific language to a people to one geographical location and basically deals with human conception of universe of that period of time in the history. I believe with archeological evidence that the human history did not began about 2000 years before, the way all monotheist religions projects. And I believe the universe is not that simple the way these religions see it. I believe religions are theories in Science of that period which has no answer to Science of today and human being will pursue to find the truth about their existence which they may never find an answer.

  31. yaamyn,

    "Where did I (ever-)call myself an ‘atheist’?"
    Not that you literally did. But your strident articles and comments against belief and religion in general and Islam in particular made me think you are. (I had to go through your blog once again to find out where i got this impression from. But I'm afraid it cannot be pinned down to one article or comment.) My apologies if I am wrong.
    Now I wonder whether it is Islam that you have a problem with.

  32. yaamyn,

    "What exactly does it take away from you as a Muslim when a non-Muslim practices his/her religion?"

    To think that those who object to a secular Maldives is doing so because they believe something is taken away from Muslims when a non-Muslim practice his/her religion is utterly simplistic.

    The dynamics of a secular state will be very complex. In fact, too complex to handle for a small nation like ours.

    You think that some Maldivians can be Muslims, some can be atheists, some can be Jews, some Hindus, etc, etc and everything else would be the same. This is where the problem lies. You need to think more than jsut that.

    Just think of the disruption of social harmony bruoght on by the multi-party system. This disruption would be peanuts compared to the turmoil that would be created if we are to be a secular state.

    This is why I responded with "Koba massala akee?" when you said “non-Muslims in the Maldives may exist as physical flesh-and-bones entities, but if they value their lives, liberty and security, then they must adhere to the strict code of conformity and total silence.”

  33. completely agree with yaamyn.

    looking good to the public has always taken a front seat to freedom in maldives.

    Most people wear burugaa not because they are religious, but because they love to percieved as pious, religous women... i bet 60% of women in maldives do it for this reason.

    when a fellow maldivian speaks his mind about freedom of religion, everyone looks at that person like he's so full of shit ..and a "how could you!" sort of way...not necessarily giving much thought to what the dude's even saying they jump to judgement.

    Also there is nothing free about Islam. there is no place for strong, free willed and independent women (i mean seriously we cant even own our own inheretence or get married without consent of a MAN)

    Also Muslims like Fareed/Ilyas/Mullahs hate Jews and in doing so they become Nazis.... If u read a secondary school islam text book... page after page they talk bout how specifically Yahoodheen are our enemies.

    Let me remind you muslim brothers and sisters...this is 2011... not 7th century Arabia... iam sure it made sense back then... but the rules dont apply anymore... just like we live in apartment houses with Air conditioning now and not in caves in some arab dessert...

  34. @Rumbe
    This is just for you. Many thanks. I commend you for your moral courage to have somewhat (I get a feeling there was a bit of grudge) accepted my comment even though it was a bit harsh. I hope you did not get me wrong. I do not mind criticism of any subject including religion and religious beliefs. Nor do I have a problem with any religion or atheism; everyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe. I can understand that all worldviews, religious or otherwise, are human constructs. Although some hold that religious worldviews are unscientific and indefensible while areligious worldviews are scientific and somewhat superior, they sometimes fail to see that the scientific methodology applicable in the building of secular worldviews has a lot of commonalities to the religious methodology and are not fool-proof. Perhaps there will be some other time to go into details and debate this. But I think it is imperative for all sides in this religious divide - the Maldivian believer and the Maldivian non-believer to learn to respect each other and draw the line between criticism and mockery. I think both sides have been guilty of this.

    By the way your last post has some factual errors: the monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - do not teach that the world began 2000 years ago. Anyway, kind regards.

  35. Rocket,

    It is an assumption you made - and is not based on any article or post of mine.

    You will also be hard pressed to find a sentence I wrote that is "against belief or religion" in general.

    If anything, I promote a more intellectual Islam that looks forward and embraces the Sciences - much like our ancestors did.

    And I strongly criticize medieval thinking that is being perpetuated by the likes of IFM and Adhaalath thinking, that has already led Muslims into the dark ages.

    As for your argument that Secularism would make society unstable - I disagree completely.

    1) Repressing any section of the society - even the wahhabis - and preventing them from participating in it is never a good idea, as Maumoon proved to us. This is why Fareed has been thrust upon us in the first place.

    2) You say multi-party democracy is chaotic. But how many of our citizens do you think would want to go back to not being free to voice an opinion?

    Secularism only means one thing to me - no one can dictate a people in the name of religion. Not Adhaalath, not Gayoom, not Fareed. This is absolutely necessary for ideas and intellectualism to survive - and consequently, for democracy to survive

    3) How can a self-proclaimed Islamic country deny non-Muslims the rights they've been explicitly granted by Allah? It doesn't make sense to me.

  36. ehm... is questioning to better understand islam allowed?

    does the question come with a possible "THIS IS SPARTAAA!!!" moment?

    if there answer is flawed r we allowed to point it out?

    or r we suppose to listen & believe what ever the ministry says without question?

    is only priests.. i mean SHEIKHS allowed to debate among themselves what the common (lower class) people should believe?

  37. yaamyn, it may be an assumption I made. My apologies again. My bad.

    If you "prmote a more intellectual imslam," then why do i not see it?
    May be something is wrong with me?
    Or may be you have not portrayed what you promote in a clear and concise manner. Here on, i will of course try to see your views as the promotion of a more intellectual Islam. 🙂
    All these days, i have been under a very wrong assumption, i guess.

    As for your disagreement about secularism ...
    No worries. I will respect your views.
    Homogenity in my mind, would be easier to manage than heterogenity. This includes homogenity of religion as well.

    But suppose we are to be a secular nation. Then there would be some other issue over which a minority of our country will fight. There is no utopia anywhere. So there would be no end to the number of issues over which people can fight.

    Even the western coutries have their issues. They may be allowed to practice their religion freely and express their views freely or do anything else. But their issues are no less. If there are no issues at home, people go international and fight for other causes. The guys that go after the Japanese whale hunters are a typical example that comes to my mind.

    Its in the human nature to fight.

    "How can a self-proclaimed Islamic country deny non-Muslims the rights they’ve been explicitly granted by Allah? It doesn’t make sense to me."

    Didn't you notice that there is a chicken and egg situation here?
    Or perhaps an oxymoron?
    If it is a 100 percent Islamic country, there should be no non-Muslims.
    Then whose rights are you talking about?

  38. @rocket, anyone whose born in maldives and their mom and dad and entire ancestory is from maldives is maldivian.

    So just coz someone decides not to be a muslim anymore coz he has other views on religion, doesnt mean he's not maldivian. He is still every bit maldivian, and he has every right a muslim maldivian have.

    This is not a 100% muslim country,dear.never was, never will be... there is no such thing as 100%.Not all maldivians are muslim. There are homosexuals and alcohol lovers who dont follow islam. they speak dhivehi, they have dhivehi blood and they are dhivehi. They will always be dhivehi. they have every right like the rest of the maldivian citizens. infact its against human rights to kick ppl out of the country based on their religious beliefs. Its very stupid.

  39. @Rocket
    there is no 100%
    people will have different opinions its inevitable its not religious unity we should be looking for its unity (peace & tolerance)

  40. "If it is a 100 percent Islamic country, there should be no non-Muslims.
    Then whose rights are you talking about?"

    The 100% clause should never have been enshrined in the constitution. Adhering to a religion requires faith, this makes some some citizens live in contravention to the constitution and they do not have a choice in that matter. One cannot believe just because one would like to.

    Nazim the "apostate", who rather miraculously rediscovered his faith after his arrest is back in the fold of Islam? How stupid are we really?

    Apart from the obvious intellectual acrobatics required to criminalize a belief (disbelief rather) you have the conundrum of proving the crime and enforcing the law. This negates the entire constitution.

    As for the answer to your question- I believe it is the rights of the people who do not have the faith.

  41. Rocket,

    What the previous comments said.

    "100% Muslim" would indicate that there was some kind of survey or religious census carried out to arrive at it.

    But to my knowledge, there hasn't ever been such a thing.

    Islam does not allow any one to unilaterally declare someone else's faith, not even the Prophet.

    Otherwise it would just too easy, wouldn't it? Our parliament could just as well pass a resolution declaring the whole world to be hereafter 100% Muslim.

    Surely, if we do not officially recognize it, then it ceases to exist?

    Also, we're also 100% self-sufficient, and perhaps Somalia should pass a law declaring everyone 100% well-fed. If anyone asks, you could always throw the rejoinder "What hunger are you talking about?"

  42. To all of you i have one answer.
    You cannot have the cake and eat it.
    You cannot be a non-Muslim and a Maldivian. The minute you become a non-Muslim, you will be deprived of your nationality. Go anywhere you want. But you cannot be a Maldivian.

    @ yaamyn

    You are right. No one cam impose a religion on another person.
    But, what you are talking about is our constitution. It does not say you cannot be a non-Mulsim. It only says you cannot be a Maldivian if you are a non-Muslim. There is a difference here. Declare yourself a non-Muslim and go live anywhere you want. No one will care to follow you.

    yaamyn, I agree. No one has done any research to say we are 100 percent Muslims. But remind yourself that this calculation is not even required because there simply cannot be non-Muslims who are Maldivian. If you (I do not mean Yameen Rasheed) are a non-Muslim and you are living in Maldives, by law, you will not be counted as a Maldivian. There is no rocket science in this calculation. So why doubt the 100 percent as false?

    @ Ahmed

    You think "its against human rights to kick ppl out of the country based on their religious beliefs. Its very stupid."

    Human rights are made by human beings.
    So are the articles of the Maldivian constitution.
    The question is which one is more important for us?
    I would say our constitution because it was prepared by Maldivians in a Maldivian context for the purpose of governing Maldives.
    The UN document on human rights, on the other hand was not prepared for Maldives alone.

  43. @Rocket
    great u solved the world hunger problem every country should declare if anyone is hungry they r not from this world
    problem solved! ^_^
    also no more sick people too!!!

  44. Rocket,

    You are wrong.

    Even the Maldivian government has officially argued that the constitution declares that no Maldivian can be deprived of citizenship "under any circumstance".

    There is no exception to the clause that says this.

    And furthermore, it would violate International laws, like Article 15 of the UDHR, that the Maldives has already acceded to without reservation.

    This means that non-Muslims who were Maldivian under the old constitution continue to be Maldivian under the law.

    The reason they cannot voice their rights is because of entirely different reasons - namely, that the courts fall back on Shariah, which may imaginably issue a death sentence for thought crimes.

  45. Rocket,

    "The UN document on human rights, on the other hand was not prepared for Maldives alone."

    You live in an imaginary world where the Maldives is a self-sufficient, sovereign nation that has no obligations to International law or community.

    That is not true. As long as the Maldives continues to heavily rely on UN Aid and expertise, it is legally, not to mention ethically, bound by these documents.

    And you tell us about having your cake and eating too! Rich!


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