Parliament’s Penal Code Committee to summon Sheikh Ilyas for “misleading public”

Parliament’s committee responsible for the new Penal Code has decided to summon Chair of Adhaalath Party Religious Council and a member of Maldives Fiqh Academy, Sheikh Ilyas Hussein.

The committee decided to summon Ilyas on the grounds that he had made ‘’misleading’’ comments suggesting that the purpose of the penal code was to “destroy the religion of Islam”.

The decision was made during last Thursday’s meeting. During the meeting, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Nazim Rashad proposed that the committee summon Ilyas to clarify doubts he may have regarding the Penal Code and to clarify how much the Penal Code incorporated the principles and penalties in Islam.

According to local media, on March 22, Sheikh Ilyas held a religious sermon dubbed ‘Purpose of Islamic Shariah’ at the Furuqan Mosque after Isha Prayers, and there he swore to God that the Penal Code was made to destroy the religion of Islam.

Speaking to Minivan News today, the Chair of Penal Code Committee MDP MP Ahmed Hamza said the committee had asked the parliament secretariat to send notice to Sheikh Ilyas to produce himself before the committee on Tuesday.

“He has told the public that there are some provisions in the Penal Code that are not in it,” Hamza said. “We want to bring him in and have a chat and inform him about the provisions that are there in the Penal Code.”

Hamza said the Penal Code included provisions stating that theft and fornication were crimes.

“It also has a provision on flogging,” Hamza added.

Local media reported that during the sermon, Ilyas had declared that the Penal Code did not have penalties for fornication, theft, corruption, forgery or robbery, and if a person commits a crime while intoxicated, the person is not subject to punishment. He also claimed that according to the new penal code, it was not a crime for two people to have consensual sex.

Ilyas declared that the Penal Code was “a trap made by the West” to erase Islam in the name of Muslims, and vowed that he was ready to argue the point even if all the country’s lawyers came out against him.


20 thoughts on “Parliament’s Penal Code Committee to summon Sheikh Ilyas for “misleading public””

  1. Good. Make this con-man accountable for his hate speech and lies. Explain to this ignorant clown that his version of Taliban Islam isn't the only option we have to follow. Moderate Maldivians, if you want to be heard, this is your chance to prove this idiot wrong. Your silence only strengthens his resolve to covert Maldives into an Arab state where you'll have no freedom to challenge him.

    But I have a feeling most Maldivians are already brainwashed and would agree with this mullah that flogggings, amputations, death penalty, crushing homosexuals under brick walls, stoning adulterers etc are all part of "Islam". Too bad for them. When this mullah wins the Vaikaradhoo seat next time and he and buddies take over the Parliament, you lot will be left to suffer under their theocracy, while they go scot-free.

  2. Sheikh Ilyas is threat to the peace & harmony of this country. For the good of this nation, this is one guy who needs to be locked up!

    He continues to preach hate and twists religion to suit his political agenda while his mind is trapped in the 14th century.

    His speech on the Draft Penal Code is pure madness.

  3. How weak does your faith have to be for you to think that some words, actions, statues, education reform, development projects, or the MDP, are all there to destroy Islam?

  4. The Mullas should be rehabilitated; they are suffering from a severe mental delusion. You can believe whatever you like to believe but you can’t force others to believe what you think as absolute true, because there is nothing absolute true about religions. Extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence. We don’t see and evidence that God exists other than some ancient people who did not have a slightest idea about how the world functions had claimed of being contacted by some Gods and whatever they have claimed was simply myths . Mullahs need wakening that there are Maldivians who can think and can use their brain and they can free themselves from cult like bondages and they don’t require Mullahs help to live a peaceful and meaningful life. The intellectuals should be as free as Mullahs to engage in public debates to enlighten people how to live meaningful life thorough love and humanism without embracing fear, hatred, mistrust, and bigotry.

  5. Fornication and consensual sex is not a crime. It is victimless act done privately between two adults who are fully aware. There is no reason for government to get involved in the bedroom. I don't want any of my tax money to be used to persecute these non crimes.

    As for the chopping of hands for robbery, or any eye for an eye crap that gets introduced will be a human rights violation in the name of revenge. We should be ashamed if the new penal code includes such atrocities.

  6. @evolved fisherman on Sat, 27th Apr 2013 6:39 PM

    "The intellectuals should be as free as Mullahs to engage in public debates to enlighten people how to live meaningful life thorough love and humanism without embracing fear, hatred, mistrust, and bigotry."

    Aha, an enlightened fisherman and an evolved one too. Good, good. Amen to your words. All responsible people should stand in their "speaker's corner" and educate the masses. After all, we don't need a preaching license to exercise our freedom to speak that is enshrined in the constitution.

    I agree that this so-called "Sheikh" is deluded. If Sharia was the ultimate weapon against "sin" and crime, then you'd have a "sin" free society in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Clearly those societies are anything but "sin" free. I hear it's quite a spectacle watching beheadings in Saudi Arabia.

    Perhaps, it's some sort of sado masochism that makes these "Sheikhs" foam at the mouth and yearn for such acts of brutality.

  7. Also, why is it that this religion is free from discussion and debate? Why are the religious leaders free to criticise people and their actions but as soon as the religion gets questioned, all ears are shut.

    I'm not talking about the mullahs. I mean normal people who just accept that the Quran is infallible. It isn't. It needs to be something that is open for discussion publicly.

    But it can't happen. Even the moderates would be angry and stand by letting the extremist call for the death of any one who dares question the religion. Remember Mohamed Nazim? Quite saddening how insecure everyone is about it.

  8. Apatheism also known as pragmatic atheism or (critically) as practical atheism, is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity. Apatheism describes the manner of acting towards a belief or lack of a belief in a deity, so it applies to both theism and atheism. An apatheist is also someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. In other words, an apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither meaningful nor relevant to his or her life.

    Historically, practical atheism was considered by some people to be associated with moral failure, willful ignorance, and impiety. Those considered practical atheists were said to behave as though God, ethics, and social responsibility did not exist; they abandoned duty and embraced hedonism. According to the French Catholic philosopher Étienne Borne, "Practical atheism is not the denial of the existence of God, but complete godlessness of action; it is a moral evil, implying not the denial of the absolute validity of the moral law but simply rebellion against that law."
    Source WIKIPEDIA

    Lakun dheenakun val yadheen

  9. @proud to be Maldivian on Sat, 27th Apr 2013 9:58 PM

    "Historically, practical atheism was considered by some people to be associated with moral failure, willful ignorance, and impiety. Those considered practical atheists were said to behave as though God, ethics, and social responsibility did not exist; they abandoned duty and embraced hedonism."

    Interesting view point. Since all religions share more or less the same underlying philosophy, we can conclude that human beings sought to control that "hedonism". They probably feared that such hedonism may lead to the extinction of society.

    Just like all good marketing men, religious men sought to differentiate their "product" in various inventive ways. Jesus upped Moses by being labelled as the Son of God, which is clearly hogwash. A few non-remarkable "marketeers" did appear between Jesus and Mohammed, but Mohammed stood out as a very creative and inventive man.

    He knew he couldn't upstage Jesus, so he used other ways to make his product more attractive. Rivers of wine and unlimited supplies of virgins has its appeal! I can imagine all those "Sheikhs" trembling at their knees just at the thought of such an orgy in the "hereafter". You see, it's all down to good marketing.

  10. @Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb

    You know what the Quran teaches us? It teaches us not to "attach" ourselves to anything 'created' but to seek the Oneness of the creator, the great mind whose thoughts of us makes us even be able to write what we are writing or reading now, if that great cosmic mind isnt thinking of us we wont exist.The heaven mentioned is a 'created' thing.A true beliver will never seek the created but seek the love of Allah and be satisfied with what Allah gives in this life and even in the hereafter, The G-D of Mohamed is the Brahman(the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world) of Hinduism(which the hindus never define,name or give an image),Tao( that which the Buddha refused to talk about),the ONE God of Abraham,Moses and Jesus.Ofcox even if a person who calls himself a sheikh yet is full of lust will only think of the virgins mentioned,n forget everything else prescribed in the Holy book.This world is a manifestation of the real kingdom of Allah,thus our deeds here wil manifest in the next real life.The Furqan asks to be constantly mindful of Allah,Love Allah,fear Allah,obey Allah which is the only way humans can have a right living cox the inbuilt nature of humans is driven towards evil and immorality unless one chooses a clear path,which itself is proof that this life is a test.It is not Mohammed's fault that Allah chose him to reveal Allah's divine law to a species 2 of whome can't truly agree on one point!Afterall he left the world with nothing but a few pieces of coins and no inheritance for his family-the prince of Arabia people call him!

    Anyways my comments were not directed at you.Your knwoledge is urs and should do you good.I just love my country and want the best for it so i shared my thoughts, but i can accept what happens yet love where i was born.

  11. @proud to be Maldivian

    Historically we also knew that the earth was flat, the sun revolved around earth, the solar system had 5 planets, the universe was a few thousand years old, believed some people were slaves to other people, other people were gods. Does not make it true.

    There has to be space within the religion or at the very least within this country to change, adapt and improve.

    And how dare you suggest athesim is the moral evil and the school of through promoting willful ignorance.

    Firstly, blindly following a religion without questioning it is wilful ignorance. Ask yourselves why and how. Look for the answers out there. You can't just believe in a god because it is in a book. And if you remove that book as fact, suddenly there is no evidence of a god.

    The muslim moral code isn't a very good one either. It promotes homophobia, violence, hate, cruelty, gender imbalances, intolerance, death. these are thing I know are morally wrong but you can accept them because of your religion. Now who is morally evil?

    The moral code might be different slightly because you have sin within a religion. If enjoying life is a sin and immoral then that is my great immorality from being an atheist. Atleast I know I am a better human for not buying into all that hate and intolerance.

    Also from the same wiki article you cited from:

    "In the 21st century, pragmatic atheism has been seen in a more positive light. The journalist Jonathan Rauch believes that "apatheism is to be celebrated as nothing less than a major civilizational advance. Religion, as countless acts of violence in the name of God have underscored, remains the most divisive and volatile of social forces... Apatheism, therefore, should not be assumed to represent a lazy recumbency... Just the opposite: it is the product of a determined cultural effort to discipline the religious mindset, and often of an equally determined personal effort to master the spiritual passions. It is not a lapse. It is an achievement."

  12. Civil Society Needs to Challenge the Mullahs

    If anyone is trying to destroy Islam in the Maldives, in my view, it is people like Ilyas who are claiming divine authority for their desire to expand their share of the political pie.

    In fact, people like Ilyas want to convert Maldives into a Morality Police State, where the police go peeping into people’s bedrooms, living rooms, refrigerators and internet chat logs. They conveniently overlook the fact that there is no record that in the Medina of the Holy Prophet (SAW), people’s privacy was invaded to enforce morality. In fact, Islam greatly respects privacy and does not seek to expose forcefully the spiritual and moral conduct of Muslims.

    Islam clearly stresses learning. Yet the the conduct of people like Ilyas rejects this. The idea that heaven on earth can be attained by literally following the legal prescriptions of 10th century jurists rejects the notion that knowledge is cumulative. It defeats the purpose of intellectual inquiry and that of making empirical observation.

    Islamic law, in the form that Islamists demand it, does not come directly from the Prophetic era. It comes from the knowledge, theories and jurisprudence that were formalized by and large in Medina, Damascus and Baghdad in the first three centuries of Islam. And when Islamists refer to Islamic sharia, they almost invariably refer to fiqh, which is not the same thing.

    Sharia is the divine command; but its application has always been mediated through fiqh, or human understanding of the divine sources. In this sense, Islamic law (ie fiqh) was for several centuries a diverse and dynamic corpus, especially in relation to muamalat, if not so much in ibadat. Even today, whether one faced a Hanafi judge or a Maliki judge might make the difference between life and death for an alleged apostate.

    Islamists also destroy the core messages of Islam in other ways too. One example is their rejection of freedom of religion. The statement from God that there is no compulsion in religion is ignored while they stress the command to cut the hand of the thief. The Holy Prophet (SAW) taught the centrality of intention in Muslim conduct. It is lost on the likes of Iyas that, where intention matters, there would be no moral worth in the professed faith of those who did not choose it freely.

    Even the demands for incorporating hadd penalties into modern penal codes mask considerable hypocrisy on the part of the Islamists. I say this because the most ardent campaigners for the hadd penalties will also insist that the evidentiary requirements are so high, that these penalties can almost never be applied. A clear example of this is how the draft penal code seeks to retain flogging while also reducing it to a symbolic gesture.

    I think it would be far better to give some serious thought to the meanings of these verses in the Holy Quran, and go beyond seeking literalist meanings. As hermeneuts would say, make an attempt to read before and in front of the text; and see if such a contextualization provides a fuller understanding of the verses of the Holy Quran.

    Such an exercise might be intellectually more coherent than developing fictions to prevent the implementation of hadd. One example is the Maliki School’s claim that the maximum gestation period of a baby in the womb is 5 years which would exculpate from zina a widow or divorcee who became pregnant. This indeed was the ground upon which a Nigerian sharia court acquitted Amina Lawal from a stoning sentence a few years ago.

    Likewise, while demanding amputation for theft, the Islamists on the one hand argue that amputation of thieves hands is necessary to deter theft, while also arguing, on the other hand, that it is in actual fact very hard to get a conviction for sariqa.

    Even more important is the fact that Islamists ignore that in nearly very verse on a hadd penalty, the Holy Quran speaks of repentance and/or reformation. But this is somehow ignored by the Islamists, as they also ignore the emphasis in the Holy Quran on mercy, compassion and justice.

    A lack of hermeneutic awareness by those who stress on literal readings also lead them to miss the linkages between pre-Islamic forms of punishments and subsequent practices. In cases of homicide, the right of retribution predates Islam, and the Holy Quran clearly states that. While retribution was part of the Mosaic Law, the Holy Quran confirms it and adds to it the importance of forgiveness.

    It is likely that Islamists like Ilyas would respond to these arguments by invoking everything from the crusades to the imperial capitulations of the 19th century, or even more recent symbols of Huntington’s clash of civilization thesis. But if it is a question of regaining the civilizational glory of Islam, invocation of 10th century jurisprudence can hardly be the answer.

    Finally, it is a serious matter for the Maldives that it is fast approaching the bottom of the league table even in the Islamic world. Only a mere handful of countries provide for the 6 hadd penalties; that is, out of a total of 57 in the OIC and 198 in the UN. And where these penalties have been applied, save for Saudi Arabia, they date from the mid 1970s. In all these countries, there have been serious challenges to their implementation, and moves to restrict some or all of them. If Islamists in Egypt want the full suit of hadd, and even if they succeeded in that project, they still have a well developed judiciary, and a great seat of learning at Azhar.

    Things would be unimaginably worse in the Maldives, where the judiciary is notorious for their incompetence, corruption and politicisation. Even a debate on any of these matters is deemed illegal by no less than the Chief Justice! Needless to say, the school curriculum and the Friday khutba are fully controlled by the Islamists. Moreover, the Islamic Ministry (supported by cyber police) bans importation or consultation of any books that might contribute to such a debate. Clearly, the works of Fazlur Rahman, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayed, Mohamed Arkoun, Khaled Abou Fadl, Fatima Mernissi, Abdullahi An-Naim, Said Ashmawy or a Tariq Ramadan or even our own Abdullah Saeed -- all of whom argue from within the Muslim tradition -- would be kept well away from any inquisitive Maldivian. If these voices could be heard in the Maldives, that is, if there was academic freedom, it is likely that the claims to divine authority or to a monopoly on understanding sharia, by people like Ilyas, would not carry even a shred of credibility. But right now, it is like the people are being blindfolded and gagged, stood against a wall and bombarded by the mullahs.

  13. If this ever happens I hope Parliament’s Penal Code Committee are really prepared these are very dangerous people and threat to our community. In Sha Allah All these fanatics will taste bitterness of their lies.

  14. I find the cycnicism about religion in the comments above to be enlightening, and it is essential to exercise such critical thinking for many good reasons. One reason is in order to avoid being used, manipulated, exploited.

    I just wonder if the cynicism may be part of a deeper cynicism, so deep it because it is the consequence and the result of social pain and alienation. Is their a deep emotional, social cynicism in the Maldives, PERHAPS caused by political betrayal, or fear, or just a shortage of genuine empathy or caring?

    I wonder if the cynicism could be so deep, that it MAY make it hard for some to lead an authentic life? (I am using authentic in the Heideggerian sense - authenticity in this case being "sorge" or true caring - a life lived which is authentic has an intensity about it, a richness of meaning and cause, or love, which makes the experience of life FULLER, (happier, more fulfilling.)

    I wonder if this cynicism is SO DEEP it makes it easy for people to use, manipulate each other, to devalue life, to lie, cheat, steal, to be amoral, to live for ones own immediate sensual gratification at any cost. OR you can resist this by being militantly spiritually stoic to the point of being insensitive.

    The best description of this sense of authenticity was MLK's saying that, "You have not truly started living until you have begun living for something or someone worth dying for..."

  15. Dr Shaheed and other Muslim lawyers and academics could write a series of articles in the Minivan News Comments section. He has touched on many of the Islamist's arguments but we all know books countering those arguments aren't available here and even if they were Maldivians have a hard time finishing a 300 page book if it isn't a Binmaa novel or some Islamist apologia. So a series of comments, each exploring one of these issues at a time, is crucial. Nasheed said that Islamists have an answer to everything. It's time that progressive and liberal Muslims do too.

  16. Well said @Ahmed Shaheed!

    Not even after Holy Prophet (SAW), peeping and prying into people's personal life, eves dropping and bringing people to justice was there in the Islamic World!

    The Holiest of mankind, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), was chosen to deliver ISLAM to people. And the Holy Prophet (SAW) has done it, completed it, and sealed it in His last sermon with ALLAH (SWA) requested to witness it!

    There is no need for anyone to read in between the lines of Islam and advocate their mixed and wicked versions!

    Enough has been done!

  17. @Homosexual: Good point. Forgive all my above spelling mistakes.

    Perhaps the cynicism I have described is the consequence of the repression of freedom of religion. - You see, I have this theory, that it is ultimately FEAR which prevents people from being capable of leading an authentic life - many Maldivians are "falling" to use my Heideggerian analysis, due to the fear which prevents people from being true to themselves and others. FALLING occurs when people fail to embrace their own sense of 'throwness," it is a living for crap, fake superficial things due to an inability to live for meaningful things, and the inability to live lives full of intense meaning and true caring is caused by REPRESSION and FEAR.

  18. The Maldivian’s adrenaline race out when they hear things that is against their faith like if their lung is removed and oxygen has been deprived. It is typical for primitive people, and it is played by the survival mechanism. Maldivians have deeply rooted fear that without Islam they will not survive. It is not easy even for an educated person to settle down from such psychological blow, you can’t expect to test new ideas from a society who has been long settled in their comfort zone. A very few can free themselves from such fear. It is interesting to see few Maldivian who seems to have surpassed their primitive fear and have courage to erase phobias from their psyche. It is a new concept for Maldivians to have critical thinking in relation to their faith. Their faith is unquestionable and it is not an individual issue because it is the question of their survival. Mullahs have upper hand in such society and therefore it is dangerous to give them a free hand to radicalize people. We already see the effect, 90% of Maldivian women are now caged in cloths and more people get religious ecstasy. Now Maldives is heading to a religious society from a moderate form to an extreme form. This is not promising because Maldives is heading to darkness than to the light.

  19. Ilyas used to be a democratic moderate islamic scholar when Anni was first made president. I remember the first historic khuthba he gave in Islamic Center without the usual written speech. That was the golden days of Anni's rule. The feeling was obviously of joy, freedom from repression imposed on scholars by Maumoon.

    Somehow MDP wants us to believe this same sheikh is evil now. they just cannot cannot let anybody who is influential to thrive. All power has to be contained with them, the politicians. Everybody else has to be subservient to them. Classic hypocritical politics. But who's going to believe this hogwash. Probably the 1 percent who are either kuffar, munaafig or fujjar.
    Have known Ilyas and Idrees (his brother) all my life and anybody who said they are extremist are just dumb liars. Dumb because they just parrot the propaganda lines.


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