Police arrest ‘celebrant’ as President expresses disgust over false wedding ceremony

The Maldives Police Service have arrested two men involved in the infamous ‘wedding’ ceremony at Vilu Reef Resort and Spa, in which the ‘celebrant’ and up to 15 complicit members of staff degrade and humiliate a Swiss couple in Dhivehi.

One of the men arrested was identified as Hussein Didi, a food and beverage assistant at the resort who acted as celebrant and who was filmed unleashing a torrent of hateful abuse at the oblivious couple.

Under Maldivian law non-Muslims are not permitted to marry in the Maldives, but many resorts offer ‘renewal of vows’ ceremonies.

“The court decided yesterday that [the men] should be kept in police custody during the investigation,” said Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam.

The men have not yet been formally charged, “but this is a very serious issue related to our economy,” Shiyam said. “Once we complete the investigation the Prosecutor General’s Office will decide the charges.”

President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has meanwhile announced that the government will introduce strict guidelines for the conduct of tourist wedding ceremonies.

Speaking during his weekly radio address, President Nasheed said he was “disgusted” by the incident and described the behaviour of those involved as “absolutely disgraceful”.

He called on staff working in tourist resorts – indirectly responsible for 80 percent of the country’s economy – to be “vigilantly professional”, as such behaviour could cause “enormous damage to the country´s tourism industry.”

The government would leave “no stone unturned to ensure that an incident like this never happens again,” Nasheed said.

Meanwhile Maldives Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed issued a state apology to the couple, who have not been identified but are believed to be from Switzerland.

“The Maldives is a world-class tourist destination famed for its warm welcome and excellent customer service. Episodes such as that captured on video have no place in our tourism industry or in our society more broadly; and are alien to our cultural and religious values,” Dr Shaheed said.

The Maldives is grateful that the couple in question chose to renew their vows in one of our resorts and we cannot escape the fact that, on this occasion, because of the disrespectful and unacceptable actions of a few individuals, we have let them down.”

The Maldives Diplomatic Service had been instructed to contact the couple “and issue a face-to-face apology,” Dr Shaheed said.

“We will also be compensating them for any distress caused by this unfortunate incident. The Foreign Ministry will also be writing to our counterparts in Switzerland to offer our intense regret and to indicate the steps that the Government is taking to deal with the situation.”

Furthermore the government was seeking to hold talks with the Maldives tourism industry “in order to have assurances that this was an isolated incident,” the Foreign Minister added.

“If we do not receive such reassurance, we reserve the right to take all remedial steps necessary, legislative or otherwise, to ensure that episodes such that which occurred in Vilu Reef Resort never happen again, and do not tarnish the positive image of the country built up over so many years.”


100 thoughts on “Police arrest ‘celebrant’ as President expresses disgust over false wedding ceremony”

  1. All Mullah's are to blame.. They preach hatred towards other faiths and non believers. I guess the Government should try to educate the citizens to respect humans as humans and not based on and beliefs they might have

    Abolish the Islamic Ministry .. NOW

  2. Maldivians are themselves the victims of this aggressive, religious intolerance. Have you readers not read between the lines here in a few of these comments? Some Maldivians feel hurt for this couple because they subconsciously see themselves in this couple. Yet the Maldivians can't say, we are oppressed by religion because first of all, they would go to jail, be violently alienated if they did, because they would be accused of being Kafirun or non-believers. So, they stick up for these ppl with such passion to express their frustration at their own oppression!
    Furthermore, some Maldivians would not even dare admit to themselves that they are religiously opppressed.

  3. I suppose it is the cowardly way that this was done that is the most appaling thing. If you want to insult someone then at least let them know what you are doing.

    Religion is supposed to make humans better - if it is turning them into cowardly hate filled creatures then something is obviously going wrong. There is obviously something very rotten in the Maldives society.

    Those people who seem eager to remove the tourist may well get thier wish.

  4. one of my comments directed at Ekaloa isnt published, can you please publish that and disregard this comment.

  5. I think that cause of the methods president and minivan is using to achieve what they want, we might be heading to a civil war. The heat is already unavoidable.

  6. I feel anger towards the prejudice for Maldivians, not for a Swiss couple when they will be compensated for it. When are oppressed Maldivians going to be compensated for all of their heart and time and effort struggling to liberate Maldivians from religious abuse. When will Hilath, and Mohammed Nazim, and all of the bloggers Yaamyn, Simon Shareef, Shadow Runner, Moyameeha and others who have been abused, rediculed, threatened with hell and hurt OPENLY! In Hilath's case he had been arrested! Will he be compensated!

  7. After watching this on Thai TV we have just cancelled our flights to Maldives where we planned to take our honeymoon in December this year and has been struck of our list of any holiday in the future.

    I am disgusted and to read the comments from the local population that most native people actually agree.

  8. The blame on Islam is really high here.

    The resort workers didn't do this because they were Muslim. This is due to unawareness, and lack of action taken by the resort managers.

    Religion probably has less to do with this than the Afghan war

    "And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit." Quran 29:46

  9. People always say that Maldivians are hospitable, well, they are not at all. They are only hospitable to those who will give them a tip. Others? They don't care at all. This, what has happened at Vilu Reef, happens every day in every resort. Maldivians don't seem to understand that they are fully depending on foreigners. Their country is bankrupt and full of corruption. They simply need the foreigners, in terms of knowledge and in terms of investment. Another incident happened in another resort, where drunk Maldivian waiters robbed guests in their guest rooms. This is very bad, even inside your room you're not safe anymore.........I will change my holiday plans to somewhere else.....

  10. Too little, too late. Why is a lowly beverages staff-member gets picked on? The owner of the resort is a member of parliament. There are allegations that he was present at the ceremony and did nothing about it. This simply does not wash. It is a cheap cover-up.

  11. in africa, they say u can take the b...man out from the bush, but u cannot take the bush out from the b...man. that is how some of us maldivians are. cheap,uncouth,uncivilised and disgraceful.

  12. I have come to this website from an Australian newspaper report so this contemptible act is all over the world. What I do find heartening is seeing the comments from some Muslims who are speaking up about the Mullahs and the bad things in your religion. This can only lead to good. All over the world, Christians, and other religions, such as Buddhists etc, are reaching out their hands to ordinary Muslims in peace. But they are being repelled by the Mullahs and the radicals who are living in the past.

  13. We need a cultural revolution, and if are to survive as a nation in the world community we need it quickly. Down with Golhabo and the Buruga wearing and beaded lunatics.

  14. i don't give a damn..it happens everywhere.. we will survive if u come or not . and thanks to the minivan news for eveything... you guys are doing a great job.....sply Mr Robinson for his love to the Maldivian people.

  15. The people who are ultimately responsible are the management of Vilu-Reef. And Sun travel bastards who tried to hide this. Shiyam and Shakir should be sued and fined $1000000.

    And the 'celebrant' should be sentenced after that.

  16. What these people did was horribly wrong, moreover what Minivannews did was worse than that. Boycott Minivannews!!

  17. WOW..some of us maldivians are concerned that this might hurt our tourism industry.

    It's because of people like you with self centered attitude that these things never get better. F*** our public image, while our 'hospitality industry' is capable of the most utterly degrading things as this!!!

    I don't want tourists who are our guests, and also the lifeline of our country's economy be plagued with such incompetent and unethical people. I'm ashamed as a Maldivian, but we can't hide this..unfortunately we have to accept it and address these issues. And bring those who are responsible to face the consequences!!

  18. @maldivesresortworkers:

    You have some nerve to blame Minivannews for bringing out the true face of what goes on in this country? What our attitudes are towards foreigners? To other cultures? To other religions? The continuous hate-breeding that goes in this country in the name of religion.

    If you want a public image, build it.. with values and morals.. and not by biting the hand that feeds you!

  19. Like xylatin, I have read this news in Australia, and his sentiments are wise.
    Along with the disgust with which this video is being viewed is also the sadness that comes from reading of decent Maldivians who are ashamed of this betrayal, and who reject the backwardness of the Mullahs who keep this country in its thrird-world state.

  20. Thanks to Minivannews and Anni's sister for creating a plateform on this website and youtube to spread islamophobia

  21. @maldivesresortworkers

    Your defiance as not to take responsibility of the reprehensible act, laying the blame on other is not helping. There is no difference in deplorable nature of the word balhu either translated swine or bitch, kaafaru i think anyone would understand it has a universal word meaning infidel in the worse context and non Muslim in the milder. Your semi defensive stance on this forum and your blog which where you claim to represent all resort workers which you dont have caused more damage to the Maldives tourism industry and Maldivian people and how they are perceived elsewhere.

    You are one deplorable person, you don’t represent us nor the resort workers as a whole.

  22. @Anders:

    "Probably they will just be punished for the stupidity of filming the event."

    How right you were! This is indeed one of the things the Police are accusing them of, i.e. filming and publicising the event! If they didn't release the video on YouTube AND even if the Police knew about the incident, NOTHING would have been done.

    The stupid laws of this country are more idiotic than the idiotic acts of any group or individual. Everyone from the President down seems to be 'disgusted'. What's even more disgusting are the charges brought upon these individuals. "Defamation of Islam by publicising the video on YouTube"! Bloody hell!!!!

  23. Minivan has a good opportunity here. Minivan new's act of exposing the story would be justified if the tourism sector is reformed as a result.

    At present, tourism is not benefiting ordinary Maldives people. Workers are treated badly. Resorts are in politics. Resort owners are MPs and controls the parliament and parties. If the industry is exposed well enough for reform to happen, Minivan News would be a hero..

  24. @Ekaloa and @ JJ

    Seriously, both of you should go back to the tiny island holes you came from. And live there like a crab eating your own shit.

    Obviously you are not matured enough to know the real issue here, perhaps do not even have an ounce of integrity yourselves. I don't blame you for your stupidity. Just like the people who thought this act was funny, people like you are the scum of this society.

  25. To those foreigners who think most Maldivians agree with this disgusting incident, please get your facts right. Journalists and the whole world found out about this, cause Maldivians who first saw the video was outraged.

    The video did the rounds on social networking sites with Maldivians expressing their utter disgust before it was printed in Minivannews.
    So to tar all Maldivians with the same brush is a gross injustice.

    Even in the land of free,America young gays are committing suicide cause of the pressure they come under, but we don't scream that all Americans are homophobic.

    Staying away from Maldives amounts to collective punishment, and maybe its better that moderates and like minded people from all over the world work at making sure such awful things never happen again.

    As for the couple in question, seems everyone has overlooked how they would feel.
    They have requested anonymity
    maybe we all should start respecting that.

  26. If you understand Dhivehi, and actually listen to Mr Didi, you will realise he's taking the piss out of the weekly Friday sermon sung in every mosque in every mosque in the Muslim world!

    Those Friday sermons pray for salvation for Muslims and contribute calories to the hell fire waiting the infidels.

    Mr Didi's 'sermon' was his way of ridiculing the stupid Mullah's who are in control of the lives of ordinary Muslims!

  27. If anyone read the local news on 'Haveeru', you'll realise that the charges brought against Mr Didi and another guy are not related to actual defamation of the couple, but rather defamation of Islam!

    That's correct. They are going to throw these guys into jail for mocking the Friday sermons!

    The President and the Foreign Minister are saying one thing to the world, whilst carrying on as usual.

  28. @Ahmed

    Perhaps there isn't a process under the current system of Law that can be used to prosecute these guys but it is understandable that they need to be made an example of.

    So they use another piece of legislation to prosecute them.

  29. next week on youtube, fridy sermons from maldives in which imam demonstrates moral inferiority of jews, christians, and white people in general

  30. Aicha on Sat, 30th Oct 2010 4:01 PM - 88 free, fun loving Aussies + loads of others the same were slain in a cowardly bomb attack in Bali. Bali has not been collectively punished but they did suffer as the Maldives will for this attitude. The West has a habit of forgiving otherwise no one would be speaking to Germany. Radical Islam will kill more people on your islands than the West.

  31. @ concerned people: I had a great chance to see one of the most beautiful places in the world. I lived in the Maldives for more than 3 years. Sad but true, maldivians are really rude people. They (you) see all (or mostly white skinned)foreigners as walking dollars. You do not care about good service or anything...

  32. meaaoowww
    y is nobody reading my article and commenting and giving opinion haaaa!!!
    its no big deal…these chaps r naive & r experimenting with modern technology..for many maldivians its high time they get familiar with internet websites like youtube so forth & they get to know wot people do with these tools and they just did something to get attention & so they got it hehe now they will know the consequesnces fo their behaviour…leave those poor chaps alone and give them back their jobs in vilureef and let send the 1300 us$ to the couple who got mocked in the video for compensation and also give them a free holiday for 2 weeks with up&down tickets and when they come let the chaps apologise and serve them their food & beverage items in the hotel…wots the matter…those chaps deserve a second chance not a public disgrace…knock knock hellloooo this is the 20th century…grow up u all STUPIDS

  33. Mr. Gay-yoom, you are the past........TRASH!. I love Your Island and I will be there again. People like you tarnish the good name of Islam. People like you are the cause for Muslim countries ending as pariah nations - economically and politically drained!

  34. This is our problem : Everything is government's fault.. Some idiots make a disgraceful video and its because government doesn't do this or that.. Lets not fool ourselves.. mocking other people is a culture that we have inbred. Its the fault of the mother & father who didn't teach those idiots to respect other people.. Its the fault of our community who condones this kind of behavior.. This has nothing to do with the governmental, religion or resort management.

  35. Why are some here being so sadistic? "Bring on Global Warming.." , "Maldives off my list.."

    Common.. things like this have happened in other countries too.. I am a Maldivian living in another country and i have had similar incidences..

    This doesn't mean incidences like this happen in other resorts.. and definitely doesn't mean Maldives deserves to perish.

  36. This issue is systemic.

    It's unrealistic to treat this as an isolated incident if tourism operators advertise "renew your wedding vows" to a foreign audience of largely non-Muslims without disclosing clearly and in the text of the advertisement itself the facts:

    1) Under Maldivian law non-Muslims are not permitted to marry in the Maldives; a form of discrimination which is not applied to Muslims seeking to marry in Western countries.

    2) The many resorts offering ‘renewal of vows’ ceremonies will therefore routinely have non-qualified persons acting as celebrant (for instance, a food and beverage assistant) with no consistent standard applied to text or ceremony.

    A couple may not get what they think they paid for. That's an issue.

    Perhaps inviting non-Muslims to "renew vows" in Maldives, given the current legal situation, would make as little sense as inviting Muslim tourists to incur the expense of a trip to Vatican City to renew vows there?

  37. So justice will be seen to be done by arresting the two guys responsible on the video, when almost all resort workers seem to be agreeing that nothing, and I mean nothing happens in a resort without the express permission and intervention of a manager.

    Rather than sweep this issue under the carpet as is usual in our style, can we please use this as something of a benchmark or learning opportunity to put this think straight?

    Ultimately Sun travels Shiyam is keeping pretty damn quiet about this and no doubt continuing to pump his ill earned millions into what he sees as the future winning party. That may change with the wind as political will does, but the fact remains, this guy has a licence to run a resort responsibly and make untold millions and he has blown it. Keep watching him and you will see his responsible behaviour even more.

    When will we learn that we have several so called captains of industry, as resort owners draining huge amounts of money and laughing at the tourists as well as us. Take back Vilu reef and run it as a Government resort, taxing it correctly and making the management accountable to the authorities instead of some resort Baron.

  38. Aishath Jameel In my view the management of the “Vilureef Resort” should get a large blame. They employ a Drug abuser and convicted criminal and fail to supervise such an important event. From the video I can see many staffs working in the resort as spectators who understand the language, which means the management have the knowledge of what’s happening down there.They should have acted before it goes viral.These idiots are creation of 30 years of dictatorship and a clear and present danger to the country and the world in general. I call this government to irradicate the mad men.A true Muslim will never abuse a living creature.TEAM says they know this is happening but they fail to address the issue before it got out of hand.

  39. I was so saddened to hear about the dreadful treatment of the Swiss couiple. I have holidayed in the Maldives 4 times but will not be returning. This is not an isolated incident. My family stayed in Meeru where my 16 year old daughter received a lot of unwanted attention from the waiters, so much so she received vulgar texts from one in particular when we returned home. If this beautiful nation wishes to retain its tourist industry it really needs to address a number of issues urgently, not just stupid and disrespectful staff.

  40. Minivan News...You can never kill Islam even if you kill all Maldivians... By the way Islamic studies is not properly taught in the Maldives which is causing such disrespect towards any human being (believer or non-believer). Here is the evidence, Quran says "And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge." 6:108, and in 33:48 it says "And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites but do not harm them, and rely upon Allah". So a true Muslim will know he is committing a sin if he harm any disbeliever. But in fact this sinful act of few real "infidels" of Maldives, opened doors for Islam-Haters to manipulated and demoralize Islam.

  41. Its nice to see the voices of reasonable human beings on this website. On YouTube there is a lot of hatred not based on factual evidence. You live in one of the planets paradise locations and I for one, would love to spend time in your paradise. You must punish this very damaging behaviour though, whether we like it or not, money makes the world go round and you depend heavily on people with money coming to spend their rest time in the Maldives. If you treat them like animals, for no apparant reason, they wont come and you will be the worse for that. Dont bite the hand that feeds you, I do not believe that the folks that visit the islands feel the same hatred towards the locals as some locals do towards them.

  42. My wife is a travel agent and after seeing that video i have told her to direct her clients away from the maldives. And she has told her colleagues the same. Lets see how much you guys like your own compatriates now all you maldivians! There are plenty of other island holiday spots where the locals don't degrade you to your face in their own languge!

    No wonder i am suspicious when i hear foreigners speaking their own language infront of me. Its just rude guys.

  43. What a sad state of affairs this is. I have been to the Maldives on many occasions and felt that people are very welcoming and warm (I have also stayed with Maldivians), but the way all the prices of the resorts have spiralled has already put me off going as I simply won't be able to afford it.

    But this really has broken my trust. I'm now wondering what people have said about me in Dhivehi whilst smiling at me. I had even considered having our 20 year wedding renewals there, but will certainly not be doing that now.

    I feel sorry for the Swiss couple and the way their trust has been misused. There is no excuse whatsoever for this kind of behaviour. It just shows a very primitive, immature mind. I sincerely hope this doesn't reflect the majority of the Maldivian culture, but in any case, I'm not so sure I will be returning now as I would constantly be wondering if people are insulting me whilst smiling at me.

  44. Why are the majority of commenters be so mean hearted? how can they blame a whole country for the actions of a few? how cruel to say they expect Maldives to sink? Do they not think of the thousands of innocents, babies, women, children, old ppl they will also perish? Does that not mean a thing for these scumbags who are only concerned about a the wording of a wronged couple's fake marriage ceremony?
    Disgusting christians, and athiests

  45. I agree with you, not all Maldivians are responsible for the actions of a few, but you have to admit they didnt do you any big favours either. What did this couple do to deserve this treatment? Nothing that I can see. Are these bad evil infidels just because they had the misfortune of having been born in a poor desperate country like Switzerland? I would suggest that much of your economy depends on non-muslims and this should be a learning experience.

  46. I was told by a friend of mine in the resort that the guy who did this always tried to make fun of Islam . This happens because of lack of real Islamic knowledge amongst these people.

    Minivan news is also a hypocrite news which spreads propagandas and lies against Islam thinking they can harm Islam,

    Millions of book are published each year against Islam all over the world but still the religion Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

    This shows whether how much they want to harm Islam they wont be able to harm Islam even a bit.

    Among people there is one who argues about Allah without knowledge and follows every rebellious satan. (Surat al-Hajj: 3)

    Fain would they extinguish God's light with their mouths, but God will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the unbelievers may detest (it).(Surat taubah :32)

  47. do not go to muslim countries where they are taught from childhood to hate non muslims. the life of the non muslim in places like maldives is not easy. they are persecuted. if the maldivian muslims hate tourists and resort owners and white people and any non muslims so much then let them sit around on their sand patches and watch the sea level rise. Hopefully a tsunami will put them out of their misery but, if not, where do you think they will want to go when the water rises? Bangladesh, pakistan OR a non muslim country. I am guessing the latter.


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