President receives thousand-letter appeal for ban on alcohol sale

Over a thousand letters requesting a ban on the sale of alcohol in inhabited islands were submitted to the president’s office today by a coalition of NGOs campaigning against revised regulations to grant liquor licenses to tourist hotels.

Speaking to press outside the president’s office, Mauroof Zakir, spokesperson for the coalition, said the NGOs had decided to send a letter to the president and create a petition.

“These are only the letters we got in a short period of time,” he said. “It’s not just from the civil society associations, but from the public who are not involved in the associations.”

He added the members of the public who sent the letters wanted to show that they did not want alcohol sold in inhabited islands.

“The letter mainly notes the dangers of selling alcohol in inhabited islands and [is intended] to show that the public does not support this,” he said.

He said the NGOs did not believe the government has listened to their concerns.

Revised regulations

Queuing up
Queuing up

Last month, the ministry of trade and economic development revised regulations on the use and import of alcohol to authorise its sale in tourist hotels with 100-beds in inhabited islands.

But the regulations were withdrawn shortly afterwards, following a public outcry and opposition from the Islamic ministry.

The regulations were sent to a parliamentary committee for advice and consultation, which has since approved it.

Meanwhile, a bill proposed by Independent MP Ibrahim Muttalib to ban the sale of alcohol in inhabited islands was rejected by parliament, with MPs arguing it was unconstitutional as it would indirectly authorise its sale.

Article 10(b) of the constitution states no law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be made or enacted.

The economic development ministry has argued that the regulations were revised to revoke over 800 liquor permits to expatriates, which has created a black market for alcohol in the capital Male’.

The permits will be revoked in favour of allowing the sale of alcohol to foreigners under strict supervision, they said.

Under the regulations, hotels with over 100 beds would be allowed to have a bar that is not visible from outside and would only serve foreigners.

Furthermore, it will be illegal to keep alcohol in mini-bars at the hotels on inhabited islands or sell it anywhere apart from the hotel’s main bar.

Maldivians cannot be employed at the bar and all employees of the bar must be registered with the economic development ministry after a police check.

An inventory of the alcohol in storage and daily sales must be maintained and made available to police on their request, while CCTV cameras must be mounted in the storage room at the hotel.

The people’s representatives

Mauroof Zakir
Mauroof Zakir

Speaking to Minivan News today, Mohamed Zuhair, president’s office press secretary, said MPs on the parliamentary committee would have taken the religious implications of the regulations into consideration and the NGOs should respect the will of the people.

“We always respond to letters that are sent to the president’s office,” he said. “But, while we respect the NGOs, they too have to respect the decision of the people, and that is the decision of the People’s Majlis,” he said.

Zakir said parliament rejected a bill on outlawing the sale of alcohol in inhabited islands by “making excuses and misleading the people”.

“But, we learned that the regulations were withdrawn on the order of President Nasheed when it was first publicised,” he said. “We believe President Nasheed will do this on the request of citizens to fulfill his campaign pledge to close all doors to drugs and that he will he will close this door as well.”

Sheikh Ali Zahir, a member of the fiqh academy, said the letters were “very respectfully” drafted and “begs” the president to not enforce the regulations.

“We hope that we will get a good reaction and that he will give a response,” he said. “We hope very much that he will fully respond to our appeal to protect the beloved Muslim communities of the Maldives.”

The coalition now includes over 80 NGOs and associations, he said.

Zahir said the coalition believes the “majority” of Maldivians would support the appeal as Maldivians are 100 per cent Muslim.


12 thoughts on “President receives thousand-letter appeal for ban on alcohol sale”

  1. The conservative Islamic population has been growing in both strength and momentum. After the Tsunami they coordinated an effort where they sent delegations to all the inhabited islands to tell them that they were being punished by God for their transgressions. These people are hurting our country. When I traveled around the country this year, I found out that most of the Islands I went to have stopped playing bodhu-beru! Something that is so inherent to our culture and heritage is being lost by Pakistani and Saudi based Islam.

    The previous administration isolated islands because they wanted to keep our people separate from foreigners - lest they learn about democracy, transparency, and human rights. Now the Islamists want to do the same thing.

    Look, the fact is that alcohol is part of the foundation for international tourism. The islanders barely have enough local economy to sustain themselves, and if we cannot expand the tourism industry to support them as well, then our people are going to become more destitute and more desperate. Give people the right to make money. Give people the right to join our national economy. Give people the opportunity to do better for themselves and better provide for their families.

    If we don't stand up. No one else will. Its time we stopped being scared of conservative Islamists.

  2. Are you a muslim? Than you have no other option in beleiving the word of Allah and his messenger. Your creator orders you that it is of no good to you. Allah the alla wise and all knowing says
    "O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and arrows (for seeking help on decision) one an abomination of order that you may be successful.
    Shaytan seeks only to cast amongst you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from his worship, will you then not refrain?”

    and Allah also says.
    “Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al‑Fawaahish." [al-‘Araaf 7:33]

    So how can you say that we can't sustain our economy without it. how can you be more brighter, more smarter than your own creator.

    Dear brother think twice before you utter what comes in to your mind. Allah the almighty ask us to think. when you look in to the world statistics specially the statistics from the so called "Developed countries" you will be surprise to see that crimes related to alcohol is massive and is on the grow, its been decades that these countris have been trying to find solution for this big social issue but with no success. Only Islam the only true religion shows us the path. that is declaring it haram. and once its haram its sales is also haram as the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) says.

    “When Allaah forbids a thing, He (also) forbids its price.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3488; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Ghaayat al-Maraam, 318.

    When maldives was inhabited by its dwellers it was not a muslim country. but we were idolators. But with the blessing of Allah we all embraced islam.
    So if we are to hold strick to wour old culture we need to go back to budhism as you have said about boduberu. but dear beloved brother once the truth is on your hand do not follow the road of shaitan indeed he is your enemy.
    Islam is not a religion for Pakistani's, afghans, saudhi's or palastine's. it is a religion a total way of life for all the human mankind. its a blessing from our creator, our sustainer.
    So my beloved dear brother in islam. Once something is established in pure evidence from quran and sunnah do not move your face away from it. It is a duty of every muslim to forbid wrong and order what is right. that makes our ummah above all others as Allah almighty says
    "You are the best nation brought forth for mankind. You order what is right, you forbid what is wrong and you believe in Allah..." Aal 'Imraan: 110

    Also the prophet (Peace and blessing be upon his said.
    "Whoever among you sees wrongdoing (munkar), let him correct it with his hand. If he is unable to do that, then let him correct it with his tongue. If he is unable to do that, then let him correct it with his heart and there is not a single grain of faith beyond that."

    He also says.
    "Every one of you is a guardian and every one of you will be asked about those under his/her custody..."
    Also he says.

    Finally dear brother in islam remember the following word from Allah the creator and the sustainer of you and me and everything on the seas, lands and in heavens.
    "Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins." (49:1)

    `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "This means: do not say (anything of which you have no knowledge).'' Al-`Awfi said: "Do not accuse anyone of that of which you have no knowledge.'' Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah said: "It means bearing false witness.'' Qatadah said: "Do not say, `I have seen', when you did not see anything, or `I have heard', when you did not hear anything, or `I know', when you do not know, for Allah will ask you about all of that.'' In conclusion, what they said means that Allah forbids speaking without knowledge and only on the basis of suspicion, which is mere imagination and illusions.

  3. I do not have anything intelligent to say about this. But as a Maldivian citizen, I have to say that I fear for my country. I am a firm believer in all kinds of freedoms. Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom to make money and so on. If there are groups in the Maldives that wish to falter away from Moderate Islam that has been practiced in the country for centuries, then be it. I do not have a problem with these people having their own mosques, Imams and Madrasas. But it is an issue when they impinge on others freedoms. The current administration needs to seriously address this issue, and also someone needs to critically examine why there is a sudden rise of fundamentalism in the country all of a sudden anyways. I believe that fundamentalism is a mere consequence of other more pressing social issues.

  4. Dear Salim Waheed and Author.
    Standing up for citizens rights cannot be called extermisim or fundametalism! Pls don't confuse these! We are living in small island communities..and therefore much of these 80 NGO's (both regilious and social) believes that sales or drinking of alcohol in islands where Maldivians (locals) live with family would harm the Maldivian way of life as its been done in UK or any other European state! Look at the way in which UK or European town planners and councils restricts Pubs and Clubs in close proxmity of residential areas. So I argue that it must be respected even in Maldives. We have resorts close by Male' and other islands for those who wann drink alcohol whats the matter with not allowing it? Why are you guys always having such negativity with "islamic principles"??

  5. Dear Sister if you fear for your country. fear the day when the father and son will be of no use to each other.
    and prepare your nation for that fearful day. we cannot survive unless we beleive and obey.

    The true freedom is being free from the creations and being a slave of the creator.

    Moderate islam doesn't mean that you could accept what you want and neglect what you dislike. You will have to beleive what is orderd by allah almighty fully from your mind and soul. in words and in action.

    May allah almighty guide us to what is right and what is wrong he is all knowing and all merciful.

    I do beleive there is religious extremism in maldives as we have the other extreme. but if you call somebody who follows the sunnah of prophet, prays 5 times a day and all ther religous duties and order what is right and forbid what is wrong, an extremist, than you are completely wrong. they are the moderates. and they will be the successors of this life and the herafter.

  6. Dear Salim n Khadeeja...although u hate the increasing number of wat so called fundamentalist muslims or Wahabis, thr is nothing u cud do abt it..INSHA ALLAH, n do u think dat we gonna stop this, i wud say a big SORRY n even the government CANNOT stop this INSHA ALLAH. n i guess u guys realy r afraid abt these fundamnetalist RIGHT..HEHEHEHEHEH LOL.
    n INSHA ALLAH we will continue to spread this n wen we luk at the statistics the number is growing rapidly MASHA ALLAH...N FINALLY, Khadeeja if u r an firm believer pls read n study the Quran, Hadiths thoroughly b4 trying to prove that ur belief n faith.

  7. @ Khadeeja, what do u meant by modern Islam, is dat meant daytime u pray n nite time u go 4 discos, music shows, men n women be mixed hav fun of each other, hav boyfriend n girlfriend, make Riba transactions, tight ass jeans n tops wit a hair covering, etc, i guess u hav some prob in ur belief n faith. In no circumstances anything which is HARAAM in the religion cant be made HALAAL...NO WAY DUDE...TO BE A FIRM BELIEVER PLS GO STUDY THE QURAN N SUNNAH (IE. HADITHS OF PROPHET (saw)) N U MAY COME ACROSS TO DISTINGUISH WHAT REAL ISLAM IS N WHAT IS BEING PRACTICED IN MALDIVES.

  8. why are u wahhabees are so worried about selling alcohol? Cos u like it so much u cant go without drinking it if its readily available?

    heck with u wahhabee idiots.

    i'm a muslim too but i fully support selling alcohol & earn a living from it. THAT DOESN'T MEAN I SHOULD CONSUME IT. u stupid.

  9. damn...i just wrote this loooong comment and got the email address wrong and lost it.

    cant bother writing it again but what i was saying in nutshell would be..."youth of the (not everyone but MANY) no longer hold to your strict rules or follow your damn books. Religion is a dying concept drinking...cant stop those who want to...blah....blah blah...let live free...not a muslim, but not against muslims, respect all beliefs even if it contradicts with yours..."

    I think we need a hippie revolution??? it worked for the west why not us eh?

  10. Sell alcohol to foreigners, wahabees & the people in those NGOs too.

    so we get rich quick. happy. period.

  11. Dear Salim Waheed,Ayya,Karanfoo,
    Lets just check the meaning of the word fundamental.In oxford dictionary fundamental means : 1 - forming the basis of a subject,serving a starting point.2- very important.So one who follows these points are called fundamentalists in any field.For example a lawyer will follow the fundamentals of a law,a doctor will follow the fundamentals of medicine.SO TO BE A GOOD FOLLOWER OF ISLAM YOU NEED TO FOLLOW THE FUNDAMENTALS OF ISLAM WHICH IS QURAN AND SUNNAH.
    Next democracy,transparency,human rights,women s rights all this was born with Islam.Maybe you guys heard about these things in 19th Century but Islam gave birth to all of these the day ADAM(ASM)laid his foot in Earth.
    To AYYA my comment is that yes, we are indeed afraid that alcohol and drugs are becoming a menace in the society.How many gang fights,rapes,murders and robbery had occurd lately in our society.The crimes had increased enormously.Go to police and check how many of these incidents involve narcotics.I have no objection you not following a book but at least be sensible enough to help the Maldivian community to decrease the crime rate.Who knows that one day you will be enlightened and start following a book.
    To Karanfoo religions are dying true, but the world once again have given rebirth to Islam.Check the Minivannews for instant.What do you see in the articles,comments and in letters.This is clear sign that Orthodox Islam is spreading fast in the Maldives.
    May ALLAS(SWA) guide us all and save us all from the hell fire.
    Thank you.


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