Management at the Jade Bistro cafe on Boduthakurufaanu Magu have apologised to any Maldivians that may have been offended by a “festive” lunch promotion offered over the Christmas period that has since attracted protests and the attention of police in the capital.
The offer was criticised as a Christmas celebration by religious groups like the Adhaalath Party and the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives (IFM), which have both praised local police for yesterday stopping the promotion at the café.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that officers had been sent to the cafe after complaints were received from a member of the public about the incident.
‘’The place was decorated for Christmas with items related to the celebration, police arrested one person from the cafe to clarify more information about the case. They were also released last night,’’ said Shiyam.
In a statement addressed to the “people of Maldives”, the management at Jade bistro apologised to anyone “offended” by the incident, which it said had been a special promotional lunch for expats living and working in the Maldives.
“Our intention was never to upset anyone,” the statement read. “We offered a promotion to those who were away from their homes and families and wanted to enjoy a traditional meal with friends. This promotion was simply about good food and nothing else.”
Jade Bistro added in the statement that the restaurant appealed to a number of different nationalities and “that it regularly offers different themed menu promotions.”
However, the leader of Adhaalath Party, Sheikh Hussein Rasheed, said that celebrating Christmas was unlawful and that it was a responsibility of the police to stop those events.
‘’In a society there will be different types of persons,’’ said Sheikh Hussein. ‘’It really does not matter whether it is allowed in Islam for non-Muslims to celebrate their religious days, because it is prohibited in the constitution of the Maldives.’’ He also added that everyone including foreigners should respect the laws of the country.
IFM President Ibrahim Fauzy added that it was prohibited in Islam to allow non-Muslims celebrate their holidays in places where Muslims live.
‘’It is unconstitutional and prohibited by many laws at the same time,’’ said Fauzy.
A group of protesters also gathered near the café last night to express disapproval for celebrating Christmas.