Local religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has asked the authorities to enact legislation to make sorcery or black magic illegal in Maldives.
During a religious program broadcasted live on local radio SunFM last night, Salaf President Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed said the Anti-Sorcery Act is required to “protect the people from evils of sorcery”, and prosecute suspected sorcerers.
He requested President Mohamed Nasheed submit an Anti-Sorcery bill to make the practice illegal, while calling on the parliamentarians to pass the bill.
Minivan News could not reach him at the time of press.
According to Salaf’s website, Mohamed urged the authorities to stipulate the death penalty in the law for convicted sorcerers.
Sheikh Mohamed’s remarks came following the brutal stabbing of 76 year-old Ali Hassan, on Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll, which has been blamed on sorcery.
Mohamed was quoted in local newspaper Haveeru as claiming that many Maldivians have become victims of sorcery, and it has “ruined families”.
“Sorcery has become a social plague in the Maldives,” Mohamed contended, “which needs to be cured”.
Sorcery was a grave sin in Islam for which Islamic Sharia stipulates death penalty, he explained.
Saudi Arabia continues to use the death penalty for sorcery, while the last person to be judicially executed in the Maldives, Hakim Didi, was executed by firing squad in 1953 after being found guilty of conspiracy to murder using black magic.
Didi’s daughter, Dhondidi, was also sentenced in 1993 for performing sorcery on behalf of the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s brother-in-law Ilyas Ibrahim, in his bid to win the 1993 presidential election.
Sorcery, known locally as Sihuru or Fanditha, is said to widely practiced on many islands in the Maldives, while related reports have surfaced in the media time to time.
Islanders from Kudahuvadhoo has been quoted in the media alleging that the murder victim was a sorcerer.
The victim had previously been accused of using sorcery on a 37 year-old woman, who was reported missing at 2:00am on December 4, 2011 and whose body was found floating in Kudahuvadhoo lagoon later that morning.
However, Hassan’s family denies the claims that he was a sorcerer, and alleged he had received death threats from another family on the island.
The incident has however sparked “fear of sorcery” among the island’s 3000 inhabitants, and some islanders “do not even come out of the house after dark”, according to the source.
In 2009, parents on the island of Maamendhoo in Laamu atoll accused an islander of practicing sorcery on school girls to induce fainting spells and hysteria, which led to a police investigation.
Meanwhile last year the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives (IFM) conducted a certificate level course on incantations, teaching the participants “spiritual healing” and how to cure diseases using “incantation”.
President of the Islamic Foundation, Ibrahim Fauzee, told Minivan News at the time that the main reason why the organisation decided to conduct the courses on spiritual healing was that many people in the islands had become victims of black magic performed by their enemies.
“Sometimes people have lost their lives [to black magic], and sometimes people perform the black arts to ruin the life or family of others. Many do not know how to cure this,’’ Fauzee claimed.