Islamic Ministry denies receiving anti-gambling petition over US Green Card Lottery

The Islamic Ministry has denied knowledge of a petition reportedly submitted to the ministry demanding a stop to the US Green Card Lottery Program in the Maldives.

The program provides 55,000 ‘green card’ immigration visas to people around the world each year as a means of diversifying immigration to the US. The US Embassy recently held an information session on the program in Male’.

Several media outlets and local religious websites have reported that the petition signed by 107 persons requesting a stop to the green card program was submitted to the Islamic Ministry yesterday.

Media reports said the petition stated that the Green Card program had “hidden objectives”, and “added to the chain of activities conducted in the Maldives by non-muslims to promote gambling.”

State Islamic Minister Sheikh Hussein Rasheed Ahmed and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mohamed Didi both said they had no information about a petition being submitted to the Ministry against the US Green Card Lottery Program.

“I do not know whether it was submitted to the Ministry,” said Didi. “I am not saying that it was not submitted to the Ministry,” he added.

“If the petition was submitted directly to the Minister then I might not have received it yet.”