Adhaalath announces seven candidates for parliament

The Adhaalath Party (AP) announced seven candidates today for constituencies contested by the ruling ‘Progressive Coalition,’ bringing the number of the religious conservative party’s parliamentary candidates to 13 in total.

The candidates announced today were Ali Zahir for the Inguraidhoo constituency, Ibrahim Ahmed for the Madduvari constituency, incumbent MP Ibrahim Muttalib for the Fares-Maathoda constituency, Abdulla Ibrahim for the Kendhikolhudhoo constituency, Hassan Rasheed for the Kudahuvadhoo constituency, and Abdulla Haleem for the Isdhoo constituency.

The party also named the Fiqh Academy Vice President Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef for the Hulhuhenveiru constituency. Dr Iyaz last week sparked controversy as he endorsed the practice of female genital mutilation in an online forum.

AP Spokesperson Ali Zahir said at a press briefing today that the party decided to field candidates for the seven seats as no progress had been made in “unofficial” talks with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on the possibility of ceding five constituencies for AP candidates.

While the AP has not given up hope of reaching a compromise with the ruling party, Zahir said the party gave tickets to seven more candidates because the deadline for submitting candidacy papers was two days away.

“When they began primaries yesterday, we felt they no longer intend to go forward with us,” he said, adding however that the PPM had “signalled” an interest in further negotiations.

Zahir noted that the PPM conducted primaries yesterday for all five of the constituency requested by the AP.

While the AP “hopes this number [of candidates] will not become higher [than 13],” Zahir said it was possible that the party’s ticket could be awarded to more candidates in the coming days.

The three parties in the governing ‘Progressive Coalition’ reached an agreement last week to allocate the 85 parliamentary constituencies among the coalition partners, with 49 seats assigned for the PPM, 28 seats for the Jumhooree Party (JP), and eight seats for the Maldives Development Alliance.

Following its exclusion from the coalition’s parliamentary election plans, the AP began discussions separately with the three parties on the possibility of allocating constituencies to its candidates.

However, negotiations with the JP ended unsuccessfully after it refused to cede the Vaikaradhoo and Makunudhoo constituencies as requested by the AP.

Last week, the AP announced that it would be fielding candidates in six constituencies contested by the JP.

In addition to the five candidates announced on Wednesday – Anara Naeem for the Makunudhoo constituency in Haa Dhaal atoll, Aishath Haleela for the Vaikaradhoo constituency, Ahmed Zahir for the Komandoo constituency, Asadhulla Shafie for the Kaashidhoo constituency, and Hisham Ahmed for the Meedhoo constituency in Addu City – the AP later announced that State Minister for Home Affairs Abdulla Mohamed was awarded the party’s ticket for the Nolhivaram constituency.


Figh Academy VP endorses female genital mutilation

Vice President of the Figh Academy Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef has endorsed female genital mutilation in response to a question posed by a reader on

Iyaz said several credible hadiths from the Prophet Mohamed demonstrated female circumcision is obligatory in Islam.

“The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Five things are part of the fitrah [nature] – circumcision, shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.’ The circumcision in this hadith applies to both men and women,” Iyaz said.

Today is international day of zero tolerance to female genital mutilation. Executive Director of the UNFPA Dr Babatunde Osotimehin said female genital mutilation threatens the lives and futures of women and girls and is “an affront to their human dignity, an assault on their health and an impediment to the well-being of their families, communities and countries.”

“Human development cannot be fully achieved as long as women and girls continue to suffer from this human rights violation or live in fear of it,” he added.

In 2011, then Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan expressed concern over a reported increase in female circumcision in the Maldives.

“We are beginning to hear reports of this occurring, and I have heard on radio and television people justifying the practice. It is quite disheartening,” he said at the time.

Obligatory or recommended

Islam calls for female circumcision, but there is dissent between scholars on whether circumcision is obligatory (farl) or highly recommended (mustahabb), Iyaz said.

“A hadith relayed by Aisha [Prophet Mohamed’s wife] says: ‘A bath becomes obligatory if one sleeps with your wife and the circumcised parts touch each other.’ The word circumcision has been applied to both men and women here.  The hadith demonstrates that women must be circumcised as well,” said Iyaz.

He also quoted Saudi Arabia’s Fatwa Comittee which expressed concern over the decline of female circumcision in Muslim countries.

“Circumcision of girls is a religious obligation that is slowly fading from many Muslim communities. It is an obligation or Sunnah that we must not let go of. It is the symbol that differentiates Muslims from non-Muslims.”

The fatwa said female circumcision must be carried out by specialised doctors, and added: “In a woman, the small sliver of muscle and the surrounding skin above the urinary tract is cut during circumcision.”

Iyaz said the Prophet Mohamed has ordered circumcision practitioners not to cut severely during circumcision.

Iyaz was elected as the VP of the Figh Academy in 2012. The organisation is a body established by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to advise the government on Islamic jurisprudence.

In early January, Iyaz condemned MPs for approving the sexual offenses bill which recognises marital rape, and advised MPs who voted for the bill to repent.

Zero tolerance

More than 125 million girls and women have been cut in the 29 countries in the Middle East and Africa where female genital mutilation is practiced, the UNFPA has said in a press release today.

The organisation is committed to work with partners to end harmful practices including violence against women and female genital mutilation, the UNFPA said.

“We strongly believe that when young people, especially young women claim their right to health, including sexual and reproductive health, education and decent work, they become powerful agents for social and economic development.”


President Yameen vetoes sexual offences bill

President Abdulla Yameen has returned the sexual offences bill passed by parliament last month for reconsideration.

According to the President’s Office, in a letter to the speaker of parliament, President Yameen provided details of issues noted by the Attorney General after reviewing the legislation (Dhivehi).

“The bill containing some provisions that are contrary to Islamic Shariah and Islamic principles was among the reasons considered for returning the bill,” the President’s Office stated.

Under article 91 of the constitution, within 15 days of receipt the president could either assent to a bill or “return the bill for reconsideration of the bill or of any amendment proposed by the president.”

The sexual offences bill was passed on December 30 with 67 votes in favour out of the 69 MPs in attendance.

Following the passage of the bill, Vice President of the Fiqh Academy Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef condemned the conditional recognition of marital rape as a crime and called on MPs who voted in favour to repent.

“With the exception of forbidden forms of sexual intercourse, such as during menstrual periods and anal intercourse, it is not permissible under any circumstance for a woman to refrain from it when the husband is in need,” Dr Iyaz had said on a local Islamic question and answers website.

While the bill did not categorically criminalise marital rape, it allowed for four exceptions: while a case for dissolution of the marriage is in a court, while the divorce filed by either husband or wife is pending a court, sexual intercourse to intentionally transmit a sexually transmitted disease, and during a mutually agreed separation (without divorce).

Dr Iyaz however contended that a woman must still show “complete obedience to her husband” even if she had filed for divorce.

Moreover, in cases of a revocable divorce, a man can renew the marriage during the waiting period (i’ddah) by having sexual intercourse. The woman’s consent would not be necessary in such cases, he argued.

He added however that the woman would have the right to go to court if the man’s intention of resuming the marriage was abuse.

Dr Iyaz is currently campaigning for the Hulhuhenveiru parliament seat on behalf of the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.

The contentious bill was drafted and submitted in October 2012 by now-Progressive Party of Maldives MP for Kulhudhufushi South, Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed. Nasheed wrote in the draft legislation that it was not intended to replace Shariah, explaining that it did not preclude application of a Shariah penalty for an offence specified in the bill.

The proposed law covers sexual offences ranging from adultery, homosexuality, incest, bestiality and necrophilia.

2007 study by the Ministry of Gender and Family revealed that 58.2 percent of female respondents agreed that they were obliged to have sex with their husbands, whilst 29.3 percent of women believed it was acceptable for a husband to beat his wife for refusing sex.


Fiqh Academy VP condemns Sexual Offenses Bill for conditional criminalisation of marital rape

Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef, Vice President of the Maldives Fiqh Academy has condemned the recently passed Sexual Offenses Bill for conditional recognition of marital rape as a crime, and advised members of People’s Majlis who voted for the bill to repent.

Answering a question requesting for comments on the bill Dr Iyaz said on “” – a local Islamic Questions and Answers website – that it is a great religious obligation upon the wife to give the husband his “marital rights” when he is in need of it.

“With the exception of forbidden forms of sexual intercourse, such as during menstrual periods and anal intercourse, it is not permissible under any circumstance for a woman to refrain from it when the husband is in need.” Quoting a Hadith (sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad) he said a woman should respond to her husband “even if she was at the kitchen stove”.

Warning of the dangers of denying it, Iyaz quoted another Hadith which states that if a husband spends the night angry with his wife, “angels will curse the woman till daylight”.

However he instructed men to be gentle with women if a health issue is causing her pain, and said in such cases women will not be cursed by angels.

The bill does not generally recognise marital rape, but it makes four exceptions where marital rape is recognised;

1. while a case for dissolution of the marriage is in a court
2. while the divorce filed by either husband or wife is pending a court
3. sexual intercourse to intentionally transmit a sexually transmitted disease
4. during a mutually agreed separation (without divorce)

Among these, the conditions and penalties for the first situation are lenient in contrast to the other three exceptions. Marital rape under normal circumstances will not be recognised as a crime even if the bill is ratified.

Referring to the conditions outlined, Dr Iyaz said that even if a woman has filed for divorce, she must still show “complete obedience to her husband”, including in having sexual intercourse with him.

The same will apply, he said, even after divorce during i’ddah (waiting period) following a revocable divorce. In case of such a divorce the man can resume the marriage by simply having sexual intercourse with her, and the woman’s consent is not necessary in resuming the marriage, he said.

However, Iyaz noted that the woman has a right to raise the issue with a judge if the man’s intention of resuming the marriage seem to be abuse.

Dr Iyaz – who is currently campaigning for People’s Majlis Hulhuhenveiru seat – said that penalties clearly stated in Islamic Shariah, such as flogging and stoning to death, cannot be replaced. “No legislative assembly has the authority to change that”.

Concluding his answer he advised everyone who voted for the bill to repent.

The bill, passed by the People’s Majlis on 30 December 2013, states that it is not a replacement for Shariah and if there is a Shariah penalty for an offense covered by the bill, it shall be applied along with the Shariah penalty.

It was drafted and proposed by Kulhudhufushi Dhekunu MP Mohamed Nasheed in October 2012, and is now awaiting ratification by the president after which it will come into force. It  covers sexual offences ranging from adultery, sexual acts between two people of the same sex, with family member, animals and even corpses.

A 2007 study by Ministry of Gender and Family revealed that in Maldives 58.2% women agree that they are obliged to have sex with their husbands even if they don’t want to and 29.3% women that took part in the study believed it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife for refusing sex.


Police confiscate stashed weapons from house of Fiqh Academy Vice President

Police have confiscated a stash of weapons believed to have used in gang violence under under a staircase in the home of Vice President of the Fiqh Academy, Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef.

According to local media reports, the weapons confiscated included a metal rod, a Kathivalhi (a traditional heavy duty knife used to chop trees), a wig and a face mask.

Speaking to Minivan News, a police media official confirmed that they had found weapons stored at a house in Male’ but would confirm if this belonged to Dr Latheef.

“No arrests or summons have been yet made. But we are currently investigating the case,” said the official.

Speaking to Haveeru, Latheef said the stash was discovered by a tenant who lived in the same residence at around 2:15pm.

“Once we saw those things, we contacted the police. Then the police called us back and requested everyone in the house not to touch them,” Latheef said.

Latheef also told Haveeru that despite the discovery of weapon stash at his own residence, he had not received any physical threats from anybody.

The discovery comes at a time where police have begun taking extra measures in curbing gang violence following four stabbing incidents within 48 hours. Police have said 11 suspects have been taken into custody with regard to the incidents.

In a statement released earlier, police claimed that the 11 individuals, all male suspects between 17 and 27 years of age, were detained on the 9th floor of the Aroodhaage building in Male’ as part of investigations.

The attacks prompted the police to form a special task force consisting of members from the Forensics Directorate, Intelligence and Covert Policing Command, Information and Communication Directorate, Central Operations Command and Technical Police from the Divisional Operations Command of the Maldives Police Service.

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz said members of the task force were now searching for 50 “high-profile” suspects alleged to have had involvement with gang-related activities

“They are a threat to the society. We consider everyone, who had not been punished for a crime they had committed, as a criminal at large,” he told the local media.

The Commissioner of Police previously alleged that politicians were most often responsible for encouraging gang-related activities in the capital island Male’.

The claims echoed the findings of a report into the country’s gang culture published last year by the Asia Foundation that found politicians and businessmen paid gangs to assault rivals, damage property, and in some cases have opponents killed.

Minivan News was unable to contact Dr Latheef for comment at time of press.