President asks German scholars to help interpret Sharia law for the Maldives

President Nasheed has asked German scholars with expertise in Sharia law to help apply it to certain fields in the Maldives, during his visit to Berlin.

“I have done my homework and I am quite aware of the amount of German discourse in Islamic jurisprudence”, President Nasheed said, according to German news site deutschenachrichten.

Nasheed told the German press that Maldivian law was based on Sharia, but warned them about “jumping to the wrong conclusions.”

“We are a tolerant and free country, and we want to keep it that way,” he said.

Press S for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair said that Germany was a country where a large number of experienced and professional scholars live.

”In the 20th century, the highest standard of Islamic universities was also in Germany,” Zuhair said.

Zuhair said the government had discussed the request for German assistance with the Islamic Ministry, which had expressed its approval.

However spokesperson for the Islamic Ministry Sheikh Ahmadullah said he had no information about the matter and did not want to comment.

Zuhair explained that “many Islamic books also were preserved in Germany” and believed that “German religious scholars would be more experienced than Maldivian scholars.”

”The origins of Sharia code would not be changed,” Zuhair said. ”They will only help in some areas like taxation.”

He said the president had received very positive answers in response to his interest.

State Minister for Islamic Affairs Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said if good advice was given “it should always be heard and acted upon.”

Shaheem said people should realise “that there are Islamic scholars all around the world, and not only in Arabic countries.”

“The are good scholars in many countries,” Shaheem said, “even in those where Islamic people are in a minority.”

”Even a scholar like Sheikh Bukhari (a famous scholar of the Hadiths) was not from an Arabic country,” Shaheem explained.

“If a scholar in another country can give the right information on Sharia law, we have to accept it. But if anyone gives the wrong information, we have scholars here who can tell us the right way to implement Sharia.”


President Nasheed attends opening ceremony of ITB

President Mohamed Nasheed attended the official opening ceremony for the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) 2010 travel fair in Berlin on Tuesday night.

The ITB is the world’s leading travel trade show, with as many as 11,127 exhibitors gathering for this year’s show. Travel destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels and other service providers and suppliers were represented at the fair.

The Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) and other tourism operators from the Maldives participated at the ITB.


President Nasheed meets with German Minister of State

President Mohamed Nasheed met yesterday with German Minister of State Dr Wener Hoyer.

The meeting was held at the Federal Foreign Office on 9 March. The president and the minister discussed the importance of a binding global climate treaty.

President Nasheed said the Maldives is communicating with other countries, including members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) to ensure a common understanding is reached before COP16 climate summit in Mexico later this year.

Dr Hoyer said Germany is also working with other EU members to reach an understanding on climate change.

President Nasheed discussed other areas of possible cooperation between the two nations, mainly the strengthening of the Maldivian legal and judicial sectors. He sought German assistance to improve the institutional capacity of these sectors.


President talks climate with German Minister for Environment

President Mohamed Nasheed met yesterday with German Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Dr Norbert Röttgen, at the Federal Ministry for Environment.

President Nasheed thanked Minister Röttgen and Germany’s constructive role at COP15 last year. He asked the EU for support in implementing the Copenhagen Accord.

President Nasheed also sought German assistance for adaptation and mitigation projects. He also discussed the importance of reaching a legally binding treaty in COP16, the next international climate summit to be held in Mexico later this year.

Dr Röttgen praised the president for his role in the Copenhagen Summit and said Germany would continue to support the Maldives in its efforts to tackle climate change.


President receives red carpet treatment in Germany

President Mohamed Nasheed has received a red carpet welcome in Germany by Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel, including full military honours.

Speaking at a joint press conference yesterday, Merkel said she doubted any global agreement on climate change would be reached in 2010, and blamed China and India for their unwillingness “to enter any binding commitments.” This lack of cooperation from two major powers was, she said, a “structural problem” for any climate treaty.

For his part, Nasheed appealed to the German public to push for a climate change agreement, claiming that “we won’t survive as a country if there is no understanding or agreement.”

Nasheed said he expected a global treaty to emerge following the UN climate forum in Copenhagen, but agreed “it may not happen this year.” He said he hoped Germany “will continue to assist the Maldives in its efforts to strengthen and consolidate democracy.”

redcarpet3This is Nasheed’s first official visit to Germany, a country widely considered to be one of the more environmentally concious in Europe and a leader in the practical and economically-sensible application of renewable energy technology. Germany has also been very vocal on issues relating to climate change and generous with development funding.

Later this week the president is due to speak at the Freie Universitat Berlin, where he is expected to press for the world to “ignore the deniers and continue the fight to save the planet”, in the wake of the Copenhagen Summit and leaked emails alleging scientists at the University of East Anglia in the UK colluded to falsify climate data.

Minivan News understands the president will likely call on the EU to be bolder in its commitments to reducing climate change, and perhaps even encourage it to commit to carbon neutrality and set a new direction for investors and industry.

The climate change cause is suffering something of a ‘crisis of faith’ across many countries in Europe following the economic downturn. A similar trend has been noted in the US, where a Gallup poll recently reported that 41 per cent of the population considered claims about climate change to be exaggerated, “the highest since Gallup’s trend on this measure began in 1997.”

Nasheed is expected to take climate change sceptics to task in his address, and condemn “lazy conspiracy theories”.


President Nasheed meets German Chancellor Merkel

After his arrival in Berlin early yesterday morning, President Mohamed Nasheed met with German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel yesterday at the Federal Chancellery.

President Nasheed was welcomed with military honours.

The meeting was focused on bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them.

President Nasheed thanked the German government and people for their support to the Maldives through the democratic reform process. He said he hoped Germany’s assistance would continue in helping to strengthen and consolidate democracy in the country.

The president also commended Chancellor Merkel for her role in helping reach an agreement at COP15 in Copenhagen last year.

Chancellor Merkel congratulated President Nasheed for the transition of democratic reform in the Maldives.

The president and his delegation were given a guided tour of Berlin, which included a visit to Hohenscönhausen Memorial, a former political prison.


President departs on four-nation European tour

President Mohamed Nasheed has departed this morning on his four-nations European tour.

The president is to visit Germany, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland.

President Nahseed will meet with political and industry leaders, as well as investors and climate experts in all four countries.

The president is scheduled to visit ITB Berlin, an international travel and trade show held yearly in Berlin.

He will also hold a lecture on climate change at the Freie Universität Berlin hosted by the Environmental Policy Research Centre. The Freie Universität is one of the leading research universities in Germany, and ranks among the best in the country.

President Nasheed will then attend a public lecture in Iceland, followed by a speech at the Seminar and Policy Debate organised by the Finnish Institute of International Affaris (FIIA), which produces topical information on international relations with the EU.