Religious NGO plans Male’ protest in support of death penalty

Religious NGO “Muslimunge Gulhun” yesterday told local media that it is organising a demonstration calling on the state to implement and enact the death penalty.

The demonstration, to be called ‘Thanfeez’ – translated as “implement – is scheduled to be held at 4:oopm on Friday (October 19) at the Artificial Beach area of Male’.

The demonstration will mainly focus on advocating for the death penalty, which organisers believe will to bring an end to murders occurring in the Maldives, according to a press briefing held at Muslimunge Gulhun head office. The NGO further stated that the demonstrations would also be used to advocate for the penalties of other crimes to be aligned with Islamic Sharia.

Minivan News was unable to locate contact details for the NGO, while Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed and State Minister for Islamic Affairs Mohamed Didi were not responding to calls at the time of press.

However, one event organiser, Ajnadh Ali, is quoted in local media as saying that participants of the demonstration were expected to range from religious scholars to young people with a love for Islam. He further claimed that the demonstration was being planned by people that did not directly represent any specific organisation.

Organiser Sheikh Azmath Jameel stated, “The country has come to the state it is at now because the penalties laid out in Islamic Sharia have not been implemented. I call on every Muslim to join this demonstration.”

Ali Nazeer, another of the event’s organisers, spoke against opening up issues like death penalty to public debate, adding any such discussions should not be entertained in fear of how the international community may react to the implementation of Islamic Sharia.

Although death sentences are issued by courts in the Maldives, traditionally those sentences are commuted to life imprisonment under the power vested in the President.

From January 2001 to December 2010, a total of 14 people were sentenced to death by the courts. None of these sentences have been carried out.

The last person to be executed in the Maldives after receiving a death sentence was in 1953 during the first republican President Mohamed Ameen. Hakim Didi was charged with attempting to assassinate President Ameen using black magic.

However, the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has announced its intention to submit a bill to parliament to facilitate the implementation of the death penalty.


NGO coalition joins forces with Adhaalath Party in protest against new alcohol regulations

The Adhaalath Party has held a joint press conference with a coalition of NGOs against the sale or use of alcohol on inhabited islands.

State Minister for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, speaking on behalf of the Adhaalath Party, said the message for the government was that ”the consumption and sale of alcohol in a place where Muslims live is unacceptable”, and that the protest would continue until the president invalidated the new regulation.

He suggested that everyone taking part in the protest, which will start at the artificial beach following Asru prayers, should dress in white.

”We will not be violent and we will not call for the resignation of anybody,” he said.

Sheik Adam Naseem said the Prophet (PBUH) had advised all Muslims to stay away from alcohol as it was ”the mother of all the sins”, and said the new regulations made afraid that the country’s teenagers would be led down the wrong path.

The Vice President of Islamic NGO Jamiyyath-al-Salaf, Hassan Moosa Fikree, called on “all the people who love Islam” to take part in the protest.

He said the government had given “a deaf ear” to the organisation’s words and had not responded to any of their letters.

”We cannot be stopped until we achieve what we want,” he said. “In Islam [alcohol] is haram.”

He questioned why the government was trying to “find a loophole” to allow the sale of alcohol on inhabited islands. “Everybody is against it; each and every person,” he said.

Fikree distinguished between inhabited islands and resorts.

“There’s definitely a distinction because resort have regulations,” he said. “Civilians can’t visit resorts regularly any time they want, and there are special rules such as areas of resorts that Maldivians can’t visit. There is a big difference between inhabited islands and resort islands because resorts have regulations and these resorts are especially designed and invented for tourism.”

Permanent Secretary for the Islamic Ministry Mohammed Didi said that while there might “technically” be a problem with resorts profiting from the sale of alcohol, the ministry was not saying anything about the resort businesses.

“For the last 30 years the Maldives has sold alcohol in resort islands. The ministry is not saying anything about the resort businesses, only inhabited islands and the new regulations,” he said.