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.