Salaf sends letter to UN, calls for action against Pillay

Religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has sent a letter to the UN Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, alleging that a call from UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay for a moratorium on flogging was “inhumane and disrespectful.”

In the open letter written in Dhivehi, sent to media today, Salaf claimed that Pillay had challenged the constitution and Islamic Sharia.

Salaf claimed the UN Resident Coordinator was obliged to write an incident report to the concerned person at the UN, “to take action against Pillay and seek a binding agreement that nothing like this will repeated by the UN in the future.”

‘’As the UN is a protected organisation in this muslim nation, it is something you should do to be sincere to the official religion of this nation and to respect the Muslims that serve in the UN,’’ Salaf said in the letter. ‘’If not, Maldivians will be forced to believe that the UN is conducting activities in this country with a hidden agenda to disrupt the peace, disrupt the religion of Islam and to influence civil unrest.’’

Salaf said Pillay’s comments “might change citizens’ perspective of the UN and its services to the Maldives”. The Maldives had a right to inform other Muslim nations of how ‘’dangerous’’ and ‘’scary’’ Pillay is, Salaf said.

‘’Let it be known, be it UN or an international organisation or a powerful country, if anyone acted as Pillay acted and criticised the religion of Islam, we cannot wait without denying it,’’ Salaf’s letter said.

Salaf further accused Pillay of denying the existence of the Maldivian constitution, although a recording of her relevant comment in Thursday’s press conference indicates that this was widely misreported in the Maldivian media. Pillay was responding to the phrasing of a question by Miadhu Editor Gabbe Latheef, and said “I don’t believe you have a constitution, you have a constitution”.

In parliament, Pillay called for a moratorium and debate on flogging as a punishment for fornication, describing it as a form of punishment “that is cruel and demeaning to women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country.”

She also described the 100 percent Muslim provision in the Maldivian constitution as “discriminatory, and does not comply with international standards.”

In its letter, Salaf claimed that if Pillay was allowed to get away with her statements, this would be “torture of Maldivians”, and warned that the NGO “would be watching” the UN.