The Adhaalath Party has accused the Maldives Association for the Advancement of Science (MAAS) of attempting to lead the students of Fuvamulah schools astray by lecturing them against the tenets of Islam.
In a press release issued by the party’s Fuvamulah branch, Adhaalath claimed that lecturers from MAAS tried to convince the students that human beings originated from monkeys and that “our forefathers were monkeys and we are sons of monkeys.”
‘’They [MAAS] told the students that everything was created from nothing, on its own, without a God,’’ the press release alleged.
The Adhaalath Party claimed MAAS lecturers taught the students about Big Bang Theory and Quantum Theory, and told the students that the earth, universe and everything in it “was created from nothing.”
‘’Students of Fuvamulah understand that it is impossible for something like a pencil to be created by itself. It is regrettable that this scientists’ association did not know as much,’’ the party said.
When the students refused to accept what the lecturers were trying to explain to them, the lecturers spoke in such a way as to make the students feel they were unscientific, said Adhaalath.
Founding member of MAAS, Ahid Rasheed, told Minivan News that the series of science lectures had been solicited by the school, and that students had shown “excitement and curiosity.”
“We were invited to give presentations on science and astronomy, and mostly gave an introduction to science, such as why it’s important, and how can serve as an introduction to the universe,” said Rasheed. “We introduced key concepts in the field such as findings by Einstein, the discovery of gravity, evolution and the Big Bang. But we didn’t promote anything, and we did not mention religion. That wasn’t why we were there.”
Rasheed said the presentations spanned one week and that school staff were in attendance. “If the school and teachers had any objection to what we were teaching, they would have said something. Until today, we have had no negative feedback from people on the island. They’ve actually been inviting us to do more presentations.”
Rasheed supposed the anxiety generated by the lectures was due to basic misconceptions of science, which he said were evident in the classroom.
“We had to do a whole lecture on basics. For example, a majority of the students didn’t believe that humans had gone to the moon,” he said.
In another case, Rasheed reported that younger students were asking basic questions such as why the sky is blue. “Students deserve to know about the basics of where they are, and the world around them,” he said.
The possible contradiction between science and Islam was broached by one student, Rasheed said. “I said what I tell others: that there might be some reservations from Islamic scholars, maybe because of misconceptions about science. But there is no contradiction between Islam and the Big Bang theory as far as I am aware. A majority of Islamic scientists agree with that.”
Pointing out that Islamic scientists were historically famous for their discoveries, Rasheed said “it’s sad because science is not something we can neglect, science means development.”
Adhaalath’s press release noted that the MAAS team was sponsored by the Fuvamulah council. The Fuvamulah councilor is a known member of the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), from which Adhaalath recently split.
‘’We strongly condemn this act of MAAS, which was also against the Religious Unity Act. We assure the people of Fuvamulah that we will not let them get away with this and will work on this issue until either action has been taken against them or until a trial is conducted,’’ the party said.
Violations of the Maldives’ Religious Unity Act are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.