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Over 100 island councils call for action against MDN over controversial report

Mariyam Malsa
31 October 2019, MVT 14:19
The cover of Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)'s Preliminary Assesment on Radicalisation in the Maldives.
Mariyam Malsa
31 October 2019, MVT 14:19

More than 100 island councils have released statements calling for harsher measures against Maldivian Democratic Network (MDN) for allegedly undermining Islam in its 2015 report 'Preliminary Assesment of Radicalisation in Maldives'.

The councils of capital Male' City, Fuvahmulah City and Addu City, in which the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) holds majority seats, are excluded from the aforementioned list.

However, several MDP majority councils were among the 121 atoll and island councils that issued statements against MDN. There are a total of 200 councils in Maldives.

The statements expressed that a suspension was an insufficient measure for publicising a report which allegedly contradicted the tenets of Islam. Furthermore, the councils called for the individuals that wrote the report to be punished and for the NGO to be banned.

The statement released by the island council of Dhaandhoo, Gaafu Alifu Atoll, described MDN's report as contradicting the Islamic religion and violating the constitution as well as all related regulations. It stated that the residents and Dhaandhoo Council strongly condemned MDN's report as an effort to create discord within the country.

The island council of Kanditheemu, Shaviyani Atoll, denounced MDN's publication of the report as a vile act and called upon the government to ban the NGO under Subject 19 of the Associations Act.

Similar demands for the dissolution of the NGO were made in the statement issued by Hoarafushi, Haa Alifu Atoll.

MDN is currently under suspension regarding the ongoing Police investigation into the report, which criticised the Maldivian education system, claiming that the rhetoric of certain textbooks encouraged extremism.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has guaranteed that allegations against MDN would be "thoroughly investigated" and asserted that appropriate measures would be taken against the NGO.

As part of the ongoing investigation, the police are working to compile an educational research report on 'Preliminary Assesment of Radicalisation in Maldives'. The police assured that it would inform relevant institutions to take appropriate administrative measures against MDN after their report is completed.

Meanwhile, the Police also revealed that MDN founder Shahindha Ismail and member Azra Naseem were sent chits, ordering them to present themselves for questioning within the upcoming two weeks.

Certain government officials have highlighted that MDN's report was released during the previous administration. Hence they claimed that previous state officials, who are currently the opposition, are only now raising concerns out of political motivation.

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