The Edition


Former President, Speaker Nasheed moves forward with libel claim

Rae Munavvar
18 May 2020, MVT 20:16
President Mohamed Nasheed addresses a gathering for the endorsement of MDP's candidate to run for the Mayor of Male in the country's now-postponed Council Elections. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Rae Munavvar
18 May 2020, MVT 20:16

Former President of Maldives and sitting Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed on Monday, confirmed his intent to press charges over allegations of insults directed at Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

The Parliament released a statement declaring that the charges would be against Ibrahim Ali, a constituent of Angolhitheemu Island in Raa Atoll, for circulating the aforementioned content across social media platforms.

Quoting Section 617 of the Penal Code, Clause 5 (A) which defines the offence of criticising Islam as ”Attempting to disrupt the religious unity of the citizens of Maldives, and conversing and acting in a manner likely to cause religious segregation amongst people”, the Parliament’s official statement reads that, in the Speaker’s view, the purpose of disseminating the defamatory content was to undermine religious unity, as well as cultivate righteous fervour towards persecuting Nasheed.

Having first pursued criminal charges via the Prosecutor General’s office against a television channel for broadcasting an interview with Ibrahim Ali, Nasheed’s next course of action will be, as revealed by the statement, lodging the case at Maldives Police Service.

Referring to the blasphemous accusations, Maldivian Democratic Party also released a statement in defence of Nasheed, incumbent leader of the political party.

Strongly condemning the allegations, MDP iterated its stance as a protector of Islamic beliefs that works in cohesion within democratic values and urged police authorities to investigate the issue. 

Refuting any and all claims that cast doubt on Nasheed’s faith, MDP’s statement quotes him having said, “I am one that embraces the two Kalimah of Shahadat beyond any doubt. Prophet Muhammed’s Sunnat comprises of customs for which I have boundless respect”.

Islam’s first pillar, ’Shahadat Kalimah’, refers to the formal declaration of Islamic faith. The first and second Kalimah requires belief and witness to Allah being the one and only God, and Muhammed (PBUH) as his prophet.

According to local ‘Mihaaru News’, the video in question was first publicised in 2013, at which time Speaker Nasheed was the leading opposition figure in the country.

Mihaaru also reports that at the time, tweets and public remarks by certain authoritative figures active within the present administration endorsed the video and its validity.

The Constitution of Maldives acknowledges the right of all persons to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expression, providing it is done in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam.