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State to propose law against anti-Islamic sentiments

Shahudha Mohamed
06 October 2019, MVT 09:58
Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Ahmed Zahir. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
06 October 2019, MVT 09:58

Ministry of Islamic Affairs on Saturday decided to propose a bill to the parliament criminalising the act of spreading anti-Islamic sentiments in the Maldives.

The ministry's spokesperson confirmed that Islamic Minister Dr Ahmed Zahir is planning to submit such a bill but did not reveal further details.

According to the spokesperson, Minister Zahir made his decision following a meeting held at Islamic Ministry with scholars to discuss the increasing frequency of dialogue which contradicts the tenets of Islam.

This announcement came at a time when Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) is under public fire over a report released by the organisation, titled 'Preliminary Assesment of Radicalisation in Maldives'.

According to the ministry, the report contained written accounts which contradicted the tenets of Islam and threatened the religious unity of Maldives.

The report criticized the Maldivian education system, claiming that the rhetoric of certain textbooks encouraged extremism and highlighted certain passages from the Quran.

MDN, an NGO promoting human rights and democracy in Maldives has since removed the report from its website and issued a public apology. However, some of their members later defended the contents of the report.

The public insists that releasing a report with anti-Islamic sentiments is a crime which should be punished under the constitution, claiming that the Maldivian society refuses to accept such acts.

Every party in the ruling coalition except Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemned the act and called for a proper investigation into the matter.

Islamic Ministry submitted a case to the police concerning MDN's alleged slander of Prophet Mohammed in its report, on Thursday.