Society & Culture

Islam ‘only religion’ permitted in Maldives, says ministry

There can only be one religion in the Maldives, the Islamic Ministry has said, urging people to avoid implying otherwise.

The remarks follow media criticism of human rights defender Shahindha Ismail who tweeted that Allah allowed for other faiths, challenging President Abdulla Yameen’s assertion that he would only permit Islam to be practiced in the Maldives.

A ministry statement issued around midnight Thursday said: “Allah does not accept any other religion but Islam. And he has said anyone who believes any other religion than Islam will be amongst the perishable on Judgement Day.

“So we remind you to reassert yourself in religion. Let’s strengthen the belief of citizens of our 100 percent Muslim country that Islam is Allah’s religion as written in the Quran. We caution and remind every Maldivian citizen to stop spreading unnecessary sayings in our society that imply giving space for any other faiths but Islam.”

Police confirmed earlier on Thursday they were investigating Ismail’s tweet but not on what grounds. Ruling party lawmaker Ahmed Nihan tweeted saying the matter needed to be looked into and thanked police for their action.

But many social media users said Ismail’s tweet did not oppose religion or Islam and that there was nothing to probe.

Ismail accused the tabloid news site which published the criticism of twisting her words and trying to get her killed.

Last month the Islamic Ministry said there would be housecalls for those insulting Islam on social media.

Police have said liberal blogger Yameen Rasheed was murdered by vigilante groups for “mocking Islam”.


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