Sunday, August 10, 2008

Maldives Constitution to be questioned

As a Muslim, I question the amendment in the constitution of Maldives. If we don't question it, we would be giving a pass to exclusive ideologies around the world. . The noblest among you is the one who cares for the neighbors, Qur'aan says. Shame on the fanatic few in the Government of Maldives to get a law like this passed, it is against the spirit of Qur'aan and against the spirit of Prophet Muhammad's Madinah pact that protected the rights of every individual to practice his or her faith. In fact, even conversion of the spouse was not a requirement in a marriage. This amendment is contrary to the spirit of Islam.

The Qur'aan teaches one to live and let live, accept** and respect other people's way of life. Islam is about justice and peace. This act clearly violates Justice to those who are not Muslims. I hope the international community ropes Maldives into the civil societies with incentives and education

** The word accept does not mean change, it simply means acknowledgement of the otherness of other.

Mike Ghouse.

American NGO Condemns Maldives Constitution
Over Religion Clause
By Olivia Lang in MaléAugust 9, 2008

An American-based NGO promoting religious pluralism has condemned the Maldives’ new constitution over a clause requiring all citizens to be Muslims, saying it does not conform to international norms and human rights.

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP) says the regulation in the country’s new constitution – ratified on Thursday – undermines basic guarantees of rights and freedoms.

The move follows criticism from US Ambassador Robert Blake, who also said the clause violated international covenants, describing it as a “concern” earlier this week.

The clause was left unchanged in the constitutional drafting process – despite being flagged up as a controversial issue – due to its sensitive nature in an Islamic country.

Islam Only

Article 9, Section D of the constitution now states that “a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives,” which the IRPP says violates minorities’ freedom of worship.

“This denial of citizenship to non-Muslims is an extraordinarily harsh measure which places the Maldives among the worst countries in the world in regards to the legal foundation for freedom of religion and belief,” the Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski is reported to have said.

The Maldives government says the country is 100 per cent Muslim, and also bans the import of un-Islamic texts or symbols.

Ambassador Robert Blake said last Wednesday that the clause was a concern, but added that the Maldivian government was working to find a solution.

“Religious freedom is a very important part of our constitution. The [Maldivian] government understands our concern that this clause contravenes international conventions it is a party to,” he said.

But religious parties appear to support the new rule. Both Sheikh Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, head of the religious Adhaalath party scholars’ council, and Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) presidential candidate Umar Naseer have said they agree with the tightening of the regulation.


The clause could affect those who convert away from Islam, or who are children of Maldivians married to non-Muslims, but it is not clear whether it will ever be put into practice.

Despite being flagged up as difficult to implement prior to the constitution being passed in the Special Majlis (constitutional assembly), it was left unchanged in the final draft.

Information Minister Mohamed Nasheed has said this was due to the sensitivity of the issue. “No Maldives politician would want to take the case up,” he told Minivan News in May.

“It will be very difficult for Maldives mentality to accept Maldives citizens may belong to a different faith,” he added.

Politicians have been reluctant to condemn the rule ahead of upcoming presidential elections, the country’s first multi-party polls.

Former attorney general Dr Hassan Saeed, an independent presidential candidate, disregarded the issue saying it wasn’t relevant as “we do not have a non-Muslim population”.

Tenets Of Islam

In addition to denying non-Muslims citizenship, the new constitution establishes several other precepts regarding religion.

It limits freedom of expression to that which is “not contrary to a tenet of Islam.”

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy is reportedly drafting an analysis of the new constitution for expected release in September.

The Institute is an international, inter-religious non-profit organization which aims to ensure freedom of religion.

The Maldives’ previous constitution stipulated individuals must be Muslim in order to vote in elections, but not in order to be a citizen. Maldives became an Islamic country in 1153.

Related Articles:
Maldives’ New Constitution Ratified
Maldives Warned By US On Freedom Of Religion
Non-Muslims To Lose Citizenship Under New Constitution


  1. Why can't the Americans live their own lives and let others live. Not permitting others to live their own chosen lives, has created terrorists all over the world.

  2. Imagine if Israel had such a provision denying citizenship to Arabs: Muslims around the world would go crazy and cry racism. But somehow discrimination is OK when exercised against non-believers.



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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.