Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nasheed administration to continue flogging women

The administration of Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has unequivocally stated support for the institutional violence against women.

Foreign minister Ahmed Naseem told Haveeru News that flogging was a basic Islamic principle on which the current administration would not allow a debate.

"What's there to debate about?" he asked, stating: "No one can argue with God."

Despite Nasheed's administrations intention to stifle debate on flogging, the religious right has so far failed to explain to why Maldivians should preserve the practice. While flogging is prescribed in the Quran the way it is carried out in the Maldives would contradict its basis in verse 24.2:

"The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah."

Flogging, as practiced in the Maldives, is overwhelmingly carried out against women. In 2006, for instance, out of 174 people sentenced to flogging, 146 were women, 19 of who were under 18 years of age. The Maldives judiciary has since deleted this telling statistic from its website. Maldivian implementation of flogging not only violates UN conventions it has signed but also its Quranic basis.

While Nasheed's administration is keen to preserve a cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishment carried out overwhelming on women, none of his ministers is calling for hand amputation for convicted thieves, which is also part of some Islamic jurisprudence. The only difference is that theft in the Maldives, as elsewhere in the world, is committed mainly by men.

The Islamic justification for flogging in the Maldives offered by Nasheed's administration, therefore, is baseless. And, by attempting to stifle debate on the practice and vowing to continue to act on the advice of proven misogynists---Bari has several times stated on national TV that a woman's role is at home and subservient to men---Nasheed's administration is only revealing to the world that it has no interest in human rights, gender or honouring UN conventions.

Friday, November 25, 2011

India should slap a travel ban on intolerant Maldivians

India should draw a list of Maldivian organisations and individuals voicing intolerance towards SAARC monuments and slap a travel ban on them.

For now they would include the Islamic Minister, members of the Adhalath Party, Jamiyathul Salaf, and Gayoom and the members of his Progressive Party. The elections commission should be able to make public the members of Adhalath and the Progressive Party.

It would also be easy to identify many of these people as they are spouting intolerance in public, all that is needed is a rudimentary research into the press and the media since the SAARC summit.

Other SAARC countries and, indeed, all decent, progressive nations should also draw a list of bigoted Maldivians and ban them from entering.

This might be an effective (and only) way of sending the message across to bigots in the Maldives that if they want to travel to other countries they should learn to be tolerant of other cultures first.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gadhdhoo council subjects three women to physical examination

Haveeru is reporting that three Gadhdhoo women were subjected to pregnancy tests and physical examinations to verify whether they had given birth recently, after suspicion that the recent newborn found in a garage in Thinadhoo might have belonged to one of them.

However, similar tests are not carried out on men in the Maldives, despite a fair number of pregnancies out of wedlock and, in some cases, women naming the men they had had sex with. A simple DNA test could prove paternity and, in turn, ensure men contributed their share for the upbringing of children they father.

It remains to be seen if the human rights commission of the Maldives makes a statement against this gross violation of the rights of women on Gadhdhoo.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Muttalib afraid domestic violence law may prevent men marrying two women

MP for Fares Mathoda Ibrahim Muttalib yesterday fought a valiant but seemingly lone battle against DRP's domestic violence bill. Here is a selection of choice bits from his speech:
  • When we talk of violence against women, we should also talk of women's wickedness.
  • Such laws create discord and degeneration of society.
  • Today the law prevents parents from disciplining their children and teachers from taking good measures to discipline children.
  • We should be afraid of laws like these for they will prevent men from marrying two wives, a right granted to them by Islam.
  • Women should be at the servitude of their husbands, fulfill his needs, bring up their children and serve their needs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Nazim repents and reverts to Islam" say Haveeru

Haveeru has just reported that Mohamed Nazim repented and reverted to Islam in front of the media in a ceremony at the Islamic Centre.

It is not known at this stage whether Nazim was subjected to any coercion or if it was his wish and not the government's decision to turn this extremely private act into a media event.

The fundamental issue of human rights violation by the state remains and Maldives Dissent calls for a full, external, and independent inquiry not only into the chain of events but also why the human rights commission remained silent.

Meanwhile religious hardline contributers to the blog  Addu Community have launched a witch-hunt by cut-pasting comments from Facebook profiles that it says are anti-Islam.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

First prisoner of conscience in Nasheed's Maldives

Mohamed Nazim, a man who posed a question to Wahhabi televengalist Zakir Naik has become the country's first prisoner of conscience since president since Nasheed took office in 2008.

Nazim asked Naik the verdict in Islam for individuals who were still struggling to decide on faith in a country such as the Maldives, where most people practise religion not by choice but because they inherited it from their parents.

Naik's jumbled response that the Maldives government should decide the plight of such people suggests that he hadn't properly researched the country to which he had come to lecture. Clearly unused to intelligent debate, Naik then went on the insult Nazim's knowledge of Islam and education.

"Don't try to be too smart," he told Nazim. "I have to educate you from scratch."

Following the exchange, a section of Naik's auidence hounded Nazim and allegedly attacked him before police took him away.

The latest news is that police have now obtained a court order to extend Nazim's detention. But Maldivian judges have not extended similar cooperation to police for people accused of murder, child abuse and rape.

Mohamed Nazim did say he was not a believer of Islam, but it could be argued that he was speaking hyphothetically to elicit an answer from Zakir Naik. Only Nazim himself can verify his religous stance.

Nazim has effectively become the country's first prisoner of conscience since Mohamed Nasheed, a self-professed champion of free speech and democracy, took office.

While Article 9 (b) of the Maldives constitution states a citizen of Maldives may not be deprived of citizenship, 9 (d) states that a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives. And, Article 10 states that state religion is Islam and that no law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives.

However, the Quran, the most important tenet of Islam, makes it clear that religion cannot be forced on people.

According to verse 2:256:

"Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all."

The Maldives is also a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects the freedom of thought, conscience, and religious belief.

But at the time of uploading this post, Anni's government and the Maldives human rights commission have not publicly stated their position on the incident.

To my knowledge none of Nazim's alleged attackers have been arrested for taking the law into their hands, even though they must have been caught on TV.

Meanwhile, although Naik himself is reported to have said things which might be contrary to Maldivian law, such as promoting under-aged marriage, no one has called for the arrest of the preacher yet.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dhiffushi: the next Himendhoo?

A man claiming to have been trained by Taliban militants in Pakistan is recruiting in Dhiffushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives Dissent has learnt.

Known as Zubba, and originally from Male, the man, who is in his 30s, recently rented a room on the island and moved in with his wife and two children.

Zubba is said to have befriended a handful of disenfranchised youth, mostly heroin addicts, and has already twice held Friday prayer congregations in his rented accommodation.

When islanders discovered this they called for him to be expelled from the island, Zubba’s supporters have rallied around him in support. Zubba, meanwhile, has threatened serious consequences if the islanders interfered with his activities.

According to an islander, Zubba at present is tailoring leaflets to convert the whole of Dhiffushi. He does not go to work and it is not known from where he gets funds to support his stay on the island.

Although Zubba has been Wahhabi for a long time, he shaved off his beard and turned non-Wahhabi for a short while after the Sultan Park bombing.

Dhiffushi, an impoverished island two hours from Male has a population of just over 700. Many of its inhabitants turned Wahhabi in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. An islander reported that the boatyard on the island constantly plays Radio Atoll, which spreads misogyny and intolerance in the name of religion, over loudspeakers.

The government’s Islamic ministry, headed by the Adhalath Party, has so far failed to address the growth of extremism in the country. Instead, its heads appear to be using the resources at its disposal to spread its own intolerant misogynistic and anti-democratic propaganda.