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.