26 January 2008

Maldives Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs claims the sun rose from the west on Mars

The Maldives Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has officially endorsed a scientific hoax (spread mainly through forwarding emails) which states that the sun has risen from the west on planet Mars. An article translated in to dhivehi by 'abu osama' (purportedly from an Arabic language Islamic magazine) was displayed on the council's official noticeboard.

The article displayed on the Council noticeboard.
[view the full article here: Pages 12 and 3 ]

The article was also published on the Islamist Adhaalath Party's official website and Haveeru daily news paper as well. Copies of this article -with the stamp of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs on it- was also distributed by islamists around the city. The council have repeatedly confirmed this hoax to be true, when ever people inquired by phone or by visiting the council.

Quoting from the Quran, Hadiths and Islamic Scholars, the article argued that this (sun rising from the west) may to earth as well, and  that it would be a sign of the end of days. It called on all muslims to "hasten to do good deeds" and invited non-Muslims and heedless Muslims to return to Islam because "once the sun rise from the west (for earth) the doors of repentance will be closed forever".

After a local science enthusiast responded on his blog (in english and dhivehi) by exposing scientific inaccuracies of the article, Haveeru news and Adhaalath Party have agreed that there were 'some mistakes' in it, without admitting they fell for a hoax. 

To this day the Supreme Council have not apologized nor professed they were wrong in endorsing a hoax. The Council which operates under the Office of the President have earlier banned the animated cartoon film "The Prince of Egypt" and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

17 January 2008

Adhaalath Party condemns constitutional ammendment allowing women to run for presidency

"On Monday (14 January), the Special Majlis (constitutional assembly) voted in favour of giving women the right to compete for President. Clause 34 of the current Maldives constitution, which lists the eligibility criteria for presidential candidates, states a person "shall be qualified to be elected" if "he is a male."Forty Special Majlis members voted against a constitutional amendment proposed by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hussain Ibrahim to ban women from standing.Twenty-two members voted in favour of his amendment, while twenty-four abstained." - Minivannews.com

According to Minivan News, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party condemned this amendment arguing that the Prophet Muhammad have said that women should never rule a country, hence making it one which contradicts the Islamic Shariah. While the Foreign minister described the amendment as "a vital step towards a modern Democracy", Adhaalath President Mohamed Didi said that it was "another step away from Shariah".

"Anything forbidden by the creator is not an individual right" Didi was quoted as saying.

In a letter addressed to the Chair of Special Majlis Qasim Ibrahim, the Party have explained with religious arguments why women should never be allowed to rule a country.

07 January 2008

"No room for other religions" - President Gayoom.

The current government of Maldives will not give place for any religion other than Islam, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said today. Addressing a gathering at H.A Atoll Ihavandhoo island (on a campaign trip for the upcoming presidential elections), Gayoom said that some foreign entities are unhappy that Maldives remains a 100% Muslim country and they are working to create a place for other religions (in Maldives).  He assure that "there is no place for that" in Maldives.

He also said that the government gives a  high priority to protect the Islamic unity in Maldives and that it has been the very first and one of the most important tasks he began after coming to power (in 1978).

During Gayoom's rule the constitution of the Maldives have been amended to make president of Maldives "the supreme authority to propagate the tenets of Islam in the Maldives” (Article 38, Constitution). He also introduced a “Protection of Religious Unity of Maldivians Act” under which; Maldivian convert from Islam, anyone that express views contrary to the government approved version of Islam can be penalized. It allows punishments for displaying religious symbols of other faiths and possessing religious books of other faiths as well. Gayoom himself an Islamic Scholar with a masters in Islamic Sharia and Civil Law from Al Azhar University of Egypt, came to power using religion to portray his predecessor as "western" and "unislamic".

[Source: Official Website of The President's Office]