28 February 2008

Human Rights Commission of the Maldives silent on rights of non-muslim citizens

Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) have not only ignored the issue of citizenship of non-Muslim Maldivians, but also ignored their existence in their recently published Annual Report 2007.

The introduction of the report states that Maldives is a 100% Muslim country, officially endorsing the constitutional amendment which made non-Muslim citizens of Maldives legally stateless for the first time.

In addition to this, giving a general overview of human rights in Maldives throughout the year 2007, it says the commission is happy to note that "basic freedoms and rights which are also included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are perfectly included in the second chapter of the new draft constitution".  The commission seems to be rejecting Article 18 of this declaration, a document which was banned as an Islamic document in 2005. The ban was later lifted following much international pressure.

While rejecting the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the Commission expressed its concern over religious divisions in the society. The solution proposed in the report was more the government to have more control over religion, with the Supreme Islamic Council propagating a state approved "authentic" version of Islam for citizens to unite upon.

"Political divisions and political conflicts are problems which would be solved as people become more aware. And political differences could be resolved with dialog. However, religious divisions and differences of opinion in matters of creed among people is very dangerous. The signs of danger and horror of this is now visible even in our Maldivian community. And  we are  experiencing the losses brought about by this even today. This commission have expressed our concern over this matter even before. Finding the reasons for these religious divisions in our small community and taking  necessary action in a responsible manner is of utmost importance. When the number of people who have thinking and orientations which contradict the beautiful Islamic principles are increasing, it is very important that the concerned government authorities bring out to the citizens the authentic information about religion (Islam) in a responsible manner. And (the commission) would also like to note that in order to save the society from religious divisions it is very important for the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to play a broader role than now." --  From the report (Page 9).

15 February 2008

Secularism is not something for Maldives - Umar Naseer.

Presidential candidate and Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) leader Umar Naseer have said that secularism is "not something for Maldives" and that it is bad for the country.

Secularism is not something for Maldives. Secularism is a pill. It is a medicine, very good for countries with multi-race, multi-religion, multi-culture. But if this pill is given to a wrong patient, like Maldives, where we have a single religion for the past 400 years, then this pill can cause irritation in your stomach. So this secularism is not good for Maldives." Umar was quoted as saying.

Speaking to MinivanNews Umar said that being a 100% Muslim country, Maldives needs a "special version of democracy" where things like secularism, pluralism, homosexuality, abortion and alcohol are excluded. He said that IDP's policy is that of one religion, one race, and one language.

I am sure all the political parties would agree with me on these points, but the question is how committed are people when you have to really defend that" said Umar, who describes himself as a "moderate" Muslim. He warned that religious extremism will become a serious problem for the Maldives and that if he wins the election, he would not be soft on fundamentalists.

source: minivannews.com