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]

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