Male’, Maldives – The highly criticized bill on Amendment to the Penal Code Act (Act No: 9/2014) to stop hate speech and hate crimes has been accepted by the Parliament.
The bill was proposed by MP for Thulhaadhoo Constituency, Hisaan Hussain on behalf of the government. It was accepted today with 38 votes, while 17 members were against it. The bill has been sent to the Judiciary Committee for further research.
The bill proposed by MP Hisaan was an amendment brought by the government to stop hatred by making hate speech and hate crimes an offence.
The proposed offences in the bill that are being highly criticized by the public and several Islamic scholars are the offence of pointing out that a person is living against the rules of Islamic religion or is against the religion in a public place and the offence of creating hatred towards a person in the society by relating it to the Islamic faith.
Along with this, the bill also states that it is an offence to describe or be a part of describing a Muslim of being a non-muslim in a public place or accuse a Muslim of being a non-muslim in a public place.
The bill was supported by all MDP parliament members accepted MP for Thinadhoo Constituency, Abdullah Sinaf. All the opposition parties spoke against the bill.
The Male’ city council had also expressed their disagreement with the amendment and stated that it opens opportunities for people to mock Islam. Male’ city council conveyed concerns of the people over the amendment to stop hatred saying that the government is allowing people to mock Islamic religion and the Prophet with the power of the law.
Several Islamic Scholars and political party, Adhaalath Party has also raised concerns over the amendment.
Several Islamic Scholars and political party, Adhaalath Party has also raised concerns over the amendment. Adhaalath Party stated that these offences mentioned in the bill do not adhere to the international conditions required in deciding the offences that would lead to hatred.
The party noted that the offences imply that one of the rightful duties of Muslims, to call on to do right things and to stop individuals from doing wrong things would be considered a criminal offence in the Maldives.
The party expressed concerns that the bill may further increase hatred amongst people and called on the government to follow the methods of international committees on creating the bill as a precaution.