Speaker Nasheed endorses petition to criminalize hate crimes

Former President and current Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives — Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has called on to support a petition criminalising hate crimes and labelling people.

Speaker Nasheed tweeted today asking all citizens to sign the petition to support criminalising hate crimes and labelling people.

The petition calls on to stop calling each other infidel, “Kafir” or anti-Musim “Laadheenee” indicating that they are not Muslims, as it is not decided by the people but by the legal justice system. It states that labelling and tagging people by these names have legitimised bloodshed on the streets of Male’ city in the last 10 years and that it is putting a lot of people’s lives in danger. 

The petition noted the recent bomb attack on Speaker Nasheed as an example and stated that it is an example that extremism and intolerance are getting out of control in the country.

Noting that labelling people “Laadheenee” is the main weapon extremists use to galvanise support for their agenda, the petition noted that Islam is a religion of peace.

We want to be a moderate, modern and liberal Islamic country.

The petition calls on people to be wise and take actions against the hate spreading in the country and mentioned that “if we don’t do this today, your five year old baby today is going to have a tough time living in this country after ten years.”

On the other hand, 101 scholars of Maldives have raised their voice against the controversial parliamentary bill on amendments to the Penal Code of Maldives to criminalize hate crimes, appealing to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to dismiss the bill via a petition.

The proposed amendments in the bill which are being highly criticized by the public and several Islamic scholars are amendments to criminalize pointing out that a person is living against the rules of Islamic religion or against the religion in a public place and 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 petition from the scholars explained that the amendments in the bill will not have any benefit to the Islamic society and that the consequences that follow might be irreparable. This is why the scholars request the President in their petition, to dismiss the bill as almost all of the scholars in Maldives agree on the petition.

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.

Political party of the ruling coalition, 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.