President ratifies amendment criminalizing hate crimes

Graffiti wall with the word "laadheenee" or secular | Photo: Dhivehi Sitee

Malé, Maldives – The President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Sunday morning, ratified the amendment to the Penal Code of Maldives (Act no: 9/2014) criminalizing hate crimes.

The newly amended law clarifies the conditions in which it is a criminal action to label someone as against Islam. This includes such instances where a person is labelled as non-muslim in a public setting although a Muslim has not,

  • Gone against the rulings of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.
  • Purposefully stated or acted to indicate that they have renounced Islam.

The bill adds social media and media as a public setting.

In addition, the new amendment criminalizes mocking Islam. The bill criminalizes,

  • Using any forms of communication with the intention to mock Islam, including using words or actions to spread false information on Allah, the tenets of Islam and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah.
  • Importing and using idols used for worship in the Maldives.
  • Creating discontent within the community against Islam.

The Parliament of Maldives added major amendments to the original bill to criminalize hate crimes by combining the bills to criminalize religiously motivated hate crimes and criminalize the mockery of Islam together

Upon ratification, the amendment has now been published in the Government Gazette.