'Using Islam as a political tool is the biggest insult' - Nasheed

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has stated that using Islam as a political tool is the biggest insult to the religion.

Nasheed's statement comes at a time when Maldives Democracy Network (MDN) and the government are facing backlash from Islamic scholars and the public regarding a report issued by the organization on radicalization of Islam in Maldives.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, Nasheed said Islam is the most perfect, sacred and progressive religion. Using Islam as a political tool is the biggest disrespect towards the religion, wrote Nasheed.

MDN's report assessed how 'radical' Islam was practiced in the Maldives, describing Islam and Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) in a negative light in derogatory terms and in contradiction with the principles of Islam.

The contents of the report prompted harsh criticism from the public and religious scholars, with scores expressing their outrage and concern on the report.

Although written in 2015 and published in 2016, the contents of the report caught wind only recently. While the issue of the report has escalated, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs has filed a police case over the report. Meanwhile, MDN has retracted their report, and apologized for disrespecting Islam and the Prophet, assuring that such actions will not be repeated in the future.

However, Founder of MDN, Shahindha Ismail recently defended the report on social media, adding fuel to the fire. While the government has not officially released a statement on the issue, both Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof and Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir have spoken against the report. Ruling coalition partner, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) has also called to investigate the involved parties and take action.

The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) is a non-partisan NGO which aims to promote human rights and the values and principles of democracy in the Maldives.