MDN suspended over contentious report

Youth Ministry has instructed Maldives Democracy Network (MDN) to temporarily halt their activities.

Youth Ministry is the supervisory authority in-charge of clubs and organizations.

The ministry made the decision to suspend the NGO over the contentious report issued by the non-partisan organization titled '‘Preliminary Assessment on Radicalisation in the Maldives" which described Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and Islamic principles in derogatory terms.'.

A statement released by the Ministry on Thursday said the ministry suspended the organization under the powers vested in the registrar of organizations, as the matter is currently under police investigation.

The police case was filed by Ministry of Islamic Affairs. Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed has assured that the authority will investigate the case as a serious issue.

The report issued in 2016 challenged principles and teachings of Islam in the Holy Quran, and disrespected Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).The report outlined several verses from the Quran and 'hadith' of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as examples of ideas included in school text books that contribute to promulgation of radical worldviews.

The contents of the report prompted harsh criticism from the public and religious scholars, with scores expressing their outrage and concern on the report. MDN has since apologized for the contents of the report, and retracted it from their website. While the organisation has stated that they are working with Islamic scholars to revise the report, some members of the organization have defended the report on social media platforms.

With a large number of people are calling on authorities to arrest the authors of the report and ban MDN, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has assured that the matter will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures will be taken as stipulated under the Maldives constitution.

Religious scholars also met with President Solih to discuss their concerns, and requested to dissolve the organization, Following the meeting, scholars commented that the meeting with President Solih had been promising.

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed recently defended the authors of the report, however, he stated on Thursday that action must be taken against MDN. Several top government officials have also condemned the contents of the report.