Scholars call to expedite banning MDN

Religious scholars of Maldives has called on the government to expedite banning Maldivian Democracy Netork (MDN) following the contentious report published by the organization.

Titled '‘Preliminary Assessment on Radicalisation in the Maldives", 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 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.

A group of renowned scholars held a press conference on the matter on Monday, which included representatives from all religious organization in the country.

Speaking at the press conference, prominent scholar Sheikh llyas Hussain sad impugning Islam and Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) is not something that can be taken lightly, and said such will not be tolerated by Muslims.

"The reason why we are caught up in our emotions and speaking on this matter extensively is that it is directly linked to our Eeman (faith). This is interlinked with the beating of our hearts, these are not things that can be separated. A believer would not utter such words", said Ilyas.

However Muslims would not act irrationally due to their emotions and will not carry out undesirable activities by letting their feelings cloud their judgement, he added.

Ilyas said MDN had committed an offence as per the Islamic Shariah and the law. Therefore, action must be taken against them, said Ilyas, while also noting that those defending the report were also committing an offense.

Ilyas further said although many are attempting to downplay and trivialize the issue of the report, the scholars of Islam would remain steadfast in defending the religion.

During the press conference, the scholars made three requests.

The scholars called on government to uphold the tenants of Islam, and to take immediate action on any act against Islam without hesitation. They also called on the government to cooperate with any activities carried out to uphold Islam, and asked to resolve the existing unrest in the country. They further called on the government to ban MDN as a show of good faith that they are ready to take action against any anti-Islamic acts.

The scholars called on all Islamic scholars to clarify the motives behind anti-Islamic acts to the people, and urged to unite against such transgressions.

Addressing the public, the scholars requested to give a good upbringing to children of the nation, and to provide a good religious education. They also urged to ensure that children grow up to love the religion of Islam and its principles.

The scholars stressed that the rallying against MDN report was not a political activity, and said religious groups of different ideologies taking part in the activities show the matter is an extremely concerning issue.

While MDN has been temporarily suspended, 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 earlier 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'.