Monday, May 31, 2010

Maldivian Shocks Audience By Annnouncing He Is Not Muslim; Some Call For Death Sentence

The Maldives Constitution, Sec. 9, limits citizenship to Muslims. Minivan News reported yesterday that 37-year old Mohamed Nazim shocked an audience during a question and answer period at a lecture Friday on "Misconceptions About Islam" delivered by a visiting Indian scholar. At the lecture, Nazim engaged in a long exchange (transcript) with speaker, Dr. Zakir Naik, in which Nazim announced that while he is "struggling to believe in religion," he considers himself a Maldivian, not a Muslim. This is apparently the first time ever that a Maldivian has publicly announced he is not a Muslim. After Nazim pressed the speaker on the penalty for apostasy, members of the audience tried to attack Nazim. Police escorted him out for his own protection and took him into custody.

Yesterday, the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives called for judges to give Nazim an opportunity to repent, and if he does not, then sentence him to death under Islamic and Maldivian law. According to Haveeru yesterday, Maldives Ministry of Islamic Affairs has asked police to investigate Nazim. The Criminal Court granted a warrant to extend Nazim's custody for five days. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs is arranging to offer Nazim counseling to deal with his doubts about Islam. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]