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Maldives: Ministry Asks Police To Ban Discos

Posted by paulipoldie on January 1, 2009

Ibrahim Mohamed

The ministry of Islamic affairs appealed to the Maldives Police Service on Wednesday to end to all the discos organised for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Police sergeant Ahmed Shiyam confirmed Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, the minister of Islamic affairs, had made an official request to the police commissioner, Ahmed Faseeh, for police to take action regarding this matter.

“We will be taking steps in accordance to the ministry’s request,” said Shiyam, but he did not comment on what action the police would take.

Dr Bari refused to comment on the issue on Wednesday.

Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, the state minister of Islamic affairs, said the ministry had formally requested the police stop the discos from taking place because they were contrary to Islam. He added the ministry had received complaints from the public.

“We have received hundreds of complaints asking for a ban on the DJs,” he said. “So, the number of people who are against having DJs is greater than the number who wants them.”

“Even a police official has informed us that they have also been receiving complaints.” he said.

According to Shaheem, it is haram or forbidden in Islam for both sexes to dance together.

Article 10 of the Constitution states the religion of the Maldives is Islam and Islam shall be the basis for all laws in the land.

Although Article 27 stipulates everyone has the right to freedom of expression, the right only exists as long as it is “not contrary to any tenet of Islam”.

Shaheem said the ministry had met with and advised some of the people organising the events.

“They said a lot of money had been invested to organise the events and it would be a great financial loss if the discos were cancelled,” he said. “They added they would not organise more discos in the future.”

Hussain Ibrahim, a prominent lawyer, agreed there was no law which permitted discos.

Ibrahim, also a former constitutional assembly member, said discos were forbidden in Islam and as such would be contrary to the Constitution.

“I can’t believe it,” said 25-year-old Ali Hussain after hearing the ministry’s decision. “It’s a big surprise. I’ve been celebrating New Year’s Eve for the past five years by going to discos. Boys and girls want to dance to music on this night.”

Hussain added if discos are banned, circumcision parties should also be forbidden.

“In circumcision parties, men and women dance very closely, so the ministry’s decision is unfair.” he said.

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