In the Maldives, Mohamed Nazim has announced his “reversion” to Islam, after being taken into police custody after publicly announcing that he was not a Muslim on May 28, 2010. As reported in our previous posting “Maldives: Man Attacked, Threatened with Death, for Freedom of Conscience,” Mohamed Nazim had announced that he was not a Muslim at a lecture by Zakir Naik (who widely calls for the death penalty for “apostates”), and then was promptly taken into police custody and given “counseling” by the Maldives government Islamic Ministry. Mohamed Nazim made his public “reversion” to Islam at the Maldives government Islamic Ministry before journalists invited by the Islamic Ministry.
Mohamed Nazim was brought before Maldivian media to make a statement to the press about his “reversion” to Islam, while the police are still deciding whether or not to bring criminal charges against Mohamed Nazim for choosing his freedom of conscience.
A Maldivian lawyer previously told the Maldives press that Mohamed Nazim had to be given such government “Islamic counseling” before capital punishment charges were considered against Mohamed Nazim for “apostasy.”
Haveeru News stated that: “Mohamed Nazim, 38, repented and gave the ‘Shahaadha’ testimony before journalists at the Islamic Ministry Tuesday with a public apology.” It quoted Mohamed Nazim as stating “And as that action was very much related to the feelings of all Maldivians, I believe that it was an agony for the Maldivian people. I deeply apologize for that to all the Maldivians. Along with that, I would like to say that the major misconceptions I had regarding Islam have been clarified. Therefore, I am now a Muslim. I want Maldivians to accept me as a Maldivian and as a child of this community.”
The Maldives Deputy Minister for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Farooq told Haveeru News that Mohamed Nazim reverted to Islam “on freewill” (while in police custody).
The Minivan News also reported on the “reversion” of Mohamed Nazim while in police custody. The Minivan News further reported that the Maldivian NGO the “Islamic Foundation” leader Jammiyyathu Salaf Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohamed stated that there were “many people trying to introduce other religions to the Maldives underground” and that he would “release the names of these underground people at the appropriate time.”
On May 13, 2010, the Maldives was elected to be part of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The Maldives constitution mandates that all citizens of Maldives must be Muslims. A December 2009 study showed the Maldives (with a 99 percent literacy rate) to be in the top 5 percent of the worst nations for religious freedom. It is a nation that has been building its criminal law based on Sharia law, and whose Parliament bans non-Islamic houses of worship. There have been repeated reports on Maldives government publicly whipping of women and the Maldives is in the bottom rankings of nations with a global gender gap.
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) promotes freedom of religion and freedom of conscience as our unqualified, universal human rights. We challenge those who deny such universal human rights, including the right to change one’s religion as defined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 18 of the UDHR reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”