One of the comments on Nasheed’s blog Talking Point states:
“Sir, could you clarify your personal position on gay issues. … Yourself being a lawyer, I would appeal you to respect our natural rights. Good lawyers do not always take the populist stand. They have to stand for rights of minorities.”
I found this comment very relevant to this point in time, in our social transformation from being an alleged dictatorship to a liberal democracy. And more so at a time when we are grapling with the identity of what it is to be Maldivian. (Shahuru has an interesting post on his blog ra:zuwa: on “how the rightful freedoms of a maldivian citizen should be defined”.)
Our parliamentarians in the Special Majlis who have been charged with drawing up a new constitution for the country; who have already cost us a million Rufiyaa per head of the “honorable” members, who have miserably failed to deliver anything concrete except to make a mockery of this nation and its public institutions; were so anxious to find out whether the people wanted a President or a Prime Minister to head their government. They lacked the interest and the intellectual resources to gage the pulse of this nation except one in which they had a personal and selfish interest: whether Maumoon should stay in power or not. Though the decision to replace or impeach Maumoon lies with the Parliament, the Special Majlis too seems to be busy with the executive rather than legislating what they have been paid for.
I would refrain from making a judgement on the goodness or the badness of homosexuality or the practicality of a state based on religion or not. However, I see that it is quite necessary to explore and come to a decision on whether the basis of the state would be following the religion of Islam or not.
And as I believe there is no distinction between fundamentalism and liberal Islam, because Islam is one and there cannot be several forms of Islam. Hence, the question is one that has to be tackled if the rights of the minorities will have to be taken into account in the reformed and modern version of the nation of Maldives.
I am honestly not quite sure we can fool Allah! Are we going to be credited with safeguarding Islam if we state in our constitution that all Maldivians must be and shall be Muslim. Can we also at the same time, allow for un-Islamic values and practises at the same time.
Take our schools for example. The values that we teach our children by practise are those which are the exact opposite of Islam. I am not saying that we have to be extremists in the practise of our religion. Yet we have to create conditions that promote the values of Islam, which we do not in our schools. We find excuses in the scarcity of resources when justifying our decisions, yet can we justify to Allah when we face Him?
My argument is that it is quite ironic to determine and to insist that all Maldivians must be Muslim when we do not create conditions for a “Culture of the Islamic Way” in building our nation.
We have to decide how tolerant we will be toward other faiths and beliefs, though we need not open places of worship of other religions in the country. A decision will have to be made how we will deal with open converts of Maldivian Citizenship to other faiths! These are the real issues. And everyone seems to be willing to shelve them till they erupt like a volcano.
I have posted a poll to find out the opinion of the visitors to this blog as to whether we should have a secular state or not. Your participation in this poll will be appreciated.