Member of parliament for the Thulhaadhoo constituency Hisaan Hussain has proposed a bill to criminalize labelling of persons as non-Muslims or "kafirs".
MP Hisaan submitted a bill proposing to add a clause under Chapter 120 of the Penal Code of the Maldives, describing the legal repurcussions for Assault, Endangerment and Threat Offenses. The proposed addition will be titled Section 124, and will deal with hate crimes.
The list of hate crimes specified in the bill proposed by MP Hisaan have been classified as Class 1 felonies. They include accusing a person of having violated Islam, being against the religion of Islam publicly, and using the Islamic faith to foster hatred against a specific person. In addition to this, accusing, labelling, or taking part in describing a Muslim as a non-Muslim or "kafir" are also listed as hate crimes under the proposed bill.
The Penal Code of the Maldives states that a Class 1 felony will amount to a maximum sentence of one year in prison, with the standard requirement set at four months and 24 days. The mandatory minimum sentencing for Class 1 felonies under the Penal Code is imprisonment of one month and six days.
The bill proposed to parliament by MP Hisaan also criminalizes encouraging or participating in violence committed against Muslims labelled as "kafirs". This charge is specified as a Class 5 felony, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison under the Penal Code, and a minimum sentence of imprisonment for nine months and 18 days.
The bill connects systematically the accusing of a Muslim of being a non-believer and committing violence against them, or participating or conspiring to commit violence against them as Class 4 felonies, in addition to committing physical violence, or conspiring to do so based on a person's political beliefs.
According to the Penal Code, Class 4 felonies may carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison, with the minimum sentence set at one yyear and seven montths of imprisonment.
Further, the bill also lists committing physical violence, attempting to commit physical violence or encouraging physical violence against a person based on their race, nationality or skin color as hate crimes.
The bill proposes a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if a person is killed following violence committed against them based on their race, nationality or skin color. A maximum sentence of 15 years in prison is also listed for crimes of kidnapping, sexual assault or death threats.
The first reading of this bill was held at the People's Majlis on Monday.