The Ministry of Islamic affairs has appealed for religious scholars in the Maldives to actively condemn extremism and hard-line religious ideologies.
According to a press statement released on Thursday, the ministry called on all licensed religious scholars to do their duty lawfully without "undermining peace of the community, incite violence or give encouragement to terrorism."
Further, the ministry appealed for all religious activity to adhere to the Religious Unity Act (Law No. 94/6) and Regulations for the preservation of religious harmony in the Maldives (Resolution R-40/2011)
Moreover, they reiterate that no citizen can ignore the constitution or laws of the country, in the name of religion. They stress that no citizen has the right to "exclude themselves from the general community", prohibit children from basic education and healthcare, engage or promote unconstitutional organisations, accuse fellow Muslims of apostasy, claim to forfeit their lives or property in the name of penance or take part in any such activity deemed dangerous to the community or promotes extremist ideologies.
Additionally, the ministry requested citizens to abstain from any sort of activity that besmirches the religion of peace or use Islam as an excuse to promote extremist ideologies, recruit or advocate participation in foreign conflicts, or engage in any behaviour that causes misinterpretation of Islam and invites hatred towards Muslims.
In their concluding remarks, the ministry urged the public to refrain from depending on the internet or "suspect sources" instead of trust-worthy Islamic academics in matters of religion.
This comes at a time when the Maldives Police Service has launched a counter-terrorism operation in Maduvvari island of Raa atoll on Wednesday prompted by the 13-year-old pregnant child bride case that emerged from the island in late November. As such, a second child bride has been discovered on the island with four suspected extremists having been arrested so far. Reports reveal the extremist community has been living in seclusion, taking under-age children as brides, and attacking in addition to stealing from people they deem to be not religious enough.