The amendment to the draft constitution denying citizenship to Maldivians who are not Muslims does not appear to have generated much thinking or comments. There are some a few good articles from some like Simon and Fizan but writings on this subject are rare.
Recently I read this article at Máldive Royal Family. The article examines the legal and constitutional issues and also provides some very interesting historical information that most Maldivians today would not know.
I am posting a few paragraphs from the article below. But I suggest that you visit the site and read the whole thing for a better understanding.
"In 1965 a Sri Lankan teacher named Gearse died and the authorities permitted a Christian burial. A colleague of his by the name of JV William carried a large wooden cross at the head of the funeral procession that wound through Malé. A full Christian funeral service was conducted publicly at the Henveyru cemetery, with all the pupils of his school in attendance.
Also in 1965, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, the Venerable Ananda Thero spent several months in Malé as a guest of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan of the Maldives. He was there to study our proud Buddhist heritage that was systematically obliterated by Islam in the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries. He conducted several worship sessions for Buddhist expatriates quite openly. For much of the 1960s and the 1970s, the government-run radio station in Malé broadcast an evangelical programme, which was relayed over a public address system in the northern harbour and firewood market areas. The Maldive authorities also allowed in a Christian missionary ship called the Logos in the early 1970s. School pupils were invited on board, ferried across in government transport and came away with copies of the Bible."
"No significant changes in the Maldive statutory framework have occurred since these events. The only change has been the abandoning of our ancient heritage of tolerance in favour of a culture of jihadist bigotry peddled in by the foreign-funded medrassas."
"No written constitution of the Maldives promulgated since 1932 ever stated that being a Muslim was a requisite of Maldive citizenship. Admittedly the relatively recent law on naturalisation of foreign nationals specifies that applicants for Maldive citizenship have to be Muslims but no such provision ever existed in the islands’ constitution. For that reason it may be possible to contest that the Maldive Citizenship Act is unconstitutional."
"In 2006, the Maldive Attorney General’s department conceded in writing to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief that while the Maldive constitution designates Islam as the state religion, there is in fact no constitutional provision expressly requiring Maldivians to be Muslim.
This therefore is a clear acknowledgement by the Maldive authorities that its reservation of 19 September 2006 does not imply that all Maldivians were required to be Muslims according to the constitution in force on that date. To amend the constitution or statutes now to make Islamic profession a requirement of Maldive citizenship would be clearly illegal under international law. Maldive members of parliament who advocate such an amendment would be in breach of their islands’ international treaty obligations. They would be deemed to be individually and severally in contempt of International Law."
.....Mrs Aneesa Ahmed, spokeswoman for the ruling Maldivian People’s Party (DRP) and government minister said “We know Islam allows people of other faiths to worship freely, but because Maldives has been an Islamic state for centuries, the people want to preserve that status and we respect their wish.” What Mrs Ahmed was effectively saying on behalf of her party was that, ‘yes the prophet Mohamed permitted limited freedom of religion to some non-Muslims, but we neither care too much about that nor do we tolerate such nonsense’. So not only is the Maldives giving the one finger salute to the civilised world, but it is giving it to Islam also.
"A law has to be enforceable. Birth to Maldive parents, naturalisation and voluntary renunciation of citizenship, according to law, can be quantitatively determined and verified. Consequently citizenship based on these criteria can be enforced. On the other hand, profession or otherwise, of faith in a religion can be kept private by the person who professes or renounces it. Therefore it would be legally impossible to quantitatively verify a person’s continued citizenship based on faith. One can step into the bathroom, for example, as a Maldivian and emerge as a stateless person and the authorities will be none the wiser." (Bold added by me)
To visit the full and original article please click Máldive Royal Family