Persecution of Ex-Muslims (Maldives)

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"I am learning the hard way that there is no place for non-Muslim Maldivians in this society." Atheist who desperately sought asylum to escape persecution hangs himself. Muslims complain about non-Muslims being buried in the same cemeteries as Muslims

Ismail Mohamed Didi, the 25 year-old air traffic controller who was found hanged from the control tower of Male International Airport at 4:00am on Tuesday morning in an apparent suicide, was seeking asylum in the UK for fear of persecution over his lack of religious belief.

Islamic website Raajjeislam reported yesterday that Ismail “was a person inclined to atheism” and had “declared his atheism to his friends.”

The website alleged that Ismail had refused to follow religious sermons.

“This is an issue that a Muslim government should consider,” the website said. “Because when these types of people die, they are buried in the same [cemetery] where Muslims are buried. Their funeral prayers and body washing are also conducted as for Muslims. It is questionable as to whether this is allowed according to Islam.”

Over two emails sent to an international humanitarian organisation on June 23 and 25, obtained by Minivan News, Ismail admits he is an atheist and desperately requests assistance for his asylum application, after claiming to have received several anonymous threats on June 22.

In the emails, he says he “foolishly admitted my stance on religion” to work colleagues, word of which had “spread like wildfire.”

“A lot of my close friends and girlfriend have been prohibited from seeing me by their parents. I have even received a couple of anonymous phone calls threatening violence if I do not repent and start practising Islam,” he said.

“Maldivians are proud of their religious homogeneity and I am learning the hard way that there is no place for non-Muslim Maldivians in this society.”

Ismail claimed he had been “trying for some time to seek employment abroad, but have not yet succeeded. I would already have left the country if I was sure I could meet the required burden of proof in an asylum claim.”

“I cannot bring myself to pretend to be I am something I am not, as I am a staunch believer in human rights. I am afraid for my life here and know no one inside the country who can help me.”
. . .
Mohamed Ibrahim, Managing Director of the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), confirmed that Ismail was the subject of an internal investigation last month regarding his professed apostasy.

“I believe his family were also concerned, and tried to give him counselling through religious leaders,” Ibrahim said.

“Management decided it was outside our mandate and referred the matter to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs – we haven’t got a reply. Professionally we took no action – he was a good worker.”

Police file case against atheist despite 'recanting' after 3 days of 'religious counselling' for his public declaration at a Zakir Naik Q&A of being a non-Muslim (for which he was attacked by Muslims who called for his death)

The police have lodged the case of Mohamed Nazim/Machangoalhi Eynaz, who declared that he was a non-Muslim during the Q&A session of a lecture given by Indian scholar Dr Zakir Naik, with the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office.

Nazim, 38, however, apologised publicly before journalists after three days of religious counselling given by Islamic Ministry and gave the ‘Shahaadha’ testimony on TV.

Police also confirmed the case. However, the police did not disclose further details.

While some local lawyers earlier claimed that Nazim is eligible for punishment both by Maldives laws and Islamic Shari’a, others argued that only Shari’a law could be evoked on him. Some of them also noted that Nazim’s citizenship could be revoked.

Nazim’s announcement on May 28 sparked comments of hatred from an angry crowd of around 11,000 with many calling to kill him and eventually attacking him before police intervened and took him into custody.