Maldives: Customs Officials Hand Two Men Over To Police For Carrying Books About Christianity
By Ahmed Nazeer – “Customs officials at the Male’ Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) on Thursday seized 11 books about Christianity, typed in Dhivehi, from a Bangladeshi expatriate who came to the Maldives via Sri Lanka.
Speaking with the press last Thursday inside the Customs Building, Chief Customs Officer Ahmed Samah identified the Bangladeshi expat as Jathish Bisvas, 44.
Samah said the 44 year-old man had arrived to the Maldives ona tourist visa and that it was the first time he visited Maldives.
According to Samah, customs officials were suspicious that the expat who had tried to bring the banned items into Maldives had links with a person in Male’. Samah said the Bangladdeshi man had made a booking with a hotel in Male’ but did could not identify which hotel it was.
Samah said later the same day a Maldivian national was caught with similar books, after arriving to the Maldives from Sri Lanka.
The books he brought were not typed in Dhivehi, according to Samah.
Furthermore, Samah said it was highly possible that a Maldivian was behind the illegal smuggling operation given the quality of the Dhivehi language used to type the book. He also said it was a ‘very serious case if a Maldivian is behind this.’
He told the press that it was difficult to identify or provide further details about the suspected Maldivian man.
The pair have been handed over to police and customs and police are conducting a joint investigation into the case.
According to the Maldives Religious Unity Regulations, it is illegal in the Maldives to propagate any faith other than Islam or to engage in any effort to convert anyone to any religion other than Islam.” Read more.
Flashback: Maldives: New Law Will Imprison or Banish Anyone Who Preaches Any Religion Other Than Islam – “President’s Office has gazetted the controversial Religious Unity Regulation, declaring it an offence to preach a religion except Islam in the Maldives… The regulation, which instructs scholars to consider the social harmony, states practices that should be avoided in preaching Islam in the Maldives, including the practice of making comments in contradiction with prophetic traditions and majority view of the scholars… A person who violates the regulation will be sentenced to 2-5 years in prison, banishment or house arrest.” Read more.