Islamic scholars in the Maldives have laid out a wide-ranging religious agenda that includes a call for written rules for tourists on Islamic behaviour and strategies to prevent Maldivians from committing acts of terror in the name of Jihad.
The action-plan was rolled out on January 21, following at a three-day conference organised by the Islamic ministry.
The annual gathering, now in its fourth year and entitled “Do not overstep the limits set by Allah’, brought together some 50 Maldivian and foreign scholars, according to the state broadcaster, Public Service Media.
Policies were also set on trade, education, media and atheism.
Tourism companies must teach visitors how to conduct themselves while holidaying in the Maldives “in order to address actions by tourists that violate Islamic culture and social norms,” the recommendations read.
The group resolved to provide accurate information on Jihad, including through school textbooks, and said the Maldives must provide “official assistance” to those suffering in Muslim countries in order to prevent Maldivians “from becoming emotionally compelled to take part in activities in Jihad’s name.”
Scores of Maldivians have left the country to fight with militant groups in the Middle-East, including the so-called Islamic State. Estimated numbers vary between 50 and 200.
Other actions set forth include working with the media to stop the broadcast of content that violate Islam and revising trade laws to prevent un-Islamic practices.
The group also declared the niqab, beard and ankle-length garments as permissible in Islam, and said: “No one must view those who act according to Islamic principles as extremists.”
They also expressed concern over “political extremism” which they said posed an “immense threat” to the Maldives.
Below is a translation of the 25 recommendations:
The head of Sudan’s Figh Academy, Dr Mohamed Ibrahim, was the guest of honour at the closing ceremony.
In December, the Islamic ministry and the police agreed on a plan to protect religious unity, and launched in partnership with PSM a religious television channel, Munnar.