The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has called on former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed to repent over a tweet about Germany legalising same-sex marriage, accusing the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief of promoting anti-Islamic practices.
Shaheed’s retweet of a news story titled “Germany makes same-sex marriage legal” was unacceptable from a Muslim, the PPM said in a statement Sunday night.
“Dr Shaheed’s action shows that he supports spreading among Maldivians the evil deeds that were also promoted as so clean and pure by the [Maldivian Democratic Party] government that he belonged to and that he fully participated in those efforts,” the ruling party claimed.
The PPM also alleged “unceasing efforts” by a few Maldivians to encourage practices and norms that are contrary to the tenets of Islam.
The statement condemned Shaheed in the harshest terms, accused him of wishing to please foreign parties, and urged him to seek forgiveness from the Maldivian people.
The party also called on the public to raise their voices against Shaheed’s “irreligious” activities.
Religion was a divisive campaign issue during past elections with the PPM and its former allies accusing the MDP of pursuing a secularist agenda that posed an existential threat to the country’s 100 percent Muslim status.
Shaheed, who served as foreign minister under former Presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed, dismissed the PPM’s statement.
“It is a pack of lies and they have no basis to issue a statement against me,” he told the Maldives Independent.
Shaheed’s retweet of the Twitter Moments story, which included commentary from users, was reported by pro-government outlet Vaguthu as a declaration of support for gay marriage.
The Vaguthu article prompted Sheikh Ali Zaid, a religious scholar and preacher, to call for the killing of Muslims who favour same-sex marriage.
“Anyone who supports and allows same-sex relations is not a Muslim. If they don’t repent, their heads will have to be removed [from their bodies] as a non-believer. [This has to be] implemented by the ruler,” he wrote on Facebook.
The sheikh also described Shaheed as “one of the most evil people from Maldives”.