The ministry of Islamic affairs and a Saudi Arabian NGO has launched today a six-day workshop for some 60 Maldivian Imams and religious scholars to address contentious religious issues.
The six day workshop, led by the Muslim World League, will also hold sessions on interpreting the Quran, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic culture.
Inaugurating the workshop, Islamic Minister Dr Ahmed Ziyad Bagir thanked Saudi Arabia and announced plans to introduce degree and diploma programs for Imams.
The Muslim World League, or Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, opened an office in the Maldives in July 2013. The office is located in the Islamic Ministry.
The NGO is funded by the government of Saudi Arabia, and has offices all over the world.
Training Imams was pledged by the Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Saleh bin Abdulaziz during a visit in November. Abdulaziz and Ziyad signed an agreement to strengthen religious unity in the Maldives.
The kingdom’s Shura Council Speaker Dr Abdulla bin Mohamed bin Ibrahim al- Sheikh made an official visit to Malé last week. The two countries have now agreed to form integrated joint committees to work on issues of mutual interest, specifically terrorism.
In August, Saudi Arabia established a diplomatic mission in the Maldives for the first time. In December, the Maldives joined a Saudi-led military alliance formed to combat terrorist organisations.
Trade and economic ties are growing too. Saudi Arabia has loaned Maldives development funds, helped conduct feasibility studies for President Abdulla Yameen’s mega-projects and granted funds for budget support.