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Customs seizes more than 100 books with ‘irreligious content’

The books were confiscated from an annual book fair.



The Maldives Customs Service on Saturday seized 109 books from the Novelty Book Fair for allegedly containing irreligious content. 

The books were confiscated in a joint operation conducted with police, Chief Customs Officer Aishath Wilny said.

“We confiscated books that were suspected of containing irreligious contents. It is being investigated by the police and customs right now,” Wilny told Maldives Independent

She declined to confirm that the books were taken from the Novelty fair. But it has been widely reported that books with information about Hinduism and Christianity had been taken from the annual fair, the largest in the country.

Novelty Bookshop was not immediately available for comment.

Ahead of the seizure operation, photos of books deemed offensive were shared on social media. These included books on skepticism, Christianity and Eastern mysticism that were available at the fair.

The 1975 contraband law prohibits the import of literature of religions other than Islam as well as objects of worship. Bringing into the country, creating, owning, selling, sharing or spreading material which is against the principles of Islam is an offence punishable with a jail sentence, banishment or house arrest between three to eight years.

Last September, police removed “human form” sculptures from an art installation at a resort for being un-Islamic.