An Islamic preacher is suing journalists and a news outlet for defamation following their coverage over an alleged Hajj scam.
Sheikh Nasrullah Musthafa was arrested in November on suspicion of being involved in a scam that saw four people sent to Mecca without arrangements in place for their pilgrimage.
There was nobody to meet them at the airport in Saudi Arabia and there was no accommodation, meaning the Maldives’ state-owned Hajj Corporation had to step in.
Two of the group told a government minister that Nasrullah had taken MVR 70,000 (US$4,477) from each of them and provided a document confirming their trip, Mihaaru reported.
Deputy Islamic Minister and Head of the Maldivian Hajj delegation, Ibrahim Ahmed, told the daily newspaper the four pilgrims were not affiliated with any group licensed to take people on Hajj.
They were able to travel because of a visa that appeared to have been issued by the Saudi embassy, Mihaaru reported Ahmed as saying.
A spokesman from the Prosecutor General’s office, Ahmed Thaufeeq, told the Maldives Independent that charges had been brought against Nasrullah for forging an official document and operating without a Hajj license.
Vnews and five Mihaaru reporters have been given summons to appear at court for a dispute resolution hearing on Tuesday.
Nasrullah also faces several charges in a separate case relating to pornographic material. The case concerns “a family matter,” said Thaufeeq.
The preacher, who resigned as principal of Arabiyya School last month, was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.