Maldives activist ‘fears for life’ amid Islamic blasphemy investigation2045 views

A prominent human rights activist in the Maldives has said that she has received several death threats over an alleged anti-Islamic Twitter post, that has also prompted a criminal investigation.

Shahindha Ismail, executive director of Maldives Democracy Network (MDN), told Al Jazeera that anonymous accounts on Twitter and Facebook have been calling for her death, after a newspaper article and religious scholars accused her of advocating for secularism in the Sunni Muslim state.

“I do not feel safe in the Maldives and I fear for my life,” she said on Sunday.

The furore over Ismail’s post began on December 20, when she responded to a speech by President Abdulla Yameen, in which he had vowed to crack down on what he said were domestic and international efforts to propagate faiths other than Islam in the Maldives.

“Religions other than Islam exist in this world because Allah allowed for it. No other religion would exist otherwise, is it not?” Ismail said on Twitter.

Her post prompted threats, with one Twitter user, referring to Ismail, saying: “I’m one of hundreds who will cut people like that to pieces.” That post has since been deleted.

Several comments on Facebook reviewed by Al Jazeera also called for attacks on Ismail and said she should “be thrown out of the country”.

Islam is the official religion in the Indian Ocean archipelago of 400,000 people.


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