Maldivian Man Attacked By Crowd For Disbelief In Islam

In a country where being a non-Muslim is illegal:

MALE, May 29, 2010 (HNS) – A Maldivian man was assaulted Friday evening, after he declared his atheist status to the public during the Q&A session of a lecture given by visiting Indian scholar Dr Zakir Naik.

Mohamed Nazim, 37, said although he was born to a practicing Muslim family and his parents taught him Islam, he was “struggling to believe in religions,” and asked Naik about his “verdict in Islam.”

“Dr Zakir Naik. I am a Maldivian. I am still struggling to believe in religion. That is why I just came to the front of this row. I was born a Maldivian. My parents taught me the religion of Islam. They are good practitioners, actually. I read a lot of books. I have read the translation of Quran. Yet, I still do not believe in a religion. So what do you say, [about] my verdict in Islam? Because Maldives is definitely a Muslim state,” Nazim asked.

When the moderator asked to repeat the question, he said, “My question is I am a Maldivian. I do not believe in religion. What do you think my verdict would be, since Maldives is 100 percent Muslim, as many claim? But I do not believe so.”

Nazim’s question sparked comments of hatred from an angry crowd of around 11,000 with many calling to kill him and attack him, while Naik was answering the question.

Several people rushed towards Nazim, who was sitting at a back row after moving away from the microphone, as an official of the Islamic Ministry tried to escort him out. Police, however, came between Nazim and the crowd and escorted him into custody.

When Police took Nazim to the second block of nearby police building Iskandharu Koshi, the crowd gathered outside the place and demanded his handover. They shouted anti-atheism slogans and called for Nazim’s beheading.

The constitution stipulates Maldives citizens must be Muslims.


When Nazim asked “Does the [penalty] of apostasy come on me?” and “Do you think I was a Muslim because I was born to Muslim parents?” Naik said that according to Prophetic traditions, every child is born as a Muslim and that a Muslim is one who submits his/her will to God. In Islam, death penalty should not necessarily be evoked on every person who leaves Islam, but to those who propagate the non-Islamic faith and speak against Islam, he added.

Oh good, you’re allowed to leave Islam, but don’t you dare speak out against it or you’ll lose your head.  How tolerant.

Naik stressed that Nazim was “deviated from Islam” by reading the “wrong books.” He requested Nazim to read the correct books on Islam and translation of Quran and said that by the grace of God, he will come back to the right path.

More here.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Ex-Muslim

    No, not allowed to leave Islam. He said “Not necessarily.” This is an area where Muslim scholars from or who interact with the west (and Zakir Naik isn’t in that league, by a long shot) tend to get cagey bc they know such a thing is not acceptable in western culture but they are afraid to say something “wrong,” and appear to be “changing the religion,” supposedly a major sin in Islam (so sayeth the scholars). Most of them don’t have the balls to say what they might really believe, also, which is that yes, we should all have our heads chopped off, even if we leave Islam to go on living peaceful lives and never speak out or say anything against Islam. They may qualify this, as if we should be so grateful, by saying that without the existence of the caliphate the punishment for apostasy cannot be carried out bc Sunni Islam is *all about* adherence to (Islamic) authority and following the rules of those in authority. Our mere existence is offensive to allah, in the minds of many of these jokers and in the minds of many everyday Muslims. Including, far too often, the nice guy who sits next to you at work.

    • Daniel Fincke

      This is why ex-Muslims, such as yourself, have the greatest respect from me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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