A YOUNG Muslim, who had been investigated by his employers at Male International Airport in the Maldives for apostasy, was found hanged from the airport’s control tower yesterday.
The death of Ismail Mohamed Didi, a 25 year-old air traffic controller, prompted deep concern on the Islamic website Raajjeislam which Â reported that Ismail “was a person inclined to atheism” and had:
Declared his atheism to his friends.
The website alleged that Ismail had refused to follow religious sermons.
This is an issue that a Muslim government should consider. Because when these types of people die, they are buried in the same [cemetery] where Muslims are buried. Their funeral prayers and body washing are also conducted as for Muslims. It is questionable as to whether this is allowed according to Islam.
In two emails sent to an international humanitarian organisation on June 23 and 25, Ismail admitted he was an atheist and desperately requested assistance for a UK asylum application. He claimed to have received several anonymous threats on June Â 22. One of his emails is reproduced in this report.
In the emails, he said he “foolishly admitted my stance on religion” to work colleagues, word of which had “spread like wildfire.”
A lot of my close friends and girlfriend have been prohibited from seeing me by their parents. I have even received a couple of anonymous phone calls threatening violence if I do not repent and start practising Islam â€¦
I cannot bring myself to pretend to be I am something I am not, as I am a staunch believer in human rights. I am afraid for my life here and know no one inside the country who can help me.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Managing Director of the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), confirmed that Ismail had been the subject of an internal investigation last monthÂ regarding his professed apostasy.
I believe his family were also concerned, and tried to give him counselling through religious leaders.
Management decided it was outside our mandate and referred the matter to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs – we haven’t got a reply. Professionally we took no action – he was a good worker.
A colleague of Ismail’s told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that his colleagues had learned he was an atheist “more than a year ago”, and while they did not care whether or not he believed in God, “some became irritated at the way he openly insulted God.”
A complaint was made to the airport company’s human resources department. Based on their report – I saw a copy of the final version a month ago – they found that although he was an atheist, he was not propagating his belief in the workplace and so no action would be taken.