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Letter-writing Campaign Protesting Sonee’s Funding for Dr. Bilal Philips

May 27, 2010

27th May 2010

Mr. Moosa Kaleem
Sonee Building No7
Ibrahim Hassan Didi Magu
Male, Maldives

Dear Sir

Protect the Girl Child! Withdraw Support for The Call 2010!

We are a group of concerned citizens writing to voice our concern about your financial support for The Call 2010: Liv Islam organized by Jamiyathul Salaf, a wellknown extremist Wahabbi NGO in the Maldives.

In 2006, the Ministry of Gender and Family, which was abolished in 2008, conducted a study showing that one in three(1/3) women in the age group of 15 to 49 years reported some form of physical or sexual violence, at least once in their life time. One in five (1/5) of the women reported physical or sexual violence by a partner and one in nine (1/9) reported experiencing severe violence. More alarming is the statistic that one in six women (1/6) in Male and one in eight (1/8) women countrywide reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse under the age of 15 years. Of those women who took part in the survey, who had been pregnant at least once, six (6) percent reported having been physically or sexually abused during pregnancy. A survey reported that many respondents perceived women to be subordinate to men, and that men used Islam to justify restrictions of and violence against women.

According to Jamiyyathul Salaf The Call 2009 attracted a large public audience of eight thousand people. Television and Radio audiences were estimated to be a hundred thousand (approximately 30 percent of the population). In addition to this, four other events were held: one lecture held for students of Aminiya, Majeediya and CHSC for which attendance was mandatory; and a lecture aimed at women, which was held at Islamee Marukazu.

In these sermons, Dr. Philips preached that it was Islamic to marry off young girls as soon as they reached puberty, irrespective of their age. On the issue of women becoming heads of state, he said that although it was permissible in Islam for women to become heads of states, there were grave consequences. “It’s a fact,” he said, that rule by women ended in failure, pointing out that this was what the prophet Muhammad had warned us a long time ago.

The endorsement of a misogynic regressive interpretation of Islam, in a public lecture by Dr Philips, was condoned by Jamiyathul Salaf. The Ministry of Health and Family, UNICEF, Doctors Association, Child Protections Unit at the Maldives Police Services, Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Education and almost all the NGOs working on child rights in the Maldives remained silent, reluctant to be labeled as un-Islamic.

The Maldives is signatory to numerous international treaties protecting the girl child, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (signed: 1990; ratified: 1991),Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (ratified: 2005) and Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, (ratified: 2002) and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (adopted 2001). At a local level, the law on Protection of the Rights of the Child (1991), the Family Act (2000) and the Child Sex Abuse Act which codified child sex offenses in November 2009 all protect the rights of children in the Maldives in the form of bodily dignities and protection from harm, INCLUDING child marriages.

However, as of yet, there exist inadequate mechanisms to ensure child protection in all of the areas covered by the laws. Adding to this dilemma, the coordination for the implementation and monitoring of the conventions and laws is deficient within the government, leaving the most vulnerable children in our society exposed to child sexual abuse and minors being exposed to sexual assault under the legal guise of the so called ‘Islamic marriages’.

In this society, pedophilia is rampant and sexual assaulters and sympathizers of sexual assaulters who prey on minors often make the claim that a girl who has reached menarche is able to give consent to sexual activity. In the rare cases that make it to the courts, judges often rule in favor of the assailant.

Unless we as a society send a clear signal to those preying on minors, we will not be able to protect those children who are most vulnerable to being sexualized and harmed. We as a society need to step in and call for an IMMEDIATE stop to those among us who try to justify and rationalize sexual assault on minors in and outside the bounds of marriages. In an environment where sexualized violence towards children and minors are rampant, irresponsible preaching result in both intended and unintended repercussions that affect our young population. Laws and conventions cannot be implemented unless we as a society stand up to implement them.

It is in this spirit that we sincerely request that your company withdraw your funding support for The Call: Liv Islam 2010. We hope that you will refuse to associate your esteemed and well-placed brand of ‘Sonee’ business with calls for misogyny and regressive attitudes towards the Maldivian girl child. We trust that you will understand the gravity of this issue for us as mothers, women and citizens who are concerned with this trend becoming more and more prevalent in our society.

Respectfully yours

Rehendhi is a feminist movement operating in the Maldives:

Enough is Enough is an anti-extremist movement operating in the Maldives:

4 Comments leave one →
  1. maldivesresortworkers permalink
    May 27, 2010 8:34 am

    The point of all this raving about is because of hatred of islam. This is not a feminist issue. This is anti islamic rants common to many atheists and agnostics of this country. If this country goes down in the history as one more failed country, it would be because of the ones who rant about our culture and our religion. Islam never condoned violence against women or injustice. In the heyday of islam, wars were waged because the kuffar constructed and sang poetry which belittled muslim women. This was a time when the western church and clergy were debating weather women had souls or not. So this is not about feminism. This is about phobia of islam.

  2. handi dhonkamana permalink
    May 28, 2010 12:46 am

    Anti-Gay Campaign – SONEE HARDWARE


  1. Letter-writing Campaign Protesting Sonee’s Funding for Dr. Bilal Philips | Hilath Online
  2. Rehendhi A Minivan News Plot To Promote “National Sissyness” and “Lesbian Relations” « The Rainbow Maldivian

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