Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, the leading figure behind the Maktaba Salafiyya religious organization has denied that he was arrested along with three other locals in Indonesia. He stated that he was merely denied a visa and not allowed to enter the country.
Police stated last Sunday that information was received that four male Maldivians were arrested in Indonesia after traveling via Malaysia. According to the Police, they were all later released.
A statement by Police read that, four male Maldivians aged 46, 39, 36 and 34 were arrested in Indonesia. They were later released and had traveled back to the Maldives on February 15, 2020, according to the statement sent by Police spokesperson Izmia Zahir who also added that Police were further clarifying the matter.
It was reported that the four arrested included Sheikh Mohamed Hassan. However, speaking with “Sun” today, the scholar denied the statements saying that he was arrested.
“I enquired why were not allowed visas. They (Indonesian Immigration officials) told me that I had to return to the Maldives. For some reason, it was being suspended. Did not specify the reason. So we waited at the airport until we got a ticket. After the flight was arranged, we returned.” said Mohamed Hassan.
He also stated that he had visited the Police after returning and questioned why Police had misinformed the media and the public. Police had responded that they had not informed the media in that manner.
“They (Police) said they had not informed the media that anyone was arrested. They also said that they would provide a written document saying we were not arrested,” said Mohamed Hassan.
No word from the Police is available on the matter yet.
Mohamed Hassan said that he visited Indonesia on an invitation from friends but did not know the reason for the invitation.
Mohamed Hassan’s license to preach and conduct religious activities was also suspended in December of 2019 by the Islamic Ministry for allegedly creating controversy among the public regarding religious topics contested between scholars.
Mohamed Hassan stated that he was not notified of the suspension and had not been questioned by the Islamic Ministry in the two months that followed the suspension. He had also requested the Ministry as to why his license was suspended with a letter.
“The answer was that a matter was under investigation and the details of the investigation could be revealed if it (the reason for suspension) was divulged. For this reason, they said that they did not want to share the information,” said Mohamed Hassan regarding the response by the Ministry on the matter.
The license of two other scholars was also suspended along with Mohamed Hassan's. A statement by the Islamic Ministry then had read that the rhetoric of the two scholars had created divisions and polarization in the society and could influence and result in the commission of violent, cruel, degrading and inhumane acts by followers.
When contacted by "Sun", Islamic Ministry media officials stated that the official would reach out after clarifying the latest updates of the suspended scholars.
The Ministry had previously stated that discussions are to be held with the scholars and a changed behavior could see the decision to suspend the licenses overturned.