The Parliament, on Tuesday, passed the government bill amend the Penal Code to criminalize acts of hate.
The Judiciary Committee, which reviewed the bill, sponsored by Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain, presented its report to the parliament floor on Tuesday. The committee had combined another bill, submitted by Hisaan in July, to the original bill.
The bill was passed in the afternoon with the vote of 50 parliamentarians in attendance. No parliamentarian voted against the bill.
The bill declares accusing a specific person of violating Islam or standing against Islam in public, inciting hatred against a specific person within the community by citing Islamic faith, and accusing, describing or taking part in describing a Muslim as a kafir in public are as acts of hate.
The committee made four amendments during its review.
NO BARRIER TO STATING A HADD PRESCRIBED UNDER SHARIA
One of the amendments was to declare that describing or accusing a person of being a kafir or apostate in public, or taking part in describing or accusing a person of being a kafir or apostate in public is a criminal offense, unless the person carries out an act of kufr or explicitly utters words of kufr.
The committee said they made the change to detail circumstances in which describing or accusing a person of violating Islam or being a kafir or an apostate can be considered a criminal offense.
An amendment was also added to the bill, which removes obstacles from stating what the Quran or Sunnah prescribes in various matters.
DISPARAGING REMARKS AGAINST ISLAM A CRIME
The committee also added an amendment to criminalize making disparaging remarks against the religion of Islam.
The amendment states that spreading or taking part in spreading misinformation regarding Almighty Allah, Quran, Prophet Mohamed, Sunnah, or the religion of Islam through communication devices or any other medium is a criminal offense.
The bill also details some of the terms on the bill, adding TV, radio, phone, social media and other communication channels to the word “public”.
The terms “acts of kufr” and “words of kufr” will be considered acts and words undisputed among Islamic scholars who adhere to Sunnah.
Meanwhile, “apostasy” will be considered acts and words undisputed among Islamic scholars who adhere to Sunnah and where it is proven in a court in accordance with Islamic Sharia.