Republic of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, on the occasion of the country’s 51st Independance day celebrations, said that it was the aim of the government to ensure that each primary school graduate in the country reads the book of Holy Quran in its entirety, starting next year. He added the government gave top priority to teaching Islam in schools because it was imperative to teach Quran to establish a 'modern society'.
“It is important that the government ensures that all students in the country complete reading the Quran by the time they graduate primary school, starting from 2017,” said the President during the flag raising ceremony held on Monday night.
He admitted to the government being pressured to allow for religious freedom in the country, and also to receiving threats for trying to impose relgious prohibitions by teaching Islam in schools. The President, however, maintained that establishing Maldives Islamic University was a major step taken towards strengthening the hold of Holy Quran and Islam in the Maldivian society.
Former Maldivian president and leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, on the other hand, pointed to loss of religious sovereignity being a factor that could cost the country its independence.
“The country could lose its independence, not just from an attack from another army, but from wave of extremism that is spreading across the world,” he said.
In a press statement released on Monday, he pointed that political instability and influence of major economic powers were other factors that could shake the national unity.
“It’s stated in Article 4 of the Maldivian Constitution that all powers of the State stem from the people. And that these powers are maintained through the people. There are national and individual rights and freedom that are guaranteed. I note that the challenges to the independence of the country that have come from some Maldivians, and express sadness over the fact,” said Maumoon.
He said that preserving the independance and sovereignity was of the highest national interest.