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Maldives and Sharia

Reader comment on item: [Paul H. Robinson:] U Penn Prof for Shari'a

Submitted by Vijay Dandapani (United States), Jul 26, 2004 at 09:31

Daniel Pipes is being unduly critical of Professor Robinson's involvement in the drawing up of a new criminal code for the Maldives. The history of the Maldives is one of tolerance of other beliefs and faiths - symbols of which include near total literacy and the non-seclusion of women unlike other Islamic nations. Besides the local language - unrelated to either Arabic or Urdu - most locals speak English. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that Sharia as envisioned by either the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia or the the Deobandis of Pakistan will take root.

The Maldives does require all citizens to be Muslims but their notion of Islam diverges sharply from the oppresive and arguably inhumane variety the West is familiar with. It may not be too much to hope for a new more liberal Sharia in the Maldives to be a model for the benighted peoples of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

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