The Islamic affairs ministry sent a circular “to all government institutions banning the holding of any mixed-gender dance events,” the private Minivan newspaper said, quoting guidelines issued on Thursday.
ministry also ordered a ban on events where adolescent girls were required to dance, the report said, adding that the directives were intended for both state bodies and individual citizens.
It was not immediately clear if the move was legally enforceable under existing regulations, and Minivan said there were exemptions.
Events such as children’s activities, performances exhibiting military skills, parades, playing the national anthem, boy scouts and girl guides performances... were acceptable forms of entertainment,” it said.
There was no immediate comment from the president’s office or the foreign ministry, but Youth Affairs Minister Mohamed Shareef said the "guidelines" were only targeting “indecent” behavior.
“There is a public debate on music and dance and what is permissible according to religion and culture,” Shareef said when contacted by telephone.“What the guidelines are saying is that if people are dancing in an indecent manner, it should not be allowed.”
Members of the Adhaalath Party (fashioned after Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood), and the Islamists of the Maldives, form the bulk of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which recently declared that music is a very bad influence on the nation's youth.
"The worst of all is our youth’s addiction to music and songs, something that is 'haram' (forbidden),” the party said in messages on its Twitter account which also condemned homosexuals.
Cigarettes, music and Internet are gateways to higher addictions like alcohol, pornography and hard drugs. Attack root cause and save our kids.”
They have a Twitter account?
The hardliners have also been trying to shut down all those fancy tourist resorts that serve pork and alcohol, but naturally the more secular types have refused, at least so far. They realize that with approximately 28% of the GDP coming from tourism, and a whopping 90% of the government's tax revenue derived from tourist taxes and import duties, they need to keep those sun and sand worshippers coming.
Who knows what will come next, but it will come. The trouble in paradise started early this year, and will only get worse.