Maldives investigates activist group for 'slandering Islam'

Head of a Maldivian activist group says police have contacted her for an investigation into a report published by her organization which is purported to have slandered Islam

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The head of a Maldivian activist group said Thursday police contacted her as part of an investigation into a report published by her organization that has been accused of slandering Islam.

The Maldives government ordered the Maldivian Democracy Network to suspend its activities a week ago because of its 2016 report on religious radicalization in the Indian Ocean archipelago. The group's executive director, Shahinda Ismail said the report has been on the group's website for three years.

"I have been contacted by police. They wanted to have my address because they want to send me summons," Ismail said by telephone from Germany where she is studying. She said police asked her to present herself for an inquiry within 14 days of receiving the summons.

The government spokesman, Ibrahim Hood, could not immediately comment because he was in a meeting.

The government said last week that there is widespread public condemnation of the report because of "content slandering Islam and Prophet Mohamed."

The report examined school text books for each grade on how Islam is taught and how some Friday sermons allegedly incited hate and intolerance. It also said more than 90 percent of people interviewed supported the implementation of flogging, stoning to death, death penalty and amputations as punishments in the Maldives.

It was unclear why the investigation was initiated three years after the report was published, but Ismail speculated that it may have happened because some preachers who criticized it and demanded an investigation are named in the report for allegedly promoting extremism. The Maldives' anti-terror law was recently amended to criminalize any form of support for extremism and radicalization.

The Maldives, known for luxury island resorts, is a Sunni Muslim nation where practicing and preaching other faiths are banned by the constitution.

The country of 400,000 people was also known to have had the most foreign fighters per capita in Syria.