“You homosexual atheists are destroying our country – we will not stand back and watch you do it,” the attackers said, accusing the men of “homosexuality” and” atheism.”
The incident took place in the capital Male on June 8 when a group of eight friends were meeting for breakfast a after a session at the gym, according to atheistrepublic.com.
The leader of the attackers, a man dressed in Arabic clothes approached the group and criticized then for wearing shorts and not covering their awra (intimate parts) before asking him to recite the Shahada (Islamic creed).
After this the man and his accomplices attacked the group of friends and threatened to slaughter them on the streets if they were seen again.
Media also reported of another vigilante group abducting individuals who have been advocating gay rights and secularism on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
These individuals were also interrogated about their Islamic faith after being accused of being gay and atheists.
According to local media, these incidents took place after a Facebook page called Colorless, created by LGBT activists, was hacked into on June 8.
The Facebook page was immediately deleted and a group calling itself Shariah4Maldives began a campaign for the removal of all anti-Islamic content on the internet.
However, media reported that the group did not admit to being involved in any vigilante activity in Male but have reported that both President’s office and police authorities have refused to comment about the attacks.
Maldives is a staunchly Muslim island state southwest of India and here people more than 99 per cent Muslim and where same-sex relations is strictly prohibited. It uses Sharia law to penalize same-sex relations with death, whippings, house arrest, deportation, and up to six years in jail. Gender identity and expression other than that of one’s birth is also illegal.
Maldives is notorious for vigilante attacks and executions against the LGBT community.