Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain has submitted a bill to revise the Penal Code in order to criminalize accusing, describing or taking part in describing a Muslim as a kafir or infidel in public.
Hisaan has proposed adding a clause under Section 124 on hate crimes.
The list of hate crimes on the bill are codified as Class 1 felonies and includes accusing a specific person of violating Islam or standing against Islam in public, creating hatred against a specific person within the community by citing Islamic faith, and accusing, describing or taking part in describing a Muslim as a kafir in public.
The Penal Code prescribes a maximum sentence of one year in prison for Class 1 felonies. The standard sentencing requirement is four months and 24 days in prison, and the mandatory minimum sentencing requirement is one month and six days in prison.
The bill also criminalizes accusing a Muslim of being a kafir combined with calling for, encouraging or taking part calling for violence against a person. The charge is codified as a Class 5 felony – which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and minimum sentence of nine months and 18 days in prison.
The bill codifies accusing a Muslim of being a kafir and committing violence, taking part in committing violence or conspiring to commit violence against a person, as well as committing physical violence, taking part in committing physical violence or conspiring to commit physical violence against a person based on their political beliefs as a Class 4 felony.
Such crimes carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison and a minimum sentence of one year and seven months in prison.
Additional acts listed as hate crimes include committing physical violence, attempting to commit physical violence or encouraging physical violence against a person based on their race, nationality or skin color.
The bill prescribes a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if violence based on race, nationality or skin color results in death of the victim, and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if the violence involves kidnapping, sexual assault, or death threats.
The first reading of the bill was held at the Parliament earlier this Monday.