Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Eve

I know millions of people have been partying and having a good time in the past 24 hours (from a free party in Kent to Melbourne where 40,000 partied at Sensation rave at the Telstra Dome. So sorry for highlighting two bad news stories, one tragic, one farcical but with serious implications for people who live in the Maldives and enjoy dancing.

Thailand: 61 die in nightclub fire (Guardian, 1 January 2009)

'The death toll from a fire at a Bangkok nightclub, packed with New Year's Eve revellers, has risen to least 61 with 200 people injured... The cause of last night's fire was unclear; some clubbers blamed it on fireworks while others said it had been caused by an electrical fault in the Santika club. Video footage of the disaster showed bloodied, bruised and burned victims being dragged out of the still burning, two-story club, or managing to run through the door or shattered windows. "We were all dancing and suddenly there was a big flame that came out of the front of the stage and everybody was running away," Oh Benjamas told Reuters. Another survivor told how the ceiling caved in, burying victims in the rubble...'

Maldives: Islamists spoil the party

'Disco organisers have blamed the ministry of Islamic affairs for the poor turnout at their New Year’s Eve events after the ministry asked police to ban all discos on the night... Ibrahim Manik, the organiser of a disco held at Dharubaaruge hall said many young people were afraid to attend the discos after it was announced that they were illegal and would be stopped by police... Although the discos were not banned on the night, organisers say they were continually disrupted by police officers inspecting the venues every hour. Security was tight all over the Male', with hundreds of police officers patrolling the streets, in particular in areas where discos were being held... A 26-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named, said she was very annoyed with the ministry’s decision.“I can’t believe it. I planned to go to a disco but changed my mind when the announcements were made saying they were cancelled,” she said. Likewise, Seni Naim, 18, said her friends were planning to go to a disco but decided against it after the ministry’s announcement' (Maldives News, 1 January 2009).

The ministry of Islamic affairs appealed to the Maldives Police Service on Wednesday to end to all the discos organised for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Police sergeant Ahmed Shiyam confirmed Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, the minister of Islamic affairs, had made an official request to the police commissioner, Ahmed Faseeh, for police to take action regarding this matter... Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, the state minister of Islamic affairs, said the ministry had formally requested the police stop the discos from taking place because they were contrary to Islam. He added the ministry had received complaints from the public. “We have received hundreds of complaints asking for a ban on the DJs,” he said. “So, the number of people who are against having DJs is greater than the number who wants them. Even a police official has informed us that they have also been receiving complaints.” he said. According to Shaheem, it is haram or forbidden in Islam for both sexes to dance together (Maldives News, 31 December 2008).

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