Maldives rejects dancing ban, vows 'tolerant society'
COLOMBO (AFP) - The Maldives government on Sunday rejected a ban on dancing in public between men and women called by its own Islamic Affairs ministry and pledged that the honeymoon hotspot would remain a beacon of tolerance.
Presidential spokesman Abbas Riza said a circular issued by the ministry prohibiting dancing between men and women was not enforceable as it had no basis in Maldivian law.
"There has not been and never will be a ban on dancing," Mr Abbas told AFP in an e-mailed statement. "Under the constitution, no one could enforce or prohibit any freedom unless under a law."
"The Maldives will always be a very tolerant society (which is an) example to the world." It was the first formal government reaction to the ministry circular to all state institutions and the media banning the holding of any mixed-gender dance events.