Maldives resort in uproar over humiliation of tourists
Published 29/10/2010 | 05:00
A FOREIGN couple who paid hundreds of euros to renew their wedding vows in a supposedly traditional ceremony on a beach in the Maldives were unknowingly mocked and humiliated by the celebrant.
A video of the ceremony was then posted on the internet. "You are swine. The children that you bear from this marriage will all be bastard swine," the couple were told as they smiled and nodded.
"Your marriage is not a valid one. You are not the kind of people who can have a valid marriage. One of you is an infidel. The other, too, is an infidel and -- we have reason to believe -- an atheist, who does not even believe in an infidel religion."
The incident occurred at the Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort, which describes itself as "a luxurious emerald island poised amidst shimmering pools of turquoise and sapphire".
The resort offers an opportunity for loving couples to renew their vows "hand in hand against a golden sunset". It has since offered an apology for its staff's "unforgivable conduct".
A report on news website 'Minivan News' said that unknown to the unidentified European couple, they were repeatedly mocked in the local Dhivehi language. The couple were asked to get to their feet and were told: "You fornicate and make a lot of children. You drink and you eat pork. Most of the children that you have are marked with spots and blemishes ... these children that you have are bastards."
Reports suggest the man who conducted the ceremony at the resort, where rooms start at around €160 a night, was actually an assistant food and beverage manager. The hour-long vow renewal, which also includes a boat ride costs a reported €940. A set of photographs taken during the ceremony cost an additional €320.
Tourism is vital to the Maldives providing around 30pc of GDP. The country's Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed told reporters he was "horrified" when he learned of the incident. The Maldives Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents said: "If the couple learns of the humiliation they were subjected to, the Maldives' good name will be clouded." (© Independent News Service)