Wedding couple 'abused' by celebrant


A couple who believed they were renewing their wedding vows at a romantic resort in the Maldives were instead subjected to a tirade of abuse in the local language by the man conducting the 'ceremony', it has been claimed.

Government officials and tourism authorities expressed outrage after a video of the event surfaced on the Youtube website.

In the video, purportedly taken at the Vilu Reef Beach and Spa resort, a man performs a service in the native Dhivehi language, but is heard to call the English-speaking couple ‘infidel’ and ‘swine’ and declaring their marriage 'illegal'.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) said the couple was from Switzerland and quoted Vilu Reef general manager Mohamed Rasheed as saying the ceremony was held on October 11th.

International media organisations and local Minivan News transcribed a translation of the celebrant’s rants.

The video shows the couple sitting in a shelter on the beach, surrounded by people.

The bride is wearing a white dress and carrying a bouquet. Incense, documents and wedding rings lie on the table in front of the couple. The celebrant first explains the ceremony in English and then those gathered hold their hands up to pray.

Instead of prayers, however, the celebrant unleashes a wave of abuse about the couple in the Dhivehi language.

"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 Minivan newspaper quoted him as saying.

"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."

The camera focuses on the paperwork in front of him, which local media say was not a marriage document but employment contracts - he then begins to read from these.

The celebrant also makes references to bestiality, sexual diseases and "frequent fornication by homosexuals".

Later, as the couple plant a coconut tree together, various comments are made in Dhivehi about the bride's breasts.

Deputy tourism minister Ismail Yasir told the BBC most people in the Maldives were furious about what had taken place and he hoped the couple would be given compensation.

"We are embarrassed as well, and very outraged," he said of the tourism ministry.

Foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed said he was “shocked and horrified” to see the video.

"I could not see the entire video because my children were around and I did not want them to hear the bad language that was used,” he said.

Sun Investments, which owns the resort, issued a statement condemning the employees’ unforgivable” activity.

Mr Rasheed told AFP the company had apologised to the couple and had taken disciplinary action against those involved.