Background on Religious Persecution in Maldives

According to an official statement of the Maldive government, "Maldives
being a 100% Muslim country, the national religion is Islam. Islam is
the religion of the State and the backbone of the society. It was
during 1153 AD that the then King of the Maldives accepted Islam and
declared it to be the religion throughout his domain." 

The U.S. State Department describes the current situation thus: "Islam
is the [Maldives] state religion and all citizens are required to be
Muslims. The practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited by
law. However, foreign residents are allowed to practice their religion
if they do so privately. Conversion from Islam may result in loss of
citizenship, but this law has never been applied in practice." 

There are only a handful of native Christian believers, all converts
from Islam, and the Maldivian security police are extremely watchful and
wary of Christianity. The situation in the islands is similar to that
in Saudi Arabia. 

Below is a report we recently received from the Evangelical Alliance of
Sri Lanka, giving some details of what is happening there now. Do keep
the imprisoned believers there in your prayers. We also recommend that
you express your concern tactfully but firmly by writing to the Maldives
government at the addresses below. 

The High Commissioner
Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the UN
820 Second Ave. Suite 800C
New York, NY 10017 

Fax: 212-661-6405

Return to Project Open Book