Maldives

World Watch Ranking: 16

How many Christians are there in Maldives?

There are estimated to be a few hundreds of Christians in the Maldives. The vast majority of Maldivians are Muslim.

What does persecution look like in Maldives?

Government officials in Maldives proudly emphasize that the country is 100% Muslim. Locals are on the watch for anything that deviates from Maldivian belief, particularly conversion from Islam to another faith. Conversion will be reported to Muslim leaders or authorities; non-Muslims can also lose their citizenship. For these reasons, being known as a Christian is so dangerous that there is no ability to meet as a fellowship community, which means that whole families may be Christian without ever knowing the rest of their family shares their faith. This lack of Christian support stifles believers' spiritual growth. 

Most Christians in Maldives are India and Sri Lanka nationals who have come to work in the tourism industry. These believers are also watched by authorities, making it difficult for even foreign migrant Christians to fellowship. Although the Islamic culture is ultra-conservative, even more Muslim extremist groups have returned to the country, placing Christian converts at further risk. 

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Made up of nearly 1,200 islands just southwest of India in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is a luxury destination for travellers around the world. To avoid international scrutiny, persecution takes place outside of the islands reserved for international tourists. At all times, any believer who has converted from Islam is in imminent danger of exposure and punishment from both state and community. 

What has changed compared to last year?

The level of pressure on Christians remained very high. Converts have no space at all to live out their Christian faith and expatriate Christians (often migrant workers) lack possibilities for worshiping together without fearing arrest and deportation. The new government, which took over in mid-November 2018, has made no tangible improvements regarding freedom of religion and is more focused on internal political struggles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Christian expatriates returned to their home countries; however, with the gradual reopening of the tourist sector, they are slowly returning to the pressure cooker of the Maldives.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Maldives?

Open Doors raises prayer support for believers in the Maldives. 

How can you pray for the Maldives?

  • Pray for believers in Maldives who must sustain their faith in isolation and secrecy. Ask God to fill their hearts with the sense of His presence and care.
  • Pray that President Solih and his government would soften their stance toward Christians and other religious minorities—as they realize that diversity enriches the country's national culture.
  • Ask God to guide and protect expatriate believers as they interact with tourists and Maldivian residents. Pray they will be salt and light that draw people to Jesus. 
a Prayer for the Maldives

Dear Father, You've called believers to fellowship and draw strength from each other, and yet there are places like Maldives where gathering physically or virtually is impossible. Send Your Holy Spirit to enlighten and encourage secret believers as they reach out to You in faith. Embolden expatriate Christians working there to reveal a servant's heart toward all they encounter. Move the hearts of government officials, ultimately allowing Christians to worship openly and minister throughout the country. In Jesus' name, Amen.


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Map thumbnail
Persecution Level

Very High


Persecution Type
  • Islamic oppression
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Organized corruption and crime
Population of Christians
Hundreds (OD estimate)

Main Religion
Islam

Government
Islamic Republic

Leader
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih