There are estimated to be a very small number of Christians in the Maldives. The vast majority of people living there are Muslim.
What does persecution look like in Maldives?
The Maldives are viewed by many as a luxury holiday destination, but behind the beauty of this island paradise lies a strict Islamic regime. This chain of nearly 1,200 islands has one of the highest population densities worldwide, especially on its main island, Malé. The close-knit, homogeneous communities keep a close watch on their members for any sign of deviation – which naturally includes religious choice. All politicians relentlessly claim that they are keeping the Maldives 100 percent Muslim, leaving effectively no space for any alternative.
Conversion to Christianity can easily result in being reported to Muslim leaders or authorities. Expatriate Christians, most of them working in the tourist sector and coming from India and Sri Lanka, are also closely watched, making Christian fellowship very difficult.
Persecution mainly takes place away from the eyes of international tourists the country’s economy depends on. A church life in the true meaning of the word is virtually impossible. Converts go to great lengths not to be discovered by their families and communities. They would not only face strong opposition and pressure to return to Islam, but could even lose their citizenship.
What has changed compared to last year?
The Maldives’ place on the World Watch List remains virtually unchanged, demonstrating that very little has altered in the past year. The new government, inaugurated in November 2018, clearly shows no signs of hesitation in its determination to keep the islands entirely free from religious influence that’s not Islamic.
Open Doors raises prayer support for believers in the Maldives.
- Pray for the Lord to provide opportunities for believers to gather safely
- Pray that God will use the Bible to powerfully strengthen, encourage and nurture the lives of believers
- Pray that attitudes among government officials, especially President Solih, will soften towards Christians and other religious minorities.
Lord Jesus, we pray for our brothers and sisters in the Maldives who are courageously following You in secret, despite the dangers they face. Thank You that You know each one by name and love them dearly. Protect, help and encourage them and provide ways for Christians to meet safely. Soften the heart of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih towards Christians. Amen.