World Watch List Rank: 7
Leader: President Abdulla Yameen Population: 333,000 (Several Christians) Main Religion: Islam Government: Republic Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism
To be Maldivian is equated with being Muslim, so officially there are no Maldivian Christians, only expat Christians. The government sees itself as the protector of Islam and the law prohibits conversion to other faiths; those who do so face losing citizenship. There is extensive social control over all individuals to correct any deviation from the path of Islam. This pressure is mirrored within families and communities. Consequently, there are no church gatherings or buildings and the few Maldivian Christians hide their faith to avoid being discovered.
- For encouragement and fellowship for the very few believers, who are extremely isolated
- Christian literature is forbidden. Pray that doors will open to God’s Word
- That the new president, elected in November 2013, will bring greater freedom to the people of this island.
Christianity in the Maldives is split into groups of expat Christians and a very small group of local Christians. Although both groups have very limited freedom to worship, expat Christians are at least able to meet in embassies if they live in the capital. Maldivian Christians do not have any freedom at all. They are victims of every kind of persecution and driven deeply underground.
There is extensive social control to keep watch over every individual to correct any deviation from the path of Islam. The official import of Scriptures and Christian literature is impossible. Even tourists have reported getting into trouble having a personal copy of the Bible with them.
As the population density is extremely high, there is virtually no privacy. Christians face huge pressure from both family and community. Consequently, there are no church gatherings and buildings in the Maldives and Christians take every precautionary measures possible to avoid being discovered.Some Christians who were discovered had to flee abroad. In one case, a wife was heavily beaten and abused when her husband discovered her conversion.
Translating the Scriptures into the language of the Maldives (Divehi) has run into problems with a lack of helpers to check comprehension.