This was not what I expected to find while looking for pictures of a country wherein people are persecuted for their faith. Yet when I Googled “Maldives” for a picture, the majority of the photos were of crystalline waters, resort huts, and newlywed couples on romantic snorkel explorations. It just goes to show that evil can live in all places, and any place where evil lives can be grossly misrepresented. It all depends on where your focus lies.
“To many, the Maldives are a paradise on earth attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. But a campaign of violent repression this year has shattered this idyllic image, exposing a human rights crisis that has gripped the country since President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in February 2012. As this document shows, the police and military have frequently attacked peaceful demonstrators since then. The government of the Maldives has a responsibility under its Constitution to prevent the country slipping back into the old pattern of repression and injustice.” –Amnesty International
“The Maldives is a string of 1,191 islands in the Indian Ocean. Its culture is a blend of influences from southern India, Sri Lanka, East Africa and Arabic countries. Islam is the only recognized religion, and strict adherence is strongly promoted as Islamic conservatism continues to grow. In order to minimize outside influence on Muslim communities, foreigners are allowed only brief visits to the Maldives. The biggest challenges facing the government are a growing heroin addiction problem and youth gangs. Out of 10 people groups, five are unreached by the gospel.
Category: Restricted Nation Religion: Muslim 99.0%, Buddhist 0.4%, Christian 0.2% Ideology: Islam Head of State: President Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed
Maldives is one of the least evangelized countries in the world. The 0.2% figure for Christians refers to expatriate Christians. All citizens must be Muslim, and converts lose citizenship. The constitution, ratified in August 2008, is based on the common Maldivian assumption that any citizen of the Maldives is automatically a Muslim and non-Muslims may not become citizens. Maldivian believers are carefully watched. They suffer ostracism, and they cannot meet or read the Scriptures openly.
The Minister of Islamic Affairs announced in July 2009 that GOD TV, a Christian cable station, would be blocked in the country. In 2010, authorities transported an Indian expatriate teacher off the island where she was teaching for her own safety after parents accused her of drawing a cross on the board. A 30-year-old Indian teacher was imprisoned in October 2011 after authorities found a Bible and other Christian paraphernalia in his home.”
–Voice of the Martyrs
“All citizens must be Muslims in this archipelago. Legislation forbids the practice of any religion except Islam; churches are forbidden; and the import of Christian literature is prohibited. New regulations governing religious practice were unveiled by the government in 2010, and stricter policies were also imposed on tourists after some were caught bringing in Bibles. The few indigenous believers are isolated from one other and are monitored both by the authorities and the locals.
• That believers will have discernment and courage to witness to those who are earnestly seeking the truth • For the many children growing up in broken families, without good role models to emulate • Ask the Lord to provide ways for Christians to meet for fellowship despite the restrictions.”
–Open Doors International