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A Story of Persecution in The Maldives- Shijo

June 5, 2013 by Open Doors in

 

Maldives

This photograph says so much- life is so restrictive for anyone who is not a Muslim in the Maldives. Things we wouldn’t even think twice about having could get someone in a great deal of trouble there.

Police in the island nation of the Maldives held a teacher from India for about 15 days before deporting him on Oct. 14 for having a Bible in his house. Shijo Kokkattu, a 30-year-old teacher at the Raafainu School in Raa Atoll, was arrested in late September after police found a Bible in his house during a raid.

Charging that Kokkattu was preaching his Christian faith in the Muslim nation, police took him to another island for interrogation and kept him in custody for more than two weeks. In September, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs published new regulations under the Protection of Religious Unity Act of 1994, signaling a renewed commitment to control unlicensed preaching of Islam and propagation of non-Islamic religions in the country. The Act outlaws promotion of anything that represents a religion other than Islam or any opinion that disagrees with Islamic scholars.

The new set of regulations maintains a longtime ban on propagation, display and expression of any religion other than Islam. The regulations state that only preachers licensed by the government are allowed to speak in public, and they must not create hatred towards people of any other religion – the latter stipulation has been criticized by members of Islamic organizations such as the Islamic Foundation of Maldives, who say that because the Quran speaks against Judaism and Christianity, they too should have the right to do so.

Any violation under the Act is punishable by an imprisonment of between two and five years, banishment or house arrest. Foreigners who are found proselytizing are to be deported, it says.

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