|Persecution Type:||Islamic Oppression|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Christians:||A Few Thousand, Unspecified|
|Leader:||President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih|
The Maldivian government insists that the country be run according to conservative Islamic tenets. Religious freedom does not extend to citizens, but expatriate Christians are allowed to practice their faith in the utmost privacy. Radical Islamic preachers exert strong control over social life, making it impossible for Christians to publicly acknowledge their Christian faith due to fear of being monitored and arrested.
The Maldives has one of the highest population densities worldwide, especially on its main island, Malé. The close-knit communities serve as natural watchdogs for any change in its members, including religious practice. 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 closely watched as well, making Christian fellowship very difficult.
Due to security issues and the small size of the Christian community living in the Maldives, examples of Christian persecution cannot be published.
In the Maldives, according to Article 9(d) of the Constitution, non-Muslims may not become a citizen and so if someone is found to have converted to Christianity, they will be stripped of his or her citizenship as well as punished for violating Sharia law. Therefore, it is not hard to imagine that pressure is extremely high and converts remain well hidden. Some Maldivian Christians have preferred to leave the islands and stay abroad due to the enormous pressure.
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