A small number (Open Doors estimate)
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
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.
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.
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.
Open Doors raises prayer support for believers in the Maldives.