Fill 1

15

Score

77

Region

Asia

Persecution Type

Islamic oppression

Religion

Islam

Persecution Level

Very High

Population

459,000

Christian

A small number (Open Doors estimate)

Government

Presidential Republic

Leader

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

Profile of Persecution

Violence 0.4/16.7
Church Life 16.6/16.7
National Life 15.8/16.7
Community Life 13.9/16.7
Family Life 15.5/16.7
Private Life 15.4/16.7

What does persecution look like in Maldives? What is life like for Christians?

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.

What has changed in Maldives?

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.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

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.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Maldives?

Open Doors raises prayer support for believers in the Maldives.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).
Number of Christians statistic is an Open Doors estimate 

Pray for Maldives

  • Pray for the Lord to provide opportunities for believers to gather safely
  • Pray that God will use the Bible to powerfully strengthen, encourage and nurture the lives of believers
  • Pray that attitudes among government officials, especially President Solih, will soften towards Christians and other religious minorities.
  • Pray for the Christians among expatriate migrant workers, that they can be good witnesses of the hope they have in Christ.

Stories from Maldives

July 7, 2021

7 Vacation Paradises That Are No Holiday for Christians

Read More -

January 18, 2021

13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day

Read More -

June 1, 2020

7 World Watch List countries that might surprise you

Read More -