How many Christians are there in the Maldives?
There are estimated to be a very small number of Christians – numbering a few hundred – in the Maldives. The vast majority of people living there are Muslim.
How are Christians persecuted in the Maldives?
Government officials in Maldives proudly emphasise that the country is 100 per cent Muslim. Conversion to another religion will be reported to Muslim leaders or the authorities; non-Muslims can also lose their citizenship. Being known as a Christian is so dangerous that there is no ability to meet as a fellowship community – whole families may be Christian without ever knowing the rest of their family shares their faith. This lack of Christian support stifles believers’ spiritual growth.
Believers in the Maldives who are migrant workers are also watched by authorities, making it difficult for even foreign Christian workers to meet together. And even more Muslim extremist groups have returned to the country, placing Christian converts at further risk.
What’s life like for Christians in the Maldives?
The level of pressure on Christians remained very high. Converts have no space at all to live out their Christian faith. The new government, which took over in mid-November 2018, has made no tangible improvements as regards freedom of religion and is more focused on internal political struggles.
Women have no choice but to conform and wear Islamic clothing. If they don't, they will be confronted and harassed. Methods used to bring a female convert back to Islam include forced marriage, threats, verbal abuse and other violence. Exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdowns, domestic violence toward women and children continues to escalate.
If a man is found to be a secret believer, he is likely to be threatened, assaulted physically and may be imprisoned. If he’s imprisoned, his entire family will suffer from lack of financial and emotional support. Children of Christian parents are likely to face bullying at school. For many Christians, the only option is to leave the country.
How can I help Christians in the Maldives?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in the Maldives. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors raises prayer support for believers in the Maldives.
Father God, enlighten and encourage secret believers in the Maldives as they reach out to You in faith. Embolden expatriate Christians working there to reveal Your heart toward everyone they encounter. Move the hearts of government officials, ultimately allowing Christians to worship openly and minister throughout the country. In Jesus’ name, amen.