15Last year’s rank
Hundreds (Open Doors estimate)Main Religion
Maldives is considered a 100% Sunni Muslim country, so any deviation is taken seriously. No religious minorities are recognised by the state, and every citizen is considered Muslim – so Christian converts have to follow Jesus in the greatest secrecy. If discovered, they are very likely to be reported to the authorities and can be stripped of their citizenship or even given the death penalty.
Even foreign Christians working in the tourist sector are closely watched – they can only meet up for worship or weddings in a private place and must not express or discuss their faith with local citizens. If they do, they may be fined, deported or even imprisoned.
The Maldives is made up of very close-knit communities, making it very difficult to talk to or meet up with anybody secretly. Christian faith must be kept so private that two members of the same family could be believers without the other ever knowing. Mutual encouragement and fellowship is a huge challenge, and many Christians – and members of other religious minorities – will attempt to leave and start a new life abroad.
For religious freedom to come to the Maldives
For ways for believers to safely communicate and access Bible materials
That Christians feeling isolated will know God’s presence and love.