Christianity in the Maldives

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Christianity is a minority religion in the Maldives. The Maldives are among the countries with the least tolerance towards Christians. According to the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, no religion other than Islam should be allowed in the Maldives. Public practise of the Christian religion is prohibited.

In the late 1990s, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs warned people that they would face arrest if they listened to radio programs broadcast in the Dhivehi language by the Far East Broadcasting Association, based in the Seychelles. In 1998, 50 Maldivian Christians were arrested and held on the prison island of Dhoonidhoo, and Christian foreigners who were suspected of missionary work were also expelled from the country.[1]

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (2nd edition), Volume 1, p. 480 the Church of South India, the Evangelical Mennonite Church and the Seventh-day Adventists are present in this country. Roman Catholics in the Maldives are covered by the Archdiocese of Colombo. It is also to be noted that the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith mentions that in 1833 after the consecration of Clément Bonnand as the Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry, he was authorized by the Holy See to send missionaries to the Maldive Islands where the Christian faith has not reached.[2]

Citizens of the Maldives who convert to Christianity lose their citizenship and risk torture. Expulsions of Christians occurred several times in the last 10 years. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom stated that the independence of the country is lost, if it is not entirely Muslim. The Maldivian High Commission in Colombo stated in 1998, that reports of persecution are wrong.[citation needed]

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