Maldives, South Asia
Political Leader: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Religions: Islam 99.4%, Buddhism 0.5%, Christianity 0.1%
Persecution Ranking: No. 5
Number of Terrorist Groups: None Listed
Acts of Terrorism: 1; Casualties: 0
Percent of Corruption: Insufficient Data to Rank
% of People in Poverty: 21%
The Maldives (or Maldive Islands), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located south of India's Lakshadweep islands, and about 435 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. The Maldives' twenty-six atolls encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, roughly two hundred of which are inhabited by local communities. The Maldives holds the record for being the flattest country in the world, with a maximum natural ground level of only 7½ feet.
Maldives extended strong support to U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and terrorist financing in 2001-02. On September 29, 2007 a bomb exploded in the capital Male injuring 12 foreign tourists.
Maldives is comprised of 99.4% Muslims and only 0.1% of the population are Christians. The smallest Asian country in terms of population, Maldives is also the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world. The 1997 Constitution designates Islam as the official state religion.
Challenges for Christians:
Maldives is ranked No. 5 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” Islam is the only recognized religion and all other religions are totally forbidden.
- Pray for the Ethiopian government continue to combat terrorism and terrorist financing.
- Pray that tourists and the tourist industry (which often brings in a sizeable amount of the country’s GDP) will put pressure on the governments to allow freedom of religion. Pray that the international community will not tolerate outbreaks of injustice and violence against Christians and will flood the U.N., U.S. Congress and European Union leaders with millions of letters crying out for justice for all citizens. (Amos 5:24)
- The few Christians in the Maldives are continually watched―they can't meet together and have to secretively read the Bible. Pray that their faith would be strong and that their relationship with God would be blessed.
- No Christian missionaries have ever been allowed into the Maldives. In 1998, 50 Maldivians suspected of being Christian were imprisoned and tortured. Pray for God to open the door for harvest workers to be allowed into the Maldives.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, The World Factbook