Intense persecution is faced by the underground community of Christians living on the small island nations of the Maldives. The country claims to be 100% Muslim and deviation from this is often met with hostility. The Maldives ranks 13th in Open Doors list of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians. Recently, a liberal blogger was found stabbed to death in is apartment after he openly criticized the spread of radical Islam in the Maldives.
04/30/2017 Maldives (Christian Post) – This small nation of nearly 1,200 islands southwest of India looks like paradise to tourists with its crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and bright blue skies.
But images can be deceiving.
This is the Republic of Maldives, a country that boasts of having a “100 percent” Muslim population since all its citizens are required to believe only in the Islamic faith, according to Open Doors USA.
The picturesque nation may be a fantastic holiday destination for Western tourists, but it is also where followers of Jesus Christ face the greatest persecution, ranking 13th on the Open Doors World Watch List of the top 50 Christian-persecuting countries.
In this country, conversion to another faith or any deviation from Islam is strictly prohibited by law.
Just how severe the backlash is when one goes against Islam was demonstrated on Sunday when a liberal blogger who had been criticizing the Maldivian government and the spread of radical Islam in the country was stabbed to death in his apartment in the capital Male on Sunday, the New York Times reported.
Yameen Rasheed, the 29-year-old blogger, was interviewed by the Times earlier this year and revealed he had received multiple death threats because of what he had been writing.
Even though it is populated by fewer than 400,000 people, Maldives has become a source of recruits for the Islamic State (ISIS) in its jihad campaigns in the Middle East. The Maldivian government said at least 49 of its citizens had traveled to Syria to fight with the group. A 2015 study by an international security firm said the number was about 200, according to the Times.
The Maldivians have traditionally been liberal in their interpretation of Islam, with the women not covering their heads. However, a more conservative strain of Islam has reportedly spread in the islands in recent years.