Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Saturday 17 March 2012
Lent Prayer - Maldives
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Maldives
|One of over 200 islands
that make up the Maldives
Image source: Sarah Ackerman, Flickr
The country’s law requires all citizens to be Muslims; non-Muslims may not vote or hold public positions. All government regulations are based on its interpretation of sharia. The media is banned from producing or broadcasting any programme “that humiliates Allah or his prophets or the holy Quran”. In October 2009 Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed, state minister of Islamic affairs, said that places of worship for non-Muslim religions could not be built in the country: “We will not accept it under any circumstances. It cannot be done. All Maldivians are Muslims.”
The very small number of indigenous Christians are ostracised, discriminated against and carefully watched. They practise their faith individually and in extreme secrecy for fear of being discovered. In 2010 a handful of Maldivians identified themselves as Christians in blogs.
Christians among the 100,000 foreign workers and 675,000 tourists who visit the island annually are allowed to practise their faith only in private. They may not share their faith with Maldivians or worship with them, and are immediately deported or arrested if caught. It is also illegal to carry or display in public books on religions other than Islam. In October 2011 a Christian teacher from India who was working in a school on Raa Attol was arrested for transferring Christian songs on to a school laptop and keeping a Bible in his home. At the time of writing he was still detained in prison.
We are called to speak out against the injustice and cruelty that is suffered by many of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world. This year Barnabas Fund has launched a petition called “Proclaim Freedom”, which speaks out on behalf of vulnerable and marginalised Christians who cannot speak for themselves. There is a petition form in the March/April edition of Barnabas Aid, or you can download one from our website, or downloaded and printed. . Could you take this to your small group or to church and ask ten of your friends to sign it? The more signatures we can get, the better!
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.