Maldives

98.4% Muslims, 1.6% Others.

The Constitution of the Maldives identifies Islam as the official state religion, and the government and many citizens at all levels interpret this provision as to impose the demand, that all citizens must be Muslim. The constitution states that the president must be a Sunni Muslim. Article 9, Section D of the Constitution states that a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives.

Shari’a Traditional Islamic Law forms the Maldives’ Code of Fundamental Rights, which is interpreted by the President, the Attorney General, the Ministry of the Interior and the Parliament to conform to local Maldivian conditions. On the inhabited islands, the mosque is the central place where Islam is practiced. Because Friday is the most important day for Muslims to visit the mosque, shops and offices in towns and villages close around 11 am, and the sermon begins at 12:30 pm.

Adhan (prayer) sessions are held five times a day. Mudimu, the tutors of the mosque, call. Sounds odd in english. “Call citizens to prayer” is what we would say. Most shops and offices close after every call for 15 minutes. During the ninth Muslim month of Ramadan, cafes and restaurants are closed during the day and working hours are limited.

There is no freedom of religion or belief. This situation leads to institutionally sanctioned religious oppression of non-Muslims and ex-Muslims who are currently in the country.

Apostasy is forbidden and punishable by death. It is illegal to advocate secularism or the separation between church and state.

On 27 April 2014, the Maldives ratified a new decree for the reestablishment of the death penalty (which was abolished in 1953 at the last execution) for a series of Hudud offenses, including apostasy by persons aged 7 years and above. The new regulation has been severely criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Representative of the EU. She pointed out that she had ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the Maldives, which prohibit the execution of persons for crimes before the age of 18.

On July 14, 2010, Maldivian news site Minivan News reported that 25-year-old air traffic controller Ismail Mohamed Didi had sent two e-mails on June 25 to an international human rights organization stating that he was an atheist ex-Muslim and that he Wanted help with his asylum application (addressed to the UK). This happened after he had “foolishly admitted my attitude to religion” two years earlier to his colleagues, which had “spread like wildfire” and led to increased repression by colleagues, relatives and even closest friends who avoided him. and he got anonymous death threats over the phone. On the same day the report was published, Didi was found hanged in an apparent suicide at his workplace in the aircraft control tower of Malé International Airport. (Wikipedia)

In June 2014, several alleged atheists and homosexuals in Malé were arrested and intimidated by large groups of about 40 men in a series of abductions. The abductees were interrogated about their beliefs, tested for passages from the Koran and asked to recite the Shahadha (Islamic Creed). The men were accused of atheism and homosexuality and threatened with death. They were forced to hand over their Facebook account passwords and were pressured to identify the administrators of the “Secular Democratic Maldives Movement” and “Maldivian Atheists” on Facebook. (IHEU)

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