A. THE COUNTRY
The Republic of Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both
population and land area. Located southeast of Sri Lanka in the Indian
Ocean, the Maldive islands are 1200 coral islands, with only 202 islands
inhabited. The government, a multiparty democracy, desires to change
the country’s previous poor human rights record. However, freedom of
expression and belief is strongly curtailed by powerful societal and
regulatory forces. Tourism and fishing dominate the economy. Lack of
fertile soil and fresh water and the high population density keep most
people at subsistence level. The 2004 tsunami damaged significant
agricultural and tourism infrastructure.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~317,000 and official language Dhivehi of Sanskrit
origin. Population figures for the Maldives section generally do not
include non-Maldavians. ~80% are Indigenous, ~20% Foreign. Maldives
has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, rising crime and gang
activity, abuse of children and endemic drug use among teens.
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY
Islam is the only recognized religion. The open practice of all other
religions is forbidden, and Maldivians practising Christianity can
expect intense persecution. Almost all adherents to religions other
than Islam are foreigners.
~99.04% are Muslim, ~0.4% Buddhist, ~0.35% Hindu, ~0.17% claim to be
Christian, ~0.04% Non-religious.
In the Christian category:
~0.09% are Catholic, ~0.06% Protestant, ~0.02% Independent.
Evangelicals represent ~0.1% of the population.
Charismatics represent <0.1% if the population.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.