Freedom of religion in the Maldives

Freedom of religion in the Maldives
The 1997 Constitution of the Maldives designates Islam as the official state religion. The Government interprets this provision to impose a requirement that citizens be Muslims.
 Freedom of religion is restricted significantly. The law prohibits the practice by Maldivian citizens of any religion other than Islam. The president is the "supreme authority to propagate the tenets of Islam." Government regulations are based on Islamic law (Shari'a). Non-Muslim foreigners are allowed to practice their religion only privately. Visitors must also refrain from encouraging local citizens to practice any religion other than Islam.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Freedom of religion remained severely restricted.

There were some reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice. According to many officials and interlocutors, most citizens regarded Islam as one of their society's most distinctive characteristics and believed that it promotes harmony and national identity.