Religion in the Maldives

Religion in the Maldives
Islam is the official religion of the Maldives and open practice of any other religion is forbidden and liable to prosecution. Article 2 of the revised constitution says that the republic "is based on the principles of Islam."
Article nine says that "a non-Muslim may not become a citizen"; Article ten says that "no law contrary to any principle of Islam can be applied". Article nineteen states that "citizens are free to participate in or carry out any activity that is not expressly prohibited by sharia or by the law."

The requirement to adhere to a particular religion and prohibition of public worship following other religions is contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Maldives has recently become party and was addressed in Maldives' reservation in adhering to the Covenant claiming that "The application of the principles set out in Article 18 of the Covenant shall be without prejudice to the Constitution of the Republic of the Maldives."

The Maldives ranks high on the list of governments that restrict religious freedom. In 2011, a mob destroyed a monument with an engraved image of the Buddha in it. In 2012, 35 Buddhist and Hindu artifacts from the 6th century BC were destroyed from the Maldives' National Museum by suspected Islamic law enforcers. [69] Ali Waheed (the director of National Museum of the Maldives) stated: "The collection was totally, totally smashed. The whole pre-Islamic history is gone." Pieces destroyed, included the “Bohomala sculptures, Hanuman statues, and a sculpture of the Hindu water god, Makara. The two five-faced statues from Male were also brutally damaged. This five-faced male was the only remaining archaeological evidence of a Buddhist era in Maldives and it too was destroyed, completely destroying any true history of the country. In addition an 11th century coral stone of the Lord Buddha was also wiped out.  After that, Scholars and museums in a number of countries offered help in restoring the damaged statues.