Visitors asked to respect the religious identity of the Maldives

Tourists arriving at the Maldives in Velana International Airport (Sun Photo/Fayaaz Moosa)

Islamic Ministry has advised travel agents and agents that handle expatriate workers to implore them to respect and abide by the Islamic values, Shariah, and laws of the Maldives.

 In a circular the Ministry released regarding religious practices in the Maldives earlier today, the Ministry stated that as this a country where lots of expatriates work and a place that is very popular in the tourism industry, city, island, and atoll councils to pay extra care in implementing and making sure everyone abides by the laws and bylaws that protect the Maldivians religious unity.

As per the law, it is prohibited for any non-Muslims, whether they live in the Maldives or are visiting as a tourist, to openly practice any religion and for any Maldivians to participate in such demonstrations.

In the Maldives, it is illegal to practice any religion aside from Islam, out in the open. The Ministry also asked tourist guest houses to inform the guests staying at their establishments to dress in socially accepted, appropriately covering attire.          

The Ministry released this statement in the wake of videos of some expatriates completing a Hindu religious custom on one of the inhabited islands of the Maldives receiving the spotlight on social media. That particular incident was reported to the Police by the Islamic Ministry.