Dhimmi laws in the Maldives: Non-Muslims won’t be second-class citizens; they won’t be citizens at all. From Inspire Magazine:
The Maldivian constitutional assembly has passed an amendment stating that “none, except Muslims can be Maldivian citizens”.
According to the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that supports the persecuted Church, the implementation of this amendment to the constitution means that a number of Maldivians will lose their citizenship and become stateless. In the Maldives it is illegal to practise any other religion than Islam.
While there are a few Christians in the country among the expatriates, there are also some Maldivian Christians, converts from Islam, who would lose their citizenship. Although the current constitution does not specifically mention this, any person who follows, preaches or simply reads texts of other religions is punished until he or she turns to Islam.
Under President Gayoom, whose autocratic regime has recently come under attack, militant Islamism has become more widespread. After a bomb explosion earlier this year, which injured a number of tourists and was attributed to an Islamic militant group, the
president promised to take measures to combat Islamic extremism. This seems to contradict
this latest amendment to the constitution.
Indeed. In the aftermath of recent jihadist bombings, do they think this gesture will make them safer? Or are they attempting somehow to balance the recent crackdown on Islamic militancy?
More information from the Maldivian Democratic Party:
Non Muslims are to be denied Maldivian citizenship in the new Constitution, after 78 members of the Peoples Special Majlis (Constitutional Assembly) voted on 19 November 2007 in favor to approve an amendment that requires all Maldivian citizens to be Muslims. Prominent Maldivian lawyers have expressed concern following the passage of the clause in the new Constitution stating fears that the prerequisite to be a Muslim for Maldivian citizenship would create complications. Lawyers predicted that the new clause would deprive a number of current citizens of Maldivian citizenship, resulting in some Maldivians becoming stateless after the proclamation of the new Constitution.
“Under the existing Constitution, every child born to a Maldivian mother or father is a Maldivian citizen. But we know there are non-Muslims among them. There are such children living in Australia and Europe. They have Maldivian passports. Under the existing Constitution, it is possible for a foreigner of another faith to become a Maldivian citizen. Therefore, with the passage of this clause, a lot of Maldivians will be stripped of citizenship the day the new Constitution comes into effect,” Member for Seenu Atoll and prominent lawyer Mr. Husnu al Suood, told reporters on 19 November 2007. Other lawyers have noted that Islam allowed Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women and that the new clause would suppress the rights of such spouses.