MALDIVES: Christian Bible teacher deported for having a Bible in his home

Shijo Kokkattu, am Indian-born 30-year-old Catholic teacher at Raafainu School, was deported last week after police found a Bible and rosary in his house during a raid, Christians said.

(Christians should stay out of Muslim countries and Muslims should be banned from all Christian countries)

BOSNEWSLIFE  While Kokkattu was relieved about his release, he reportedly expressed concerns in statements about other “innocent detainees” who are allegedly kept in police custody “on flimsy grounds or fabricated charges.”

The deportation of Kokkattu didn’t came as a surprise for Christian rights activists. The Maldives, a popular destination for Western tourists southwest of India, requires all citizens to be Muslim. “It is against the law to import Christian teaching materials and foreigners who visit the country are immediately deported if Christian materials are found in their luggage,” said Open Doors, which investigates the plight of reportedly persecuted Christians. “Churches are forbidden,” it added.

Since 2008, a constitutional amendment also denies non-Muslims the right to obtain Maldivian citizenship. “In 1998, all known Christian foreigners who were suspected of missionary work were expelled,” Open Doors said. “Foreigners are currently allowed to practice their religion in private as long as they do not gather for Christian activity or try to witness.”

Being one of “the least evangelized countries on earth”, there are only a handful of indigenous believers in Maldives, the group explained. “These Christians practice their faith individually and in extreme secrecy for fear of being discovered.” Under Maldives regulations they could face sentences that could include uo to five years imprisonment or house arrest.

Last year however, Maldivian authorities rescued another Christian teacher from India when Muslim parents threatened to throw her into the sea for “preaching Christianity” to their children after she reportedly drew a compass in class which allegedly resembled a cross.