maldivian flag waving wallpaper flag of maldivesNew Zealand: In the wake of a gay refugee to New Zealand winning a drag pageant, the Maldives has issued a threat that any Maldivians seeking asylum overseas on grounds of religion or sexuality “can be assured of prosecution should they return”.

Abraham Naim has won the Miss Capital Drag pageant, just months after he was granted refugee status in New Zealand due to the risk of persecution if he returned to the Maldives – where he’d received death threats while carefully pushing for tolerance.

Maldivian media outlet Minivan News quotes a spokesman for the President’s Office, Ibrahim Muaz, responding with the statement “The threat from the state they speak of is in actuality our law and regulations. That will not change.”

A senior official of the Maldives’ Ministry of Islamic Affairs has added that “acts of homosexuality are clearly anti-Islamic and against the country’s laws”, and subject to legal action.

Meanwhile there have been reports of an upsurge of attacks against people perceived of being gay, or atheist, in the fiercely Muslim nation. adds:

Maldives  is a staunchly Muslim island state southwest of India and here people more than 99 per cent Muslim and where same-sex relations is strictly prohibited. It uses Sharia law to penalize same-sex relations with death, whippings, house arrest, deportation, and up to six years in jail. Gender identity and expression other than that of one’s birth is also illegal.

Maldives is notorious for vigilante attacks and executions against the LGBT community.