As this report from a Maldives news site shows, it appears Didi's suicide was prompted by ostracisation he received after admitting to his atheism, in confidence, to some colleagues. This news spread, prompting a hostile reaction from his fellow workers, and even resulted in Didi being investigated by his employers. As an email sent by Didi to a humanitarian orgainisation at the end of June shows, the situation seems to have become so bad that he was seeking asylum in the UK:
———- Forwarded message ———-It's an upsetting story, and serves as a reminder of what so-called "apostates" are up against in certain countries, particularly those were Islam is the state religion, as it is in the Maldives, where the constitution states that "a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives".
From: ismail mohamed
Date: 25 June 2010 09:30
Subject: a plea for help
I’m a 25 year-old Maldivian living in Male’. I have been working as an Air Traffic Controller at Male’ International Airport for almost 7 years now.
I started becoming disenchanted with Islam around 5 years ago and am now an atheist. During my transformation, and even now, I am quite the idealist, and when i was confronted about two years back by a couple of my colleagues about my aversion from the daily practices of Islam, i somewhat foolishly admitted my stance on religion.
I had asked them to keep it a secret from the rest of our workforce at ATC, although i now realize i should have known better. It did not take long for everybody at work to find out and since then, i have faced constant harassment in my work environment.
An atheist is not a common feature at all among Maldivians and the word has spread like wildfire since then. It has now come to the point where everyone I know, including my family, have become aware of my lack of belief.
In a society that has always been proud of their religious homogeneity, you can imagine what i am being put through. I have been subjected to numerous consultations with religious scholars and even my closest friends are not allowed to see me.
My company has already begun investigating a complaint regarding me, collecting testimony from fellow workers about my apostasy.
Just 3 days ago, i received two anonymous phone calls threatening violence if i do not start openly practicing Islam.I am at my wit’s end now. I have been trying for sometime to secure employment abroad, but have not yet succeeded.
The only other alternative i can think of is to flee the country to seek asylum elsewhere. I have already written an e-mail to your organization, and am anxiously waiting for a reply. I found your e-mail address on facebook. I am in dire need of assistance and know of no one inside the country who can guide me.
I would have already left the country if i was sure i could meet the required burden of proof in an asylum claim. I would like to know if you would be able to help me in anyway should i travel to the U.K to seek asylum and what my chances are of making a successful claim.
Thank you for your consideration
Ismail Mohamed Didi