World’s largest floating book fair docks in Malé

Additional reporting by Daniel Bosley

The Logos Hope – dubbed the “world’s largest floating book fair” – operated by the German Christian charitable organization GBA Ships is currently visiting the Maldives as part of the vessel’s tour around the world.

According to the Logos Hope website, the original Logos had visited the country forty years ago – in 1973.

“Many in the Maldives still remember stepping on board Logos as children in 1973 or the visit of Doulos in 1998,” read a statement released on the group’s website.

“It is very special that we can return after many years with a bigger ship,” Logos Hope Director Lloyd Nicholas was quoted as saying.

“It’s a newer ship but still with the same purpose, same good books and with a desire to serve in the countries Logos Hope visits.” He added.

Beginning life as a car ferry in 1973, the vessel spent its first 30 operating ferry services around northern Europe and Scandinvia, before being bought and refurbished by GBA Ships in 2003 .

After the completion of renovations in 2009, the Logos Hope has travelled the globe – taking in the Caribbean, the Middle East and South East Asia – promoting GBA’s goal of spreading education and quality literature.

GBA – Gute Bücher für Alle or ‘Good Books for All’ – claims to have welcomed over 42 million people in 150 countries aboard its numerous vessels since 1970, making 1400 ports of call, and offering training to around 10,000 young people.

An official reception was held yesterday to open the book fair which was attended by Minister of Youth & Sports, Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, as well as other senior government officials

A large number of Maldivians were seen boarding the ship and buying books as well as enjoying the cheap coffee available at the ship’s International Cafe’ – staffed by the Logos Hope’s all-volunteer crew.

Minivan News observed that all purchases made from the ship were checked by customs official present, before being taken out of the ship. According to an official on the Vessel, all purchases above MVR6,000 (US$389.10) were subject to custom duties.

Some book shelves on board had been sealed off, making their content unavailable to Maldivian visitors. GBA normally makes Christian literature available to shoppers, however, materials deemed “offensive to Islam” are prohibited in the Maldives.

According to the organisation’s website, Logos Hopes book fair will be open to the public until the evening of Friday, December 20. The ship is docked in Malé’s commercial harbour area.


16 thoughts on “World’s largest floating book fair docks in Malé”

  1. A Christian bookshop at Male? Surely not. Customs cannot check the secrete hidden messages in the books they are selling. They may look like normal books, but they contain The Bible coded in a special form!

  2. Dear Customs, let us open our minds and decide for ourselves our faith and what is right and what is wrong. Thanks

  3. Haha. The Fiqh academy today ruled that visiting places of worship outside Islam is haram for Muslims. One reason is it may reduce the faith of the Muslim by visiting them. Wow, Muslims in our country must be on very shaky foundations. Will visiting a church, synagogue, temple or gurdhuwara (as Waheed did) suddenly give us the urge to abandon Allah and his messenger? Hmm...

  4. Its really astounding to see the hypocrisy of the so called religious scholars here in Maldives. Islam and xenophobia is used without mercy when they want a government ousted. If this boat arrived in Maldives during Mohamed Nasheeds presidency the whole country would have gone bonkers with protest, media frenzy, political rhetoric, calls for Jihad etc as if this event will wipe Islam from Maldives.

    I wonder when the public will realize they are being played to gain somebody else selfish goals.

  5. The fear of foreign thing is called xenophobia; It is natural and normal for human being specially those who are not open to wider world and less educated. No one can do anything about this in any near future and should not hope from Maldivain such tolerance to accept the reality that Islam is no difference than any other religion. It is not easy for any human being to accept any reality when it comes against something people have loved so dearly for many generations. The only thing that holds Dhivehin from the realization that they might as well be as wrong as other followers of religion is due to that Maldivians don’t even bother to read any other religious literature with curiosity of finding the truth. The state control on such thing would not definitely effect on people in general when it comes what they will believe on such issues like religion in today’s world when you can get such unlimited literature on the internet. Once people start reading such things with open mind, then only they will realize that the question of God is universal issue and it is definitely not only an issue for Islam. Islam like all other religion have tough question to answer with regards of existence of God and this is not religion versus religions, it is religions versus science.

  6. Yeah, religion vs science is interesting. If you are a scientist, you will argue why God decided to change his mind on more than one occasion. Couldn't God have sent one messenger with the one book and be done? After all, if God created the vast universe and everything else, he would not do such a mistake as sending multiple revisions of his message.

    However, if you are a religious scholar, then the different books are just really one book but revealed according to the needs of the humans at the right time. God being all wise and merciful showed that in His infinite wisdom it was better to do things, sort of "down to earth" way than a high handed, "one book in one go" sort of way.

    So, depending on which side of the debate you're on, it can seem like black and white! Religions can be so much fun if not for the blood shed in their name.

  7. Surely God knows who to elect as the Maldives president. He chooses the right person at the right time according to His plans.

  8. Was this Laa Dheenee Ship invited by MDP??? or Salaf. Andhaloose boys should go up the podium immediate and condemn the visit.

  9. Yeaa! The 1973 visit right? The free bibles distribution! There are people from that time still alive who would give testimony that they did distribute bibles! ..

  10. I would invite every Muslim to actually read the Bible. You'd be laughing your head off right from the start. That book is full of contradictions right from the beginning, such as God created the heavens and earth in six days and He got knackered, so had a rest on the 7th day! What a load of rubbish.

    Instead of banning that book, allowing people to read it will actually enlighten them more about the nonsense in there.

  11. If you can't get your hands on the Bible, read Spike Milligan's version: This one is authored by Spike Milligan and not God, but certainly much more authentic than the one attributed to God and definitely funnier by a million times.

    "God created grass, but the Rastas smoked it"! Hmm, perhaps the Hondaidhoo boys read Spike's version too 🙂

  12. scholar on Sat, 21st Dec 2013 4:34 AM

    A bit like the Quran then, except Christian aren't executed for challenging the written word of the authors.

  13. Maldivians! Noah's Ark has come to save you from the sea. Climb aboard the good ship now before you're all lost to the waves.

  14. DMF : A bit like the Quran then, except Christian aren’t executed for challenging the written word of the authors.

    If you look at history, Christians weren't so lucky. Quite a lot of them got summarily executed for questioning not just word of God, but his appointees on earth; the Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and other varieties.

    As a good Christian I'm sure you're aware of Psalm 104:5 "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Galileo wasn't received kindly by the Church when he announced that the earth did indeed move, and moved in an orbit around the sun. For his troubles, Galileo remained under house arrest until his death.

    I suggest you read a bit of history 🙂

  15. scholar on Sun, 22nd Dec 2013 7:43 PM

    Not referring to history as we learn by our mistakes and the Christian church has moved on to accept other faiths.

    I'm talking about the 21st Century where people have the right to choose their own beliefs, except in the Maldives.

  16. @DMF and @scholar

    Islam today is where the christians were in the dark ages. A violent instrument of oppression. Let's hope, that like the christians, muslims will stop depending on their mullahs like the christians stopped depending on their popes.


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