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It is also a member of the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non Aligned Movement.
Buddhism probably spread to the Maldives in the 3rd century BC at the time of Emperor Ashoka's expansion, and became the dominant religion of the people of the Maldives until the 12th century AD.Arab Traders had converted populations in the Malabar Coast since the 7th century, and Muhammad Bin Qāsim had converted large swathes of Sindh to Islam at about the same time.The Maldives remained a Buddhist kingdom for another five hundred years after the conversion of Malabar Coast and Sindh – perhaps as the south-westernmost Buddhist country.The earliest written history of the Maldives was marked by the arrival of Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka and the Maldives (Mahiladvipika) circa 543 to 483 BC, as reported in the Mahavansa.
Their settlement marks a significant change in demographics and the development of the Indo-Aryan language Dhivehi language.
Following the Islamic concept that before Islam there was the time of Jahiliya (ignorance), in the history books used by Maldivians the introduction of Islam at the end of the 12th century is considered the cornerstone of the country's history.