Islamic Terror Hits Maldives Tourist Paradise

[AP/Washington Post] Ravi Nessman - On Sep. 29, a homemade bomb exploded in a park in the Maldives capital, Male, wounding 12 tourists. The attack was followed by a bloody confrontation days later between police and masked Islamic extremists armed with harpoons. The government reacted swiftly to crush the fundamentalists. Authorities banned the veil, arrested scores of suspected extremists, sealed underground mosques, and promised a crackdown on radical preachers. "We are not taking chances," Information Minister Mohamed Nasheed said. By far the most prosperous country in south Asia, with a per capita annual income of $2,700, the republic had seemed safe from the worldwide rise of Islamic militancy. While many high school graduates went to Europe or Australia for a liberal education, others studied religion at extremist institutions in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and spread their radical beliefs across the islands, said Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based terrorism expert.

2007-11-16 01:00:00

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