A rise in Islamic militancy poses an unprecedented threat to the Maldives' status as South Asia's most upmarket holiday destination. The first concrete sign of trouble came on September 29 when 12 foreign tourists, including a honeymooning British couple, were wounded in a bomb attack. The government however is determined to beat the extremists.
Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom issued a decree whereby foreign clerics should not be allowed entry without a special permit, barred women from covering themselves from head to toe, and ordered that educational qualifications from foreign madrassas, or Islamic seminaries, would not be recognised.
Former Education Minister Mohamed Zahir Hussain said a minority of people in the moderate Sunni Muslim nation of 330,000 believed that tourism was against Islam because it leads to the importation of practices contrary to their religion like the sale of liquor.
Though the government of the Maldive Islands are responding strongly against radical Islamists, a "minority" of Muslims are still able wreak havoc through violence. Simple criminal punishments are not a deterrent. The only effective means of controlling Islamic terrorists is to destroy them and their ideology.