Nestled in warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Maldives attracts millions of visitors from across the world seeking luxury tourism. It might be a retreat for the holidaymakers, but the island paradise is snucking into the radicalization and human rights abuses funded by external powers like Saudi Arabia.
The locals fear growing Islamic militancy among the youth, especially the unemployed. The nation has recorded a rise in departures of young, radicalized men to join militant groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, ultimately threating the tourist population visiting in large numbers, each year.
After the 2004 Tsunami, many citizens were seen observing a stricter version of Islam. In the name of helping people, scores of Saudi-sponsored NGOs suddenly started operating in the Maldives. Since then, slow brainwashing and infusion of Salafi Wahhabism have resulted in the radicalization of the Island nation.
The Maldives has the highest per-capita of any country, where people have joined “the jihad” in Syria. According to analysts, the emergence of Al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and ISIS in Syria has aggravated the existing problem initiated by Saudi Arabia, giving it new dimensions.
Moreover, the country is slowly becoming a true version of Saudi Arabia, thanks to the funding flowing into the streets of the Maldives from the Wahhabi Kingdom. Locals recall being approached by random groups trying to influence them on hardline Islamic values, guided by the Sharia Law.
Even the death penalty was reactivated by the Maldivian government. Facilities were reportedly built at a prison on Maafushi Island where murder convicts could be executed by lethal injection. Children, as young as 10 years, can be held responsible for a crime in the Maldives, and executions of convicted minors are permitted when they turn 18.
Just like Saudi Arabia, the Maldives has also faced international criticism in the wake of its human rights abuses and radicalization. Many locals blame Gulf nations, particularly Saudi Arabia for infusing huge amounts of money to fund terrorism and spread hardline Islamic values through local mosques, colleges and NGOs in the Maldives.
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Source URL: Medium