Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Looking for Osama in the Maldives

From John Lancaster of Slate

Somewhere in his 50s, the scowling imam wore the long beard and calf-length pants that marked him as a follower of Wahhabiism, the strict fundamentalist brand of Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia. But I was not in Saudi Arabia. I was in the Maldives ... As elsewhere, the growth of fundamentalist influence can be traced in part to Saudi Arabia, which built a seven-story-high school in Male—the Islamic Studies Institute—whose curriculum runs heavily to Arabic and the Quran. Moreover, many young Maldivians have studied at madrassas in the Middle East and Pakistan, where some have been recruited by militants.

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