Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Terrorism threatens Maldives tourism

by Ravi Nessman from The Associated Press

The trauma of the 2004 tsunami also fueled an Islamic revival. Hussein Mohammed, 40, said he was among 200 displaced people originally from the island of Moondu who spent two years in an abandoned textile factory. Many in the crowded factory sought solace in the translated copies of the government provided Quran, and within months nearly all the women began wearing head scarves, he said ... The people of Gan were confronted by a small group of angry fundamentalists earlier this year. "They said they are Muslims and others are not Muslims and that others should be killed," said Daoud Ibrahim, the clean-shaven imam at the government mosque. While rows of villagers in knitted white skullcaps prayed in the spacious mosque with its green tile floors, the fundamentalists—dressed in Saudi-style white robes and headdress— took over a tiny mosque of concrete and corrugated metal meant for Bangladeshi construction workers. They pressured Maldivian women to wear head scarves, mocked clean-shaven men as unbelievers and quietly plotted to drive tourists out, officials said.

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