Maldives | 19 April 2020

Maldives: Attack highlights problem of Islamic militants returning home

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As reported by BBC News on 6 February 2020,‚ a group associated with the Islamic State group (IS) took responsibility for the‚ stabbing of‚ three‚ foreign‚ nationals‚ on‚ 4‚ February 2020‚ on the island of Hulhumale. The question‚ now‚ arises‚ about what the Maldivian authorities can do to prevent further attacks. Thomas Muller, Persecution‚ analyst‚ at‚ World Watch Research,‚ comments: "It has been frequently reported - including in‚ Open Door"s WWL 2020‚ country‚ dossier‚ -‚ that,‚ measured against its population, the Maldives have one of the highest ratios of‚ Islamic‚ militants‚ participating‚ in the Syrian civil war.‚ The‚ recent attack highlights the problem the Maldives must now confront concerning the return‚ home‚ of‚ such radicalized fighters, especially since the tourist industry is such an‚ important source of revenue for the Maldivian State and‚ population. As Singaporean thinktank RSIS reported on 5 April 2020, there are‚ efforts‚ to de-radicalize returnees, but how effective such efforts are is a question not only‚ being asked‚ in the Maldives. The‚ COVID-19 crisis‚ has‚ more or less halted‚ tourism on the islands for the time-being; such an unexpected‚ pause‚ can now be used‚ to find an effective‚ solution.‚ The virus will‚ go away‚ one day, radicalized citizens will not."


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