MALÉ, Maldives — This island paradise made news recently for a reason other than its pristine beaches and high-end resorts: the gruesome killing of a liberal blogger, stabbed to death by multiple assailants.
The killing in April of Yameen Rasheed, 29, a strong voice against growing Islamic radicalization, has amplified safety concerns — particularly for foreign tourists, a highly vulnerable group and one that the islands’ economy depends on. It is no idle threat, in a country that by some accounts supplies the world’s highest per-capita number of foreign fighters to extremist outfits in Syria and Iraq.
Last summer, the government introduced the country’s first state policy on terrorism, calling for increased safety awareness at resorts and security assessments at seaports and in airports.
In January, the Republic of Maldives’ Islamic Ministry released policy recommendations that included a provision instructing tourism companies to provide visitors with written rules on how to conduct themselves in a Muslim country.
But critics say these initiatives are cosmetic, doing little to standardize safety policies, and have come only after international stakeholders pressured the Maldivian authorities to acknowledge the threat extremism poses to visitors.
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