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Overview of Terrorism in Maldives– USCRT 2017

Published Sep 23, 2018
Updated Jul 10, 2020

An overview of terrorism in Maldives as provided vide the US Department of State. Bureau Of Counterterrorism And Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 is as per succeeding paragraphs.

Overview: The Government of Maldives’ counterterrorism efforts concentrate on countering violent extremism and limiting the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. Marginalized Maldivians, especially those within the penal system or involved in criminal gangs, are at heightened risk of radicalization to violence, with some joining terrorist groups. On April 23, assailants stabbed to death blogger Yameed Rasheed, whom some in Maldives perceived to espouse anti-Islamic views. Maldives Police Service (MPS) arrested two Maldivians accused of conspiring with ISIS in a suicide attack plot. MPS investigated 12 cases of Maldivians intending to participate in foreign wars and charged four in two separate cases for leaving to fight in Syria. The government claims 49 radicalized Maldivians were fighting with terrorist organizations, whereas the UN and media estimated approximately 200. These incidents illustrate a pattern of Maldivians transiting through third countries to become foreign terrorist fighters.

MPS reported no confirmed cases of returning foreign terrorist fighters, but it was developing strategies and procedures to monitor, assess, and take actions against any returning fighters.

Social media users continued to spread radical ideologies and target moderate and secular individuals and organizations characterized as “insulting Islam.” Maldives participated in the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program training on interview techniques and aviation security.

2017 Terrorist Incidents: On April 23, blogger Yameen Rasheed, a critic of the political establishment who had received repeated death threats for his allegedly anti-Islamic views, was found murdered with multiple stab wounds in the stairwell of his apartment building in Malé. Some suggested Rasheed may have been killed for his criticism of the government, but police asserted that perpetrators believed that Rasheed had “mocked” Islam. Police arrested eight suspects and filed charges against seven. Legal proceedings, which were closed to the public, had not concluded at year’s end.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): In November, the NCTC launched a National Strategy on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. The NCTC identified islands prone to radicalization through a nationwide study. It intends to launch community-based programs and awareness campaigns throughout the country.

The government launched national campaigns to raise awareness about religious extremism and promote moderation. The campaign targeted schools, Friday sermons, and public fora held at the Islamic Centre in Malé, which is a member of the Strong Cities Network.