COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Maldives government says it plans to conduct de-radicalization and awareness programs aimed at stopping its citizens from being attracted by foreign Islamist extremist groups.
The measures are part of the government's first policy paper on terrorism and violent extremism released publicly Thursday. President Yameen Abdul Gayoom presented the paper to Parliament earlier this month.
The tiny Indian Ocean archipelago state with a population of 340,000 mostly Sunni Muslims is known primarily for luxurious tourist resorts. However, in recent years some residents have reportedly joined the Islamic State group.
Opposition politicians say the number exceeds 300 and is the highest percentage of any country given the Maldives' small population. The government acknowledges a problem but says the number is much lower.