The government of the United States has stressed that it was concerned over the hundreds of young Maldivians attending madrassas in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia which has led to many of them bringing home radical ideology.
The U.S. Department of State which released its country report on terrorism for 2011 which is mandated by the U.S. congress was issued on Tuesday (July 31). The report which is published annually reviews the operations of global terrorist networks and had detailed count-terror steps taken by Maldives.
“The Government of Maldives has partnered with the United States to strengthen its law enforcement capacity and to conduct community outreach to counter violent extremism,” the report said.
“The Department of Immigration and Emigration signed an agreement with Malaysia's Nexbis Limited in November 2010 to install a new border-control system with an integrated database. However, alleged corruption concerns and subsequent legal proceedings made it unclear when the system would be installed,” the report said.
The report further mentioned that there were no successful prosecutions of individuals promoting violent extremism and terrorism in 2011, as existing laws severely limited the ability of law enforcement agencies to prosecute such cases.
However, the report had drawn reference to international police cooperation amongst countries which led to most wanted Maldivians being arrested in foreign countries.
It pointed out how the Sri Lankan authorities arrested a suspected Maldivian terrorist who was on Interpol’ most wanted list in Colombo in March last year. The suspect who was carrying multiple passports was arrested for questioning over the Sultan Park Bombing in 2007. The report confirmed that a joint investigation was conducted by the Sri Lankan government which cooperated with both India and Maldives to gather proof in that case. However, the suspect was released due to the lack of evidence.
The report also mentioned that in October, the Sri Lankan police arrested an al-Qaeda affiliated Maldivian traveling on a forged Pakistani passport. It said that Sri Lankan authorities were cooperative and assisted U.S. investigators following the arrest.
“The Government of Maldives recognized that counter radicalization efforts form a critical component to long-term success against violent extremism, and has pursued initiatives to counter violent extremism. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs implemented a program designed to mobilize religious and social leaders to work against all forms of violence in society, including religious extremism that leads to violence. The Ministry conducted over 15 seminars and workshops for religious leaders, educators, and local government officials. Several of these workshops included participants from across the country,” the report said as a step taken by Maldives to curtail radicalization and violent extremism.
The report had also asserted that Maldives had become one of the latest countries to partner with the U.S. Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which focused its initial programs on building capacity in counterterrorism leadership and management, critical target protection, and regional cooperation.