Maldives ready for fight against terrorism, says defence minister

Maldives is more than ready to join the global fight against terrorism and prove to the world that Islam promotes peace and harmony, defence minister Adam Shareef said Tuesday.

The archipelago, a 100 percent Muslim nation on Tuesday kick-started a three day global seminar on counter terrorism and violent extremism.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, the minister assured the Maldives government's commitment to the global efforts to curb terrorism and extremism.

"Maldives has been continuously drafting strategies in the fight against terrorism. The president last year ratified an anti-terrorism law and established a counter terrorism unit," Shareef noted.

The seminar attended by delegates from 11 different nations and the United Nations would look to share expertise against the global threat of terrorism.

Maldives parliament in August passed national policy to curb rising violent extremism ideology in the archipelago.

The first policy of this nature outlines the concerns of the government with regard to terrorism and violent extremism, and the preventative measures the it currently undertakes and plans to take in future.

The most vital of issues identified in the paper relates to financing terrorist activities, including assistance for others to travel overseas to participate in conflicts and terrorist activities abroad.

In the key plans for the future, the paper stresses on the need to safeguard the linchpin of the country’s economy by increasing the safety and security of resorts and tourist accommodation.

The government also identified the importance of intelligence gathering and sharing with the international community, and facilitating timely remedial action to tackle terrorism.

The paper also addressed significance of increasing public awareness of violent extremism and conducting de-radicalization and rehabilitation.

Relevant international bodies and the opposition have continued to raise concern over the alarming number of locals joining the Syrian conflict which they say is at 250 a figure vehemently denied by the government.

Defence minister Shareef had earlier said the number of Maldivian jihadists fighting abroad was at 49 and were mostly made up of ex-convicts and school dropouts.