In tourist idyll of Maldives, radical Islam lures some towards very different paradise

For the million tourists who fly in each year to the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives, the holiday “paradise” of idyllic white sand beaches quickly embraces them.

Speedboats or seaplanes ferry them to luxury resorts on otherwise uninhabited coral atolls, by-passing the rest of the country where local people live in an increasingly conservative Islamic society.

In this tourist-free Maldives, amid the narrow teeming streets of the capital Male and on islands dotted with fishing villages, the siren call of radical Islamist clerics is luring some locals towards a very different paradise.

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