The Maldives is Asia’s smallest country by area and population known for its lucrative tourism industry. It is an extremely closed country, claiming to be 100 percent Muslim, and heavily repressing any Christian influence. Only a handful of secret Believers live in the Maldives. With dozens of Maldivians joining IS in recent years, the island nation is believed to be “fertile ground for recruitment” to radical Islam.
Surprising results in general elections a few years ago saw the opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih defeating the former president, Abdulla Yameen who faces corruption charges. The new government has begun reforms but has struggled to see any real effective change take place. COVID-19 had a significant impact on the tourism industry in the first half of 2020 and attempts to recover in 2021 were hampered by the severe outbreaks in India.