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Published on Thursday, January 5, 2012

Maldives lifts spa ban


A ban on spas in the Maldives was lifted yesterday afternoon by the government while it waits for a court to decide whether they are legal under the country's constitution.


Speaking at a press conference held at Kurumba Maldives resort - the first to open in the archipelago in 1972 - the President said spas could continue to operate until the Supreme Court comes to a decision.


The President ordered all spas to close following a rally on December 23 by opposition parties, during which extreme Islamists had claimed the islands' massage and liquor parlours were a front for prostitution.


In an attempt to call their bluff, the President impose a ban which included hotel spas, some of which are owned by leaders of the opposition. The move threatened to damage the Maldives' £1bn a year tourism industry.


During the press conference, the President said he was confident all the institutions of state would realise the importance of placing national development first and would not act in a way that would damage the tourism industry.

"The President reasserted his view that the vast majority of Maldivians reject religious extremism and want to continue the moderate form of Islam the Maldives has followed for the past 800 years," said a statement from the Maldives government.

Since the government’s ban on spas, the opposition parties stated they did not support a ban on spas nor wish to damage the tourism industry.

“We wanted to impress upon everyone where the opposition’s demands were ultimately going to end,” the President said on Wednesday.

The government’s ultimatum "woke the nation from its slumber and sparked a healthy national debate about the future direction of the country", he said.

“The extremist demonstration on 23 December attracted a sizeable crowd. But their radical demands awoke the silent majority who categorically reject extremism.”


Most resorts continued to operate spas during the ban.



By Linsey McNeill

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  • The truth

    The government of Maldives is so hypocritical that it is doing something else other than obliging the simple demands of the huge protest by the Maldivians. The protest demands were very clear. They are: 1. To remove all idolatrous monuments in Addu City; 2. To condemn the speech of Pillay and make public apology; 3. To cancel all flights of the Israeli National Carrier; 4. Don’t declare parts of inhabited islands into uninhabited islands in order to sell liquour; and 5. Close down the massage parlours used as brothels in the capital Male'. These were the five demands of the protest. It is important to note that it wasn't a protest of extremists as the government label, but it was a protest of more than 100,000 Maldivians (a third of the total population) across the country including 10,000 in one rally in the capital, dissatisfied and fed-up with the government's policies including anti-Islamic policies. The also include dissatisfaction of the economic policies of the government, which is hurting the ordinary people. The proof is the recent resignation of the Finance Minister and State Minister of Finance. It is important to note that protest demand does not include closing spas of luxury resorts nor closing massage parlours in general. Also, there was no such demand to stop the sale of alcohol in the islands. The demand as you can see above was, Don’t declare parts of inhabited islands into uninhabited islands in order to sell liquor; this is about inhabited islands not uninhabited islands like tourist resorts. So, it is important for the outside world to know, what the government of Maldives doing is, their own agenda and not the protest demands. These are the facts. It's just a game the government is playing. The west is supporting the current dictator of Maldives in the same way they supported Mubarak and the co. The current government is creating all these problems to cover their unpopularity among the public. Even the government ordered to close the spas, not a single resort is closing their spas. In fact, in the case of the first resort which were given orders (5 resorts of one of the opposition leaders Mr. Qasim), the court ordered to suspend that shutdown. The fact is the government is doing this to threaten the opposition, so as to show the outside world that it was a consequence of opposition demands. The fact is, opposition is made up of all other parties except the ruling MDP party. Because the protest was the biggest so far in the country, the government is making all these stupid decisions.

    By Jan Hansun, Friday, January 6, 2012

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