Maldives shuts 100s of luxury spas

Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:45AM GMT

The Maldivian government has ordered hundreds of the island country’s tourist resorts to shut their spas after opposition protesters called for an end to “anti-Islamic” activities.

“The government has decided to close massage salons and spas in the Maldives, following an opposition-led religious protest last week calling for their closure,” said a statement issued by the office of President Mohammed Nasheed on Friday.

A massive protest rally led by the country’s opposition Adhaalat (Justice) Party was held in the Maldivian capital Male on December 23 to urge the government to enforce Islamic law and halt anti-Islamic practices.

The protesters, who carried placards reading “Islamic Sharia [law] is equal to peace,” accused President Nasheed’s government of compromising the principles of Islam and disregarding its rules.

The demonstrators asked government authorities to stop the sale of alcohol in the island country, close down brothels working under the banner of massage parlors, and cancel a plan to allow direct flights to Israel.

The Maldives is a Muslim archipelago in the Indian Ocean and has a population of 300,000.

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