30 Dec '11, 11am
Maldives bans spas after protests by an Islamist party which claimed they were a front for prostitution
COLOMBO (AFP) - The Maldives has ordered hundreds of luxury hotels to close their spas after protests by an Islamist party which claimed they were a front for prostitution, an official told AFP on Friday. The tourism ministry instructed all resort hotels across the nation's 1,192 tiny coral islands to shut their spas and health centres with immediate effect. The opposition Adhaalath party, a socially conservative movement whose website features an article criticising 'lustful music,' staged protests in the capital Male last week accusing spas of being used as brothels. 'An Islamic party has been agitating against spas hoping to embarrass the government,' an official told AFP by telephone, confirming Thursday's ministry order but asking not to be named.