Bikini-Clad Tourist Arrested In The Maldives For Breaking Islamic Law

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I say it’s what she deserves without apology. Most travelers truly know to check the laws of where you are traveling about the do’s and don’ts. Last thing any normal person wants is to end up in foreign jail. Possibly true hell hole.

  2. But when will the Amex lounge be ready at LAX?
    we’re flying out April 5 and I was kind of hoping to have some better choices than the KAL priority pass lounge or the One world lounge.

  3. These woke idiots fly on ME3 airlines funded by the most intolerant, anti women, anti gay people on Earth, to go hang out in Dubai, Maldives, Indonesia, etc., populated by those same people…then when confronted by that reality they demand an apology? Stunning.

  4. On the front page of…
    On 4 February, three foreign nationals were stabbed and wounded by unidentified suspected militants in Hulhumale in the Maldives’ North Malé.

    So there’s more to worry about than where to wear a bikini.

  5. Really it seems to me the best way to get things to evolve is to hit them where it hurts, the wallet. No tourist dollars generally translates into more liberal thinking and policy change (i.e., oops, so sorry, let her go) but I’m always surprised by how many people break their necks to go to places where westerners aren’t welcomed really. There are some beautiful, historic Islamic places I’d love to visit, but a beach locale where you can’t drink off property, have to cover, etc seems like a place I’d not want to rush to…so over water cabana, big deal…same with Dubai, its kind of like Las Vegas with the limited behavior. Big, man made buildings where you have to stay indoors or stay at the resort…I have heard it has great shopping and some cool indoor activities but it doesn’t sound like anything you can’t live without if you literally cannot hold hands or get a quick kiss from your spouse…I’m afraid we’d forget and grab hands out of habit and get into trouble, I’ve read some pretty bad stories over the years. Think I’ll pass. Way too many other places I can see. When I want to see one of those places where it isn’t quite so over-the-top with the rules, I’ll research and plan accordingly.

  6. And here I thought to travel is to experience and understand other cultures and traditions… I just have to laugh and shake my head at some of the comments on here!

  7. Gary, why call it breaking Islamic Law vs. Local Law? Wouldn’t u say that US no-nudity laws (where present) are a result of Christian heritage? Will you publish those arrests for nudity in the US as “breaking Christian Law”?

  8. RE: Bikini-Clad Tourist

    British reality tv star arrested in the Maldives for walking past a mosque and a school wearing a bikini.

    Sounds to me like a publicity stunt the “tv-star” that no one have heard about is pulling!

  9. It’s a miserable shithole at the end of the earth, and yet western weirdos ( mostly the pretentious caviar/champagne nouveaus) flock there in great numbers. Some even go a second time. More money than sense.

  10. Penny you say that “Really it seems to me the best way to get things to evolve is to hit them where it hurts, the wallet. No tourist dollars generally translates into more liberal thinking and policy change” and yet every indication is that more international engagement and exchanges — financial and otherwise — help foster making more people into being more socially liberal and seeing commonalities across nations and communities than would otherwise be the case. Of course such engagements and exchanges can also be used by reactionary elements or evoke reactionary elements within even people to strengthen their own held stereotypes and hostile prejudices towards “others” …. and this is often done even under color of posturing as being “liberal”.

    Division and isolation of the sort you peddle are no handmaiden to making people more tolerant and accepting of individual differences and mores in the hosting destinations nor in the home destinations of visitors.

    Every country in the world where I’ve been has some laws and regulations that I dislike, but avoiding them all ir disregarding the laws and regulations is not an option since it applies as much as to my country of citizenship (the US) and where I have homes as anywhere else I’ve been.

  11. For all the people outraged that some countries enforce dress codes and standards of behavior –

    Would it appropriate for someone to attend a church or other religious service, wedding, funeral, elementary school program, performance, or go to a restaurant (whether a formal restaurant or heck even a Jack-in-the-box) or hang outside wearing a bikini?

    What about if I (slightly chubby middle-aged guy) decided to stroll past the neighborhood elementary school or church in a thong? I’d likely get beaten and/or arrested even in the most “liberal” of places.

    It’s about respect for where you are and the societal norms.

  12. @Jon, I agree with your observation. My own preference would be not to have such restrictive dress codes as exist in some countries, but if a place does have them, then a visitor needs to abide by them, or simply choose not to go there. In this case, the person is not at the beach, and it may have been a publicity stunt.

    The apology, of course, wasn’t for having the rules, but for the way the three male police officers handled the woman.

  13. Let’s be honest: Nobody is going to the Maldives to experience the local culture and traditions. It’s not marketed that way, even by them. Instead the Maldives is pushed by “influencers”, travel bloggers, and themselves as a ritzy, ultra high-end, beach resort. Complete with over water villa’s and the like.

    So for a young woman, who is likely only present for those reasons – Being physically detained for wearing what a woman would wear to any beach resort, would come across as quite a surprising shock. If you don’t want people walking around in bikini’s – Don’t market yourself as welcoming of it.

  14. Don’t be ignorant Gary!! You’re idiotic headline sends the wrong message and shows your ignorance. It’s not an Islamic law. It’s a local law. You have to respect the local law, whatever they are. That’s the way it works everywhere.

    They should have tased her instead. They need to buy tasers.

  15. Looks like she was resisting arrest and was treated very well considering that. If I thrashed around like that while in process of being arrested I’d expect to be struck or tased (whatever the term is). If she broke the law and if she didn’t want to be manhandled then she should have submitted to arrest and gone quietly with them. Tourists ignorant of the local laws/customs should not complain like this when they’re confronted about their illegal behaviors.

  16. I walked the island of Male in shorts , but I guess it’s different for men.
    We discovered the dental office of Dr Usama Bin Laden.

    Too bad I didn’t save the photo.

    Perplexing why there are taxis on an island that is 3 miles in circumference.

  17. We always respect the local (female AND male) customs of other countries, but we will not travel to places populated by those stuck in the 7th century. It’s the same reason we travel to central Mexico but avoid the US/Mexico border towns.

    The only place we have vacationed populated by the religion of pieces was Egypt. Just could not pass up a chance to see the pyramids, and even then the group had armed guards to protect us. It’s called “safe travels”, but I’m sure the snowflakes will call us racist.

  18. I just visited the Maldives in November. There are two very different sets of “norms.” Resorts and the main island.

    I walked the beach on the main island and there are posted signs everywhere clearly stating the Dress Code for tourists that even shows a red X on an image of a women in a bikini. It is very clearly defined as unacceptable. Its near impossible to ignore. Even for what you see EVERY PERSON on the beach being covered up. This is just another example of entitled people thinking the rules don’t apply to them.

  19. @WR2

    When abroad one should respect local sensibilities. Your comments about Indonesia, however, are entirely misplaced, particularly Bali. Most Indonesians are among the most tolerant and hospitable on earth.

  20. Have personally observed British in Pakistan and Maldives with appallingly insensitive and exceptionally stupid behavior in some of the most religious areas. Of course anyone who has ever been to Prague on a weekend has observed Brits with appallingly insensitive and exceptionally stupid behavior in utterly non-religious areas. Stated differently, dumb drunken yobs will be dumb drunken yobs.

    Good thing they lost their empire and now are busy Brexiting from the world; hopefully this will slow down their undesired negative impact on traditional societies as well as heavily-touristed western cities.

  21. Full nudity should be allowed everywhere. Especially in places of worship as this is what the creator gifted to you. And if you dont believe in that thats ok too, then it should be allowed based on individual rights to expression. And if you dont believe in that thats ok too then you should really take your argument to the extreme and no one should be allowed outside anywhere as it may offend someone so please stay in your home to not offend others.

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