On 01/27/2005 the Omani Authorities made public the arrest of over 100 Islamic extremists over alleged plans to attack acultural festival in the capital, Muscat, scheduled to begin with the start of Eid al-Adha. Among those arrested were professors in Sultan Qaboos University, the Oman Theology College as well as social and military officials, many of them known to be fundamentalists from the Ibadi School in Islam, which is the dominant group in Oman.
More than two million people from Oman and elsewhere were expected to enjoy its shopping, cultural activities, entertainment and sports before the end of the festival on 02/18/2005. The festival was boycotted by Islamists who deem it against the precepts of Islam.
The investigation began with an occasional accident of a lorry that was loaded with illegal weapons. The investigation that followed the accident led to the exposure of a large underground Islamic militant network.
Unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, Oman has not witnessed any terror attacks and is not regarded as a potential target for extremists.
On 05/02/2005 a court in Oman sentenced 31 defendants, all Omanis, up to 20 years in jail for setting up a banned underground organization and attempting to overthrow the legal authority to form an “Islamic Republic” in Oman. The other suspects, initially arrested on 01/27/2005 were, eventually, released without being charged.
In 1994, the Omani authorities announced the arrest of 200 alleged extremists, who were convicted of belonging to a secret, violent group and given sentences ranging from the death penalty to jail terms. They were later pardoned.
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