Sri Lanka World News

Sri Lanka gov moves to ban Muslim Burqa, after the COVID19 burial saga

Proposal to ban the Burka in Sri Lanka will be presented to the cabinet on Monday, government sources said. 

Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara has signed the cabinet paper as the subject minister yesterday, ministry sources said.

“The Burqa affects national security,” said the Minister adding the Burqa is a symbol of extremism which entered Sri Lanka not long ago.

Steps will also be taken the ban all unregistered Madrasa schools in Sri Lanka which are not accordance to the national education policy framework, he added

“In our early days Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa,” he said. “It is a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We are definitely going to ban it.”

The wearing of the burqa in the majority-Buddhist nation was temporarily banned in 2019 after the bombing of churches and hotels by Islamic militants that killed more than 250. 

Later that year, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, best known for crushing a decades-long insurgency in the north of the country as defence secretary, was elected president after promising a crackdown on extremism. 

Rajapaksa is accused of widespread rights abuses during the war, charges he denies. 

Weerasekera said the government plans to ban more than a thousand madrassa Islamic schools that he said were flouting national education policy. 

“Nobody can open a school and teach whatever you want to the children,” he said.

Sri Lanka had banned Burka soon after the Easter attack in 2019 under emergency regulations.

The government’s moves on burqas and schools follow an order last year mandating the cremation of COVID-19 victims – against the wishes of Muslims, who bury their dead. This ban was lifted earlier this year after criticism from the United States and international rights groups.

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