Sri Lanka’s public security minister, Sarath Weerasekera, said he had signed a directive prohibiting more than 1000 Islamic schools and the burqa from operating in the country because it is a symbol of religious extremism. This would have a direct effect on the country’s minority Muslim community, which accounts for 9.7% of the total population.
His explanation was rife with controversies, “When we were younger, we had a lot of Muslim friends. Back then, however, Muslim women did not wear the burqa “he said.
This is not the first time that Burkhas are not permitted to be worn by Muslims, they were temporarily outlawed in 2019 following the bombings of churches and hotels by Islamic militants, which killed more than 250 people.
Srilanka’s policies explicitly target a specific religion; for example, last year they ordered the cremation of Covid-19 victims, against the wishes of Muslims who prefer to bury their dead. Though the ban was lifted after receiving criticism from the US and international rights organizations.
He said that no one can casually open a school and teach students whatever they want to. All children aged 5 to 16 are required to study under the national education policy. More than 1,000 madrasas that have not been registered under the national education policy will be closed. It is believed that these schools teach either Arabic or Korean language.
If officials have trouble identifying people wearing burkas, Hilmi Ahmed, vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, told the BBC that “no one will object to lifting the face cover for identification purposes.”
Ahmed also said that everyone has the freedom to wear a face-cover, regardless of their faith, “It must be viewed from the point of view of rights, and not only from the point of view of religion.”
Now Srilanka has joined the club of 19 nations that have banned the burqa, including Denmark, France, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Tajikistan, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Gabon, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Latvia, Switzerland, the Netherlands.
Religion followed in Srilanka
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