Sri Lanka to ban the wearing of the burqa and shut more than a thousand Islamic schools, according to a government minister.
It’s the latest move from the government affecting the country’s minority Muslim population.
Speaking at a news conference, the minister for public security had this to say:
“Yesterday I signed a cabinet paper to ban the burqa. It affects our national security directly. In our early days Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa. It is a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We are definitely going to ban it. Also
there are more than 2000 madrasa schools in the country. Nobody can open a school and teach whatever you want to the children. Children from the ages of five to 16 years must study in accordance with the national education policy. Therefore more than a thousand madrases that do not adhere to the national education policy and are not registered will be closed soon”
The wearing of Burqa was temporarily banned in 2019 after Islamic militants bombed churches and hotels killing more than 250 people. Later that year, Rajapaksa became the president, promising a crackdown on extremism, according to Reuters.
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.