COLOMBO: Sri Lanka would ban the burqa and shut over a thousand Islamic schools.
Sarath Weerasekera, a government minister who signed a paper yesterday seeking cabinet approval to ban the full face covering worn by some Muslim women on "national security" grounds, said today that the country's minority Muslim community is being affected by the latest action.
Adding “Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa in our early days," he said "It's a new sign of religious extremism, and we're surely going to ban it."
The burqa was temporarily prohibited in the majority-Buddhist country in 2019 following the bombings of churches and hotels by Islamic militants, which killed more than 250 people.
The minister said the government also plans to ban over thousand madrassa Islamic schools arguing that they are in breach of national education policy.
He further said that nobody can open a school and teach the children whatever they want.
The government's actions on burqas and schools come after an order issued last year mandating the cremation of COVID-19 victims, which Muslims oppose because they prefer to bury their dead.
Following criticism from the United States and international rights groups, the ban was lifted earlier this year.
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