Sri Lankan government has said that it will ban the wearing of the burqa, a full-body veil that covers the face as well, and close more than 1,000 Islamic schools, in the country.
Minister of Public Security Rear Admiral (retd.) Dr. Sarath Weerasekera told the Parliament that it’s “a measure to prevent the recurrence of Islamic extremist activities in the country.”
“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 Minister said.
The majority Buddhist Sinhalese have been demanding a ban on it claiming for long, calling it against Sri Lankan ethos and culture.
The Lankan government has also decided to shut down over 1,000 Madrassas across the Island. The Minister has said the Islamic seminaries were flouting national education policy.
“Nobody can open a school and teach whatever you want to the children,” the Minister said during a press conference.
Last year the Lankan government mandated the cremation of all COVID-19 victims including Muslims, who bury their dead.
After criticism from the United States and international rights groups, the ban was lifted.
Muslims account for about 10% (a little over 2 million) or the total 22 million people in the country.
The ‘Burqa Ban’ and the Madrasa ban drew criticism from several activists and Rights groups.
Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch has called the ban a “discriminatory act against Muslims”.
Many Sri Lankans have taken to Twitter and called it a ‘distraction’ from the real issues.
Don't let Saraths burqa ban distract you from the fact that we're losing forest cover faster than you can say burqa, or that the cost of living is going up, or that we're in crippling debt as a country, or that we're facing a balance of payments crisis… among others.#SriLanka https://t.co/Q9qGDki0WR— Rehana. (@RegularReh) March 13, 2021
To hide the Biggest #Scam in Sri Lankan history, They bought the #flag issue yesterday, its #Burqa today! Just like the Forced Cremations and Cattle slaughter ban!— Nuzly (@nuzlyMN) March 13, 2021
Fooling People since 1948.#lka #srilanka #sugarscam #politics pic.twitter.com/zMQIMfdvHG