Government to ban burqa and over 1,000 madrasas

The Cabinet paper to enforce a ban on the burqa has been signed, the Government announced today adding that over 1,000 madrasas will also be banned.

Minister of Public Security Rear Admiral (Rtd) Sarath Weerasekara said that he signed the Cabinet paper to ban the burqa.

He said that the burqa is a threat to National security.

“We have friends who are Muslims and they never wore the burqa. This is something promoted by religious extremists. So we will ban it,” he said.

The Minister also said that there are over 2000 madrasas in Sri Lanka.

He said that no one can open a school in Sri Lanka and teach what they want.

The Minister said that all local schools must follow the National education policy.

As a result, Weerasekara said that over 1000 madrasas in Sri Lanka will also be banned.

Last month Justice Minister Ali Sabry had said that Cabinet approval had been sought for the ban on the burqa.

The Justice Minister said the Government was looking to ban full face coverings in public places.

He insisted that the move is not an attempt to target any community but is in the best interest of National security.

In February last year a Parliament committee had also recommended a ban on the burqa.

Emergency regulations were enforced following the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019 imposing a ban on clothing that conceals the face.

Human rights groups had however raised concerns with Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Dinushika Dissanayake, saying back then that at a time when many Muslims in Sri Lanka feared a backlash, imposing a ban that effectively targets women wearing a face veil for religious reasons risks stigmatizing them.

Dissanayake said that where there are legitimate security concerns, the authorities can carry out identity checks when objectively necessary. (Colombo Gazette)

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