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A burqa clad Sri Lankan Muslim woman walks in a street of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Saturday. AP
Gulf Today Report
Citing national security, Sri Lanka on Saturday announced plans to ban the wearing of burqas.
Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara also said that the country would close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas.
Minister says madrassas are not registered with the authorities and do not follow the national education policy.
Weerasekara said he has signed a paper on Friday seeking the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to ban burqas - outer garments that cover the body and face worn by some Muslim women.
The decision to ban burqas and madrassas is the latest move affecting the Indian Ocean island nation's minority Muslims.
Muslims make up about 9% of the 22 million people in Sri Lanka, where Buddhists account for more than 70% of the population.
"The burqa has a direct impact on national security,” Weerasekara told a ceremony at a Buddhist temple on Saturday, without elaborating.
"In our early days, we had a lot of Muslim friends, but Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa," Weerasekara said, according to video footage sent by his ministry.
The wearing of burqas was temporarily banned in 2019 after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed more than 260 people.
Two local Muslim groups that had pledged allegiance to the Daesh group have been blamed for the attacks at six locations - two Roman Catholic churches, one Protestant church and three top hotels.
Sri Lanka on Tuesday lifted a social media ban that was imposed after the Daesh-claimed Easter bombings, a sign of security easing on Tuesday even as a Cabinet minister said he and others had received intelligence that they could be targeted by the same group in possible additional attacks.
Sri Lanka blocked access to Facebook and WhatsApp on Monday after a posting sparked anti-Muslim riots across several towns in the latest fallout from the Easter Sunday suicide attacks.
Islamic clerics in Sri Lanka are asking Muslim women to continue to avoid wearing face veils until the government clarifies whether they can wear them again now
One week after the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka is still in turmoil. As law enforcement and security forces proceed with investigations, and searches throughout the island have uncovered more weapons, fear, confusion and misinformation are rife.
During the meeting, Sheikh Mohamed welcomed the prime ministers of Jordan and Egypt and asked them to convey his greetings to King Abdullah II and President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, wishing further progress and prosperity for Jordan and Egypt.
The sun was perpendicular to the Kaaba at 12:18pm on Saturday for the first time this year, SPA reported. This made the shadow of Holy Kaaba disappear from all the four sides, surprising many pilgrims present during that time.
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