Sri Lanka to ban burqas, close over 1,000 Islamic schools - GulfToday

Sri Lanka to ban burqas, close over 1,000 Islamic schools


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.


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