Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Sri Lanka to ban burqa and close 1,000 Islamic schools as discrimination of Muslims continues

Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara announced that Sri Lanka is to ban the burqa and close 1,000 Islamic schools on the grounds of 'national security' as Islamaphobia on the island continues. 

"In our early days, we had a lot of Muslim friends, but Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa," Weerasekara reportedly said. "It's a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We are definitely going to ban it," he added. 

Weerasekara, who signed the cabinet order for the ban of the burqa and the closure of Islamic schools, also known as madrasas, on Friday, now needs parliamentary approval before the policy can be implemented. 

Reacting to the announcement, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, tweeted: 



The announcement comes just weeks after Sri Lanka finally ended it's forced cremation policy after numerous domestic and international calls for the discriminatory policy to end. 

Following the coronavirus pandemic last year, Muslims were denied the right to bury those suspected to have died from Covid-19, directly violating traditional Islamic burial rights. Sri Lanka continued to enforce the policy despite World Health organisation (WHO) guidelines outlining that Covid-19 victims could be cremated or buried. 

Last year, the Sectoral Oversight Committee proposed to ban all kinds of face veils and face covers in public places, including the burqa, in a special report submitted to the Sri Lanka parliament.

The report suggested that police officials should be given the power to request any person wearing something to cover their face in a public place should be expected to remove it at any given moment of request in order to establish the identity of such person and if such request is not complied with, police officials should have the power to arrest the individual without a warrant.

The report has reportedly also proposed that all students studying currently in Islamic religious schools, are expected to integrate into a state school under the Ministry of Education within three years. The Madrasa institutions have been advised that they should only operate for the purposes of ‘Islamic Mawlawi’ education for students that have completed GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level.  



We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.