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Sri Lanka bans importing Islamic religious books unless approved by the Ministry of Defence

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence has issued a ban on importing Islamic religious books except for those that the ministry approve.

This statement follows the retraction of Sri Lanka’s internationally condemned policy of forced cremations. Thus far the government has only permitted selective burial grounds for coronavirus victims almost solely in the island's North-East. This has triggered protests from Tamil and Muslim civil society who view this as a ploy by the government to induce tensions between their communities.

Sri Lanka has also proposed a discriminatory ban on face veils which is seen as an assault on Muslim’s religious freedom. The government has denied criticisms of discrimination, alleging that veils pose a threat to national security.

With the current UN Human Rights Council's focus on the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka, Alan Keenan, senior consultant for the International Crisis Group, has emphasised the importance of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member states in exerting pressure on Sri Lanka over the "growing discrimination against Muslims”.

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