Sri Lanka Says It ‘Takes Time’ To Consider Proposed Burqa Ban | Islamophobia News
Amid the outrage, a government spokesperson said the ban is a serious move that requires consultation and consensus.
The Sri Lankan government has said it will take time to consider a proposal to ban the wearing of the burqa, which a senior security official called a sign of “religious extremism.”
Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara said last week he was seeking cabinet approval to ban the burqa – a garment worn by some Muslim women covering the body and face – a move which he said would have a direct impact on national security.
However, government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said on Tuesday that a ban was a serious decision requiring consultation and consensus.
“This will be done in consultation. So it takes time, ”he said without further details during the weekly media conference organized to announce the cabinet’s decisions.
Previously, a Pakistani diplomat and United Nations expert expressed concern over a possible ban, with Pakistani Ambassador Saad Khattak saying a ban would only hurt the feelings of Muslims.
Khattak tweeted on Monday that the ban “would only undermine the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims around the world.”
The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, tweeted that a ban was “incompatible with international law” and the rights to free religious expression.
Wearing the burqa in Sri Lanka was temporarily banned in 2019 shortly after the Easter Sunday bombings of churches and hotels that killed more than 260 people in the Indian Ocean island nation.
Two local Muslim groups believed to have pledged allegiance to the ISIL group (ISIS) have been accused of committing attacks in six locations – two Roman Catholic churches, one Protestant church and three large hotels.
Sri Lanka also plans to close more than 1,000 Islamic schools, known as madrassas, because they were unregistered and allegedly failed to follow the national education policy.
Muslims make up about 9 percent of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people, where Buddhists make up over 70 percent of the population.
Tamils from ethnic minorities, who are predominantly Hindus, make up about 15 percent of the population.