Sri Lanka Parliamentary Committee wants the Burka banned

ECONOMYNEXT – A Parliamentary Oversight Committee is calling for an immediate ban on the wearing of the Burka and a “phasing out” of political parties registered on an ethnic and religious basis.

The Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security tabled a special report in Parliament Thursday which aimed to resolve 14 controversial issues that arose after the Easter Sunday attacks.

The report was tabled in Parliament by the Chairman of the Committee, Parliamentarian Malith Jayatilaka, a media release from the Parliament said.

The report states that a number of countries have already banned the burqa including Syria.

The release said the committee “has suggested that the police should have the power request any person wearing a face-covering in a public place to take off such face-covering in order to establish the identity of such person and If such a request by police officer is not complied with, police should have the power to arrest the individual without a warrant.”

The report has recommended to the Election Commission to enact legislation to suspend the registration of political parties on an ethnic and religious basis.

Accordingly, the registration of political parties which have some racial or religious conflict in their constitution or in the name of the party is prohibited. It has been proposed that such a party should be converted into a political or non-religious political party within a specified period of time (2-3 years).

The report states that all students studying in madrassa institutions should be absorbed into the normal school system under the Ministry of Education within three years.

However, the committee rejected an earlier proposal to bring these Islamic Education institutions under the Ministry of Education. It has been proposed that madrassa schools should be operated only for the education of Islamic Moulavis or preachers.

It contains recommendations on 14 areas including the National Defence Policy, Amending the Immigration and Emigration law in line with the national and international new developments, The Manner of Amending the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Law , Timely Requirement for the amendment of Wakf Act , Halal Certification Process and establishment of a Ministry of Religious Affairs with all religions and Halal certification. ( Colombo, February 21, 2020)

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-Arjuna Ranawana

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