Parliament committee proposes to ban burqa immediately
Posted on February 20th, 2020

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security has proposed to immediately ban attire such as the burqa and suspend registration of political parties on ethnic and religious basis.

Meanwhile, an amendment has been suggested to be made to the Penal Code to identify making hateful statements and propagating harmful and false statements as criminal offences.

This was stated in a special report presented to Parliament today to resolve 14 controversial issues in the society following the Easter Attack an the report was tabled by the Committee Chairman MP Malith Jayatilaka.

The report states that a number of countries have already banned the burqa and the ISIS headquarters in Syria also banned the burqa on September 5, 2019. The report 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 registration of political parties on 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.

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. It has been proposed that madrassa schools should be operated only for the education of Islamic Moulavis after GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level students. The report also proposes to establish a special committee to regulate the Madrasa institutions under the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs.

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. 

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