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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sri Lanka to ban burqa, shut 1000 madrasas for national security

Sri Lanka will ban the wearing of the burqa and shut more than 1000 Islamic madrassas (religious schools) on national security grounds, government minister public security Sarath Weerasekera said on Saturday.

“In our early days Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa,” he said while addressing a press conference. “It is a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We are definitely going to ban it.”

Weerasekera said the government plans to ban the madrassas which were flouting national education policy. “Nobody can open a school and teach whatever you want to the children,” he said.

The wearing of the burqa in the majority-Buddhist nation was temporarily banned in 2019 after the bombing of hotels and churches by Zakir Naik inspired Islamic terrorists (interestingly called ‘Islamic militants’ in a Reuters report, whereas same Reuters refers to a stabbing in UK as ‘terrorism’) that killed more than 250. Later that year, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was earlier the defence minister, was elected president after promising a crackdown on Islamic extremism.

In January last year, Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa had directed the country’s Muslim Religious Affairs Department to ensure that all madrassas are registered with the department and that their syllabus are re-evaluated and updated in consultation with the education ministry.

But it appears that the move of controlling syllabus was found to be insufficient to prevent radicalization of young minds, and hence the government has now taken the logical next step of completely closing 1000 madrasas.

Muslims number around 2 million in Sri Lanka, constituting around 9.7% of the total population. While data on exact number of madrasas in the country is not easily available, shutting down 1000 madrasas suggests a near total ban.

Lesson for Bharat?

Studies have found madrasas to be crucibles of Islamic radicalisation and potential recruiting sites for jihad (Islamic holy war). But when it comes to one of the worst victims of Islamic terror, i.e. Bharat, there is still no official acknowledgement of the threat posed by these religious schools. Even some rational Muslim leaders have requested the government to ‘shut down madrasas as they produce terrorists’.

However, despite a supposedly ‘Hindu nationalist semi-fascist’ government (recently downgraded to ‘Electoral Autocracy’ by a Western think tank) being in power for 7 years, its supporters have to be happy with baby steps like the Assam government ending government funding of madrasas! Yes, Bharat’s secular state doesn’t only allow madrasas to operate with near zero oversight, it actually funnels tax-payer money to these schools! On the other hand, it siphons off money from Hindu temples and diverts a good chunk of that to ‘secular’ causes!

For over a decade now, the secular state has been pumping funds into madrasas as part of the centrally run Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) – to ‘encourage’ these religious schools to introduce modern academic subjects such as Science, Mathematics, Social Studies and Hindi and English languages, as well as vocational training for older students.

This scheme provides funds for hiring ‘qualified’ teachers and building modern infrastructure. So far, over 21,000 madrasas have benefited from financial assistance to the tune of ₹1,138 crore as per a study by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA).

What is more, the SPQEM funding has witnessed a substantial hike – from Rs. 120 crore in FY20, to Rs. 220 crore in FY21 and projected to be Rs. 280 crore by FY23! By 2023, the scheme will be providing assistance to a staggering 9,000 madrasas, paying salaries to 27,000 teachers in ‘modern subjects’!

It is downright wishful thinking that such gentle persuasion for ‘modernization’ will have the desired impact, especially without strict monitoring and enforcement of detoxified syllabus. This push for infrastructure modernization is likely to create a new breed of even more tech-savvy and polished fanatics, the types which Islamo-fascist NGOs like Zakat Foundation can then further polish for placement in the countries elite bureaucracy.

One look at Islamist bigots like Sharjeel Imam and Sharjeel Usmani, bright young men who have studied at top insititutions like IIT and AMU respectively, show the danger of this ‘One Hand Quran, One Hand Computer’ approach. Unless their religious and cultural indoctrination is controlled, no amount of teaching modern subjects can tackle the Islamist menace. As it is, the de-radicalisation techniques of Bharat’s security agencies also seem to be hopelessly ineffective as recent events demonstrate.

The only long-term solution to the problem of Islamic radicalization is converting all madrasas into regular schools, and strictly monitoring mosque sermons and religious preaching among Muslim communities. France and Sri Lanka have shown the way. Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands and Sweden also currently have full or partial bans on religious and non-religious face coverings, aimed at outlawing the niqab and burqa which is viewed by Europeans as a symbol of radical Islam. France has also correctly identified another dimension of this problem, the Islamo-leftist alliance in academia.

While we are stuck debating outdated ideas of political correctness and secularism, the rest of the world is marching ahead to safeguard their national interests. More than our politicians, it is our intellectual and social elites who are responsible for keeping us chained to colonial-era ideas which will have disastrous consequences for the nation in the not too distant future.

(Featured image: representative only)


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