Muslim women in burqa face veils
Muslim women in burqa face veilsSerge Attal/Flash 90

Sri Lanka has announced that it is going forward with a plan to ban the burqa while shuttering over 1,000 madrassas for reasons of national security.

On Friday, the South Asian country's Minister of Public Security, Sarath Weerasekara, stated he has asked the government's cabinet to enact a ban on the Islamic full body and face garment. According to the Associated Press, illegal madrassas will also be shuttered in a campaign to fight "religious extremism."

The burqa "is a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We will definitely ban it," Weerasekara said during a ceremony at a Buddhist temple, stated the Associated Press."

Currently at least 18 countries have burqa bands, including nations in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The ban is not new. In 2009, Sri Lanka enacted a temporary ban on the burqa after 260 people were killed during the Easter Sunday terror attack which targeted hotels and churches.

Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million which is home to approximately 14 million Buddhists, has a Muslim population of around nine percent.