Madrasas in Sri Lanka should be regulated by the Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry and not by the Education Ministry, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said, days after the country's worst terror attack killed over 250 people. Authorities are on high-alert in the country after nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday on April 21, killing 253 people and injuring about 500.
The Islamic State terror group claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attacks. Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that Wickremesinghe has stressed the need for the Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry to look into the regulation of Madrasas.
"The Prime Minister wanted the Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry to deal so as to prevent any controversy," Kariyawasam was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror newspaper. Earlier, Kariyawasam had said that the Education Ministry would take steps to regulate them.
Some 800 Foreign Islamic clerics were engaged in religious teaching at Madrasas, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said, adding that they had arrived on tourist visas and therefore should be deported. Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million which is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority. Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankans is Christians.
(With inputs from agencies.)