Rights activists concerned about ACJU’s move on full-face cover | Sunday Observer

Rights activists concerned about ACJU’s move on full-face cover

Rights activists are concerned that the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama’s (ACJU) latest move to reach out to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to lift the ban on full-face cover would threaten the freedom of choice of Muslim women.

Hundreds of Muslim households in Dehiwela received complaint forms from the Colombo Mosque Federation, which is part of the ACJU, yesterday (3), addressed to the HRCSL complaining that the Public Administration Circular 13/2019 (I) titled, ‘Attire of Public Officers’ which calls to expose the full face of individuals (except ears) to ensure clear identification violates ‘ethnic, religious and personal’ rights. The respondents are named as Minister of Public Administration and Disaster Management, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, his Secretary J. J. Ratnasiri, and the Director-General of Establishment of the Ministry H. A. Chandana Kumarasinghe.

“Before this, the face veil (or cover) was more informal, but after this group goes to the HRCSL and force it to work towards lifting the ban it would get legitimacy,” human rights campaigner Shreen Abdul Saroor said, adding that this was extremely worrying.

The forms signed by Muslim women will be handed over to the HRCSL. Saroor said women are obliged to sign this form, despite their own personal beliefs, as it is issued through the mosque.

Meanwhile, today (4) a conference titled ‘Safeguarding the Rights of the Muslims’ is scheduled to be held at the Muhiyyaddeen Grand Jummah Masjid in Dehiwela.

The Sunday Observer learns that politicians, businessmen, Mullahs and other men holding high positions are invited to the conference by the Colombo District Masjid Federations. Fellow federations were also asked to bring 25-50 people representing each area, to the conference.

The ban on the full-face cover was introduced by the Government following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that killed 160 and left 500 others wounded.