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Sri Lanka expels 161 foreign Muslim clerics, including Indians, for flouting visa regulations

Colombo, Mon, 23 Jan 2012 ANI

Colombo, Jan 23 (ANI): Sri Lanka has ordered a group of 161 foreign Islamic clerics, including Indians, to leave the country for flouting visa regulations.


Sri Lanka's immigration head Chulananda Perera said that the clerics had no right to preach in mosques as they had arrived on tourist visas.


"They have violated immigration laws. A tourist visa is to have a holiday or visit friends and family, and not to preach Islam," The BBC quoted Perera, as saying.


The official also said that some local Muslims had complained that the visitors were not teaching a moderate form of Islam.


The group also included preachers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives and Arab nations. They have been ordered to leave by January31.


Perera said the group belonged to Tablighi Jamaat, an international Islamic movement popular in Sri Lanka and the region.


According to the report, Muslim members of Sri Lanka's government have expressed concern at the mass expulsion, and are expected to meet other officials to try to delay the move.


The news has also created consternation in the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, the third largest ethnic group in the country after Sinhalese and Tamils. (ANI)


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