Muslim Clerics Give Women Permission to Join Armed Forces

April 4, 2006

Source: Everything Sri Lanka

Wire Service: AP

On April 4, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Islamic clerics on Monday gave Muslim women permission to join Sri Lanka's first exclusively Muslim infantry battalion to help provide security in the country's insurgency-wracked east, a religious leader said. Few Muslims serve in Sri Lanka's armed forces, and Muslim women traditionally stayed out of the military. Approval for Muslim women to join the military came after Sri Lanka's military last month began recruiting for the exclusively Muslim unit. The unit will protect Muslims living in the troubled Ampara province where Tamil Tiger rebels, who are mostly Hindus, want to extend their domination. Military spokesman Brig. Sudhir Samarasinghe said Muslim women will be recruited to join the forces in interviews this week... Women from Sri Lanka's majority ethnic group the Buddhist Sinhalese are also allowed to join the country's military, while the rebels are known to have a large number of female fighters."