Muslim Women Asked to Remove Abaya at Sri Lanka’s Hospital


Raisa Wickrematunge-The mother of a sick child at Lady Ridgeway Hospital says that she was asked to remove her ‘abaya’ (cloak) when she visited the hospital to see her child.

The mother, whose child was diagnosed with dengue fever, visited Lady Ridgeway Hospital on April 13 at around 9.30 p.m.


At the time she visited the hospital she said the nurse on duty at the Admission desk had asked her to remove her abaya if she wanted to enter the hospital premises.

Upon querying why she had to remove her abaya she was told that the traditional Muslim clothing might frighten the children. At that point the lady had asked if it was alright if she could wear a light-colored shawl instead.

This had been allowed but the staff had told the Muslim mother that she could not cover her face even with a light colored shawl.

However when contacted by The Sunday Leader, the Director of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital Dr. Ratnasiri Hewage denied the allegations. The Director said that there are around 20 to 30 Muslim mothers at the hospital at present, many of whom are wearing their traditional dress.

“There is no such policy (to stop Muslim women from wearing the abaya). Any group can wear their own costume,” the Director said.


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