The Sri Lankan government has asked more than 150 Islamic clerics to leave the country for preaching religion flouting visa guidelines.
According to the AFP, a group of 161 clerics belonging to neighbouring countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and the Middle East have been asked to leave the island nation by the end of this month.
Chulananda Perera, Sri Lanka's controller of immigration and emigration, told the AFP: "We have ordered them to leave the country by January 31. They have violated immigration laws. A tourist visa is to have a holiday or visit friends and family and not to preach Islam."
The clerics, who belong to the Tabligh Jamat group, reached Sri Lanka towards the end of 2011. The decision to expel them was taken following several complaints from local residents. "Foreign clerics wishing to preach Islam in Sri Lanka, must first apply for permission through the religious affairs authorities," Perera added.