Sri Lanka has announced a ban on face coverings, including veils and burqas, in the wake of the Easter suicide bombings that targeted Christians and killed 253 people. Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10 percent of its 21 million population. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Catholic churches keep shut.
Just days after the co-ordinated suicide attacks, Sri Lankan MP Professor Ashu Marasinghe called for the burqa to be banned across the country to prevent male and female terrorists using it to cover up their identity.
Professor Marasinghe, who is a member of the United National Party, declared on Facebook that he was going to present a private member’s bill about the issue.
He went on to claim that both male and female terrorists have used the burqa in the past while committing atrocities. Marasinghe also called for the niqab to be outlawed.
The new decree which will take effect from Monday, means Muslim women in Sri Lanka will no longer be able to wear veils covering their faces.
The powers prevent the wearing of the niqab, which covers all but the eyes, and the burqa, which includes a veil across the eye opening. But the law does not prevent women wearing the chador or the hijab, which leave the face exposed but cover the hair and neck.
Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10 percent of its 21 million population.
“The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult”, President Sirisena’s office said in a statement on Sunday.
The effects of Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings reverberated across two faiths today, as Catholics shut out of their churches for fear of new attacks and left with only a televised Mass.
The closing of all of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches – an extraordinary measure unheard of in the church’s centuries on this island off the southern tip of India – came after local officials and the U.S. Embassy in Colombo warned that more militants remained on the loose with explosives a week after initial bombings.
Source: voiceofeurope.com, dailymail.co.uk/news