Sri Lanka Bans Burka for 'National Security' Following Easter Sunday Bombings
National ban of 'face coverings' to prevent people making 'identification difficult'
In the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings, which left hundreds dead after Islamic terrorists targetted Christian worshippers, Sri Lanka has banned all "face coverings" - including burkas and veils - for "national security" reasons, according to reports.
President Maithripala Sirisena invoked emergency powers to enforce the new laws that ban any form of face covering in public.
As of Monday, after the new order was announced Sunday, Muslim women in Sri Lanka will no longer be able to wear burkas or veils that cover their faces.
Sri Lankan politicians called for the ban last week, due to the religious garments being used by terrorists to conceal their identities and escape authorities.
The new law prevents the wearing of the burqa, which includes a veil across the eye-opening, and the niqab, which covers all but the eyes.
The law still allows women to wear the chador or the hijab, however, which leave the face exposed but cover the hair and neck.
According to News Thud, social media users were pointing out that “many shops in Sri Lanka" are displaying a "burqa ban sign.”
Many shops in srilanka displaying this burqa ban sign pic.twitter.com/nxA8gl0PTY— Swami Someshwaranand (@SSomeshwaranand) April 23, 2019
The information was conveyed late on Sunday via an official press release from President Sirisena's office.
The release said: “Any form of face covering that will hinder the identification of a person is banned under emergency regulations.”
“A decision has been taken by the president to ban all forms of face covering that will hinder easy identification under emergency regulations,” it added.
"The ban is to ensure national security... No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult."
According to the Daily Mail, the announcement came days after local Islamic clerics urged Muslim women not to cover their faces amid fears of a backlash after the bombings carried out on luxury hotels and churches by jihadists affiliated to ISIS.
The Sri Lankan cabinet had proposed laws on face veils at a recent meeting.
It had deferred the matter until talks with Islamic clerics could be held, on the advice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10 percent of its 21 million population.
Most Sri Lankan Muslims practice a liberal form of the religion and only a small number of women wear the niqab.
The law takes effect eight days after the Easter bombings of churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people.
Dozens of suspects have been arrested but local officials and governments around the world have warned that more militants remained on the loose with explosives.
Just days after the coordinated 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.
Defense sources told Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror that female accomplices had escaped from a Dematagoda apartment complex wearing burqas.
Officers had been questioning a suspect in the building hours after the initial attacks when they set off a suicide bomb, killing three police officers, where three suspects were detained.
The effects of Sri Lanka's Easter bombings reverberated across two faiths on Sunday, as Catholics shut out of their churches for fear of new attacks and left with only a televised Mass.
Many across the nation knelt before their televisions as Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, delivered a homily before members of the clergy and the country's leaders in a small chapel at his residence in the capital.
Ranjith told those watching across the nation: "This is a time our hearts are tested by the great destruction that took place last Sunday.
"This is a time questions, such as; 'does God truly love us, does he have compassion toward us,' can arise in human hearts."
Spoke to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka this morning to inform him that the United States stands by him and his country in the fight against terrorism. Also expressed condolences on behalf of myself and the People of the United States!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
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.
Before services began, the Islamic State group claimed three militants who blew themselves up on Friday night after exchanging fire with police in the country's east.
Investigators sifting through that site and others uncovered a bomb-making operation capable of spreading far more destruction.
Police said they had arrested 48 suspects over the last 24 hours as checkpoints mounted by all of Sri Lanka's security forces sprung up across this country of 21 million people.
Those arrested include two men whom authorities recently appealed to the public to locate.
The government also warned that it would crack down on those spreading false information and making inflammatory remarks.
Police, meanwhile, entered the main mosque of National Towheed Jamaat on Sunday afternoon, just a day after authorities declared it and another organization terror groups over the bombings.