The government of Sri Lanka imposes a ban on covering faces. The move comes just days after a Member of Parliament in Sri Lanka submitted a motion to ban burqa citing security reasons.
In light of the Easter Sunday attacks, the Sri Lankan government has imposed ban on facial coverings Sunday. With this move, the country joins Asian, African, and European nations that have banned burqa on grounds of security.
President Maithripala Sirisena has called the garment worn by Muslim women “a security risk and a flag of fundamentalism”. “President Maithripala Sirisena took this decision to further support the on-going security. The move will help armed forces to easily recognize the identity of any wanted perpetrators,” said the president’s office.
The decision came after multiple explosions that witnessed mass killing of nearly 360 people, leaving at least 500 injured. “Wearing garments that cover the face completely will be banned from tomorrow, to ensure public safety,” stated the decree. The attire worn by Muslim women – niqab and burqa – was not specifically mentioned in the decree. However, the move is perceived as targeting the outfit.
Ashu Marasinghe, a Sri Lankan Parliament member, had stated earlier in his motion to ban burqa for security reasons. “Our Muslim leaders have also accepted that burka is not a traditional Muslim attire. Some places even have notices to remove the burka before entering,” said Marasinghe.
All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), a Muslim cleric organisation, had also suggested avoiding niqab for covering faces. It said that the security forces will not get hindered in their efforts to maintain national security.
Till now only one hotel in Sri Lanka has reportedly banned facial coverings after the attacks. The move has come days after the series of blasts hit the nation during Easter progress on April 21. While the Islamic State has claimed its responsibility, the police have detained 58 suspects so far.