The Sri Lankan government has placed a complete ban on all types of burqas and face covers. A burqa is a garment mostly worn by Muslim women. It covers the entire body, with mesh over the eyes.
The ban follows a series of bombings on Easter Sunday that killed more than 250 people and wounded at least 500 in Sri Lankan churches and hotels.
“President Maithripala Sirisena took this decision to further support the ongoing security and help the armed forces to easily identify the identity of any wanted perpetrators,” according to a press release from the president’s office.
The country is still on high alert a week after the bomb attacks, with warnings that more violence could be imminent.
Police have carried out a number of raids in the eastern part of the country in their search for the attackers who they believe were members of the National Tawheed Jamath, a local extremist group. On Friday night, 10 civilians, including six children, were killed along with six suspected terrorists after a shootout between police and alleged militants.
Colombo Page quoted the Prime Minister’s Office as saying in a statement that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has stated that since the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), the organisation of Muslim clerics in Sri Lanka has proposed to ban the burqa, the Minister of Justice will discuss with the council and draft the necessary legislation.
The decision to ban burqas across the country came just days after a
Shortly afer the blast, Sri Lankan parliamentarian MP Ashu Marasinghe submitted a Private Member’s Motion to ban the burqa on security grounds, arguing that the burka is not a part of traditional Muslim attire and that terrorists use it to carry out the heinous activities.
“Our Muslim leaders have also accepted that Burka is not a traditional Muslim attire and some places even have notices to remove the Burka before entering,” he said in his motion.
“Accordingly, considering the national security I propose to ban the burka,” he added.
Eight explosions rattled various churches and high-end hotels located across Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter on April 21.
One of the female perpetrators of the massacre reportedly escaped from an apartment complex wearing burqas.
Officers were questioning a suspect in the building hours after the initial attacks when they set off a suicide bomb, killing three police officers. Three suspects were detained there.