The Sri Lankan government — Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena — on Sunday issued a decree banning burqas and other face-covering garments from Monday, in light of the Easter Sunday attacks, which were carried out by a local cell that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
“The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” Sirisena said in a statement. The ban will be effective from Monday.
“Wearing garments that cover the face completely will be banned from tomorrow, to ensure public safety, “ the presidential decree reads.
The move comes just days after a parliamentarian submitted a Private Member’s Motion to ban the burqa on security grounds.
Muslims account for 10 per cent population of the island country. Most Sri Lankan Muslims practice a liberal form of the religion, with only a small percentage of women wearing a full face veil known as niqab.
A series of blasts shook the country on Easter Sunday , killing more than 250 people and injuring more than 500 people. The blasts took place across eight locations, including three prominent churches and three hotels in the island nation.
Later on Friday night, at least 15 people including six children were killed during police raids on suspected safe houses.
According to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, the number of foreign nationals who have been identified as killed remained at 40, including 11 from India. Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million which is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority.