COLOMBO: Muslim women in Sri Lanka will not be allowed to wear any form of face veils in public from Monday under new regulations announced by President Maithripala Sirisena who used emergency powers in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings.
The decision was approved by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and the announcement was made late on Sunday via a press release.
According to reports, the release said that any form of face cover “that will hinder the identification of a person is banned under emergency regulations.”
“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,” the release added.
With this rule in place, any kind of garment that covers the face like masks, veils and burqas, has been prohibited in Sri Lanka. The move came after a private members’ motion was submitted by a parliamentarian in the island country for the seeking the ban.
The country is still reeling from the terror blasts that ripped across three cities on April 21 in several churches and hotels, taking at least 253 lives and leaving hundreds more injured. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings that were executed by suicide bombers; and the National Thowheed Jamath as well as Jammiyathul Maillathu Ibrahim are suspected to have links the blasts.
Sri Lanka has been on high alert since Easter, with about 10,000 military soldiers being deployed throughout the country. Commercial establishments, church services as well as schools and universities are shut.
A week after the attack on Easter Sunday, the country’s Catholic churches remained closed because of security fears.
Sri Lanka is not the first country to have prohibited the burqa though. Of the 13 countries that have a full or partial ban on the burqa or face veils, France was the first European country to ban the burqa in public places. Belgium followed suit in 2011, prohibiting full face veils. Other nations like The Netherlands have a partial ban meaning that women cannot cover their faces in “specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen”.