Sri Lanka bans burqas for 'public protection' after recent terror attacks
The move to ban burqas appears to be a result of the series of bombings on Easter Sunday that killed more than 250 people and wounded at least 500 in Sri Lankan churches and hotels
Sri Lanka's President is apparently banning the use of burqas worn by some Muslim women, calling the garment "a security risk and a flag of fundamentalism". The move to ban burqas appears to be a result of the series of bombings on Easter Sunday that killed more than 250 people and wounded at least 500 across churches and hotels in the island nation.
"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," stated a press release from the President's office. It is being reported that the ban on burqas, i.e., garments that cover the entire body, with a mesh over the eyes, will be in effect from Monday onwards.
With this rule in place, any kind of garment that covers the face, including 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 seeking the ban.
According to investigations by the police, the National Tawheed Jamath, a local extremist group, is believed to be behind the Easter bombings, although ISIS has claimed responsibility. Police, however, have been frantically looking for a link between the attackers and the terror group, even though nothing has been proven yet.
Even though it has been a week since the bombings took place, the country is still on high alert, with about 10,000 military soldiers being deployed throughout the country and further warnings issued that more violence could be imminent. Commercial establishments, churches, schools, and universities have remained shut since the incident.
In the wake of the vicious attacks, police authorities conducted a number of raids in the eastern part of the country in their search for the attackers. According to CNN, Friday night saw 10 civilians, including six children, killed along with six suspected terrorists after a shootout between police and alleged militants.
One Sri Lankan hotel has already imposed a ban on all facial coverings after the terror attacks. However, Sri Lanka is not the only country to put a burqa ban in place throughout the country. In the past, France was the first European country to ban the burqa in public places.
Belgium followed suit in 2011, prohibiting full-face veils. Of the 13 countries that have a full or partial ban on the burqa and/or face veils, 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."