Sri Lanka has announced that the country is banning all face coverings, including burqas and niqabs, following the Easter Sunday suicide bombings.
The attacks that killed 253 people — many at churches — were unleashed by Islamic terrorists.
Now, President Maithripala Sirisena used emergency powers to outlaw any form of face covering in public in a bid to track down terrorists behind the massacre.
The country said the hijab and Chador — which do not cover the face — are exempt from the ban.
Manish Swarup /
The niqab covers the whole head apart from the eyes while the burqa features a thin veil across the eye-openings.
MPs have been calling for the ban on the burqa and niqab since the country’s newfound calm was shattered by the sectarian attacks.
One politician said terrorists frequently use the religious coverings to evade cops.
The law went into force on Monday.
The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” Sirisena’s office said in a statement.
Even Muslim clerics have urged women to avoid covering their faces because it could trigger a backlash. However, Muslims in Sri Lanka — about 10% of the population — practice a more liberal interpretation of Islam.
Very few Muslim women wear niqabs and burqas as it is.
But three cops who were questioning a suspect hours after the initial attacks were killed when a suicide bomb went off.
Female accomplices wearing burqas escaped the dragnet, intelligence sources said.