A week after Islamist terrorists carried out coordinated suicide bombings that killed 253 people, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday announced a ban on face-covering.
Sirisena said he was using emergency powers to ban any form of face covering in public. The restriction will take effect from Monday, his office said in a statement.
“The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” the statement said.
It came days after local Islamic clerics urged Muslim women not to cover their faces amid fears of a backlash after the bombings carried out by jihadists affiliated with ISIS.
Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10% of its 21 million population.
Most Sri Lankan Muslims practice a liberal form of the religion and only a small number of women wear the niqab.
– with reporting by AFP