Sri Lanka Bans Muslims from Wearing Face Veils for ‘Public Protection’

Hannah Bleau

WATCH: ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings

The United States has issued a travel advisory for Americans traveling to Sri Lanka for obvious reasons. Nearly 300 people were killed in bombings on Easter Sunday, and they expect more terrorist activity.

The advisory reads in part:

On April 26, 2019, the Department of State ordered the departure of all school-age family members of U.S. government employees in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Department also authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, hospitals, and other public areas.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Sri Lanka due to the security environment.

Authorities in Sri Lanka are trying to take action and have made a very controversial decision. Sri Lanka is banning full face coverings, because it essentially “hinders identification.”

Via BBC:

President Maithripala Sirisena said he was using an emergency law to impose the restriction from Monday.

Any face garment which “hinders identification” will be banned to ensure security, his office said. Muslim leaders criticised the move.

The niqab and burka – worn by Muslim women – were not specifically named.

The move is perceived as targeting those garments, however.

It’s pretty obvious they’re talking about garments worn by Muslim women. It’s thought that roughly 10% of the population is Muslim, so this ban will have a noticeable impact.

Predictably, they’re not happy.

Muslim groups have been highly critical of the president’s decision.

“It is the stupidest thing to do. Three days ago we [the Muslim community] took a voluntary decision regarding this. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulema told all Muslim women not to wear face veils for security reasons. If they wanted to wear a veil, then they were told not to come out,” Hilmy Ahmed, vice-president of the Sri Lanka Muslim Council, told the BBC.

“We see this as a reflection of the conflict between the president and the prime minister,” Ahmed continued. “We strongly criticize the decision. We will not accept the authorities interfering with the religion without consulting the religious leadership.”