In the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday attacks on churches, hotels and other sites across the country that killed over 320 people, the Sri Lankan government is considering a ban of burqa and niqab in the country, Daily Mirror reported quoting highly placed government sources.
The government is likely to implement the ban in consultation with the clerical authorities in the mosque.
The development comes as a follow up to the terror investigation that has pointed towards the involvement of a large number of women in the attacks. So far 40 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks, including the driver of a van which was allegedly used by the suicide bombers.
UNP lawmaker Parliamentarian Ashu Marasinghe announced on Tuesday (23 April) that he is planning to move a private member bill seeking the banning of burqa in Sri Lanka, citing national security.
The bill, details of which was posted on the MP's Facebook page, says that the burqa is not a traditional attire of Muslim woman and claims it has been identified as previously being used by males to engage in terrorist activities by hiding their identities.
“I propose that it should be brought to notice the ban of burqa considering the national security of the country,” Marasinghe added.
Among the nations that have enacted a ban on the usage of burqa are Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Morocco, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Belgium, and also Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority province in northwestern China.
In October,Algeria, a predominantly Islamic country banned female public sector staff from wearing full-face veils at work. Egypt is now considered banning women from wearing the burqa. Denmark's law on Burqa came into effect on last summer and brings the country in line with similar laws in France and Belgium that prohibit full-body burqas, as well the niqab — Muslim dress which only shows the eyes.
If and when Sri Lanka decides to follow the suit, it would join a host of nations in Asia, Africa and Europe which took the step in the spirit of preventing terrorists from using the burqa to evade police or hide explosives.