In a formal response to the Easter Sunday suicide bombings of Christian followers, Sri Lanka has issued an emergency law that bans the face covering. The country’s President, Maithripaa Sirisena, made an announcement on Monday that he would exercise his ability to execute a federal emergency law that would ban head coverings of any type, as well as any covering that “hinders identification,” as reported by BBC News.
The law was issued after various reports seem to suggest that the individuals involved in the bombings were indeed women who were wearing head coverings. Government officials stated to the Daily Mirror that there were several reports of witnesses saying they saw women in burqas fleeing from the bomb sites. The same officials stated they consider the individual's suspects in the Easter Sunday bombings that claimed the lives of 250 worshippers and sent another 450 to local hospitals.
On April 23rd, a bill was proposed that would ban the wearing of burqas, by the Sri Lankan MP, on his Facebook page. Marasinghe stated that the burqas covering of the head pose as a significant security risk, as they provide terrorists a way to hide their identity.
Many Sri Lankan residents, of Muslim faith, spoke out about the proposed ban, saying that they had already voluntarily begun not to wear burqas. The vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, Hilmy Ahmed, spoke with the BBC about the burqa ban proposed by Marasinghe.
“It is the stupidest thing to do. Three days ago 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.”
Reports indicated that government authorities canceled all Sunday church services across Sri Lanka, keeping the country on high alert after the terrorist attacks. However, it was also reported that Christians countrywide gathered for a candlelight vigil and prayed outside the St. Anthony's Shrine, in Colombo, one of several locations that fell victim to the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. Church bells were reported to have tolled, mournfully, as the victims of the horrific bombings were remembered.
Although many feel that the proposed bill banning burqas needs to be discussed further, there are also those who think that the ban is long overdue. Either way, one thing many can agree on is that turbulent times lay ahead for the country.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Is the banning of burqas the right move in helping to up the security of the nation?