The burka and all kinds of face covering clothing has long been synonymous with the Muslim religion as a requirement for females, so it’s really crazy that following the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that took over 250 lives, President Maithripala Sirisena has used an emergency law to ban all forms of face covering in public in the country.
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Whilst burkas and niqabs were not specifically mentioned in the announcement – which comes into force today – Muslim women will no longer be able to wear them in public as a result of this. The move comes after another MP caused for a ban on all form of facial coverings as it was argued that terrorists could use them to conceal their identities and escape authorities. Women will still be able to wear the chador or the hijab, which leave the face out in the open but cover the hair and neck.
Whilst there aren’t that many Muslim women in Sri Lanka – roughly 2.1 million out of a population of 21 million, with even less thought to regularly wear burkas and niqabs – it’s still a bit of a slight on their fundamental right to practice their religion how they see fit. Not sure how they’re going to react to this or if it’s going to aid the situation at all, as Sri Lanka is still in a state of emergency following the bombings amid fears that their might be another attack, but I suppose we’ll find out in the coming days.
150 members of the Islamic State – who have taken responsibility for the bombings – have already been arrested, but the authorities are on the look out for roughly 140 more, so perhaps this emergency law will help them track them down. Here’s hoping. Just glad I’m not stuck in the middle of it all.
For more of the same, remember Boris Johnson’s comments about the hijab? Groan.