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Sri Lanka bans face covering after attacks

29 April 2019, MVT 09:40
Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena attends the special Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) convention in Colombo on December 04, 2018. - Sri Lanka's toppled premier likened the president to Hitler on December 4 as he demanded to be reinstated, almost six weeks into a paralysing political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP)
29 April 2019, MVT 09:40

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday announced a ban on face covering, a week after Islamic State militants carried out coordinated suicide bombings that killed 253 people.

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 to the Islamic State group.

Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10 percent of its 21 million population.

Most Sri Lankan Muslims practise a liberal form of the religion and only a small number of women wear the niqab.

Colombo, Sri Lanka | AFP

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