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Colombo, May 9: Government has imposed a ban on face covering after attacks that killed more than 250 people on Easter Sunday. The ban was imposed with intention to help recognition that “hinders the identification of individuals in a way that threatens national security. This includes the burqa and the niqab, face coverings worn by several Muslim women. Many women have not left their houses since then.
A muslim women says “We have been advised to stay at home unless there is a dire need to go out. If I’m not allowed to cover my face, I will stop going out to teach because I prefer covering to teaching.”
France banned burkini in 2016 – a swimming costume that adheres to the Islamic rule of dress that requires women to cover much of their body and heads – following a terror attack, photographs and videos emerged showing the police stripping women at the beaches.
However, Mariam Wadood, a lawyer and activist who works with the Colombo-based NGO Women In Need, wants the ban to be imposed permanently. She believes “everyone’s rights and liberties must come with limitations. Freedom must stop at the beginning of someone else’s fear or discomfort.”
Burqa is a garment that covers the entire body from head to toe, while niqab covers only the face, leaving slits for eyes. The hijab, on the other hand, covers only the head and the face remains revealed. The burqa and niqab are banned in Sri Lanka, while the hijab isn’t.