Sri Lanka bans face coverings in wake of Easter attacks

Sri Lanka bans face coverings in wake of Easter attacks
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Sri Lanka announced Monday that it is banning face coverings following deadly Easter Sunday attacks at churches in the country, according to media reports.

President Maithripala Sirisena said he was using an emergency law to impose the ban, which includes any garment that "hinders identification," according to the BBC.

Sirisena's office cited security concerns in a statement confirming the ban, CNN reported

"President Maithripala Sirisena took this decision to further support the ongoing security and help the armed forces to easily identify the identity of any wanted perpetrators," the statement reads, according to CNN.

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Some Muslim leaders in the country, however, were critical of the move, which comes after more than 250 people were killed in a series of bombings at churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday earlier this month.

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, a group of Muslim clerics, criticized the ban, which goes into effect Monday.

"It is the stupidest thing to do. Three days ago we 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," Hilmy Ahmed, the group's vice president, said to the BBC. 

"We see this as a reflection of the conflict between the president and the prime minister," Ahmed added. "We strongly criticise the decision. We will not accept the authorities interfering with the religion without consulting the religious leadership."