Sri Lanka Bans All Face Coverings for ‘Public Protection’ after Bomb Attacks


Just under 10 per cent of people in Sri Lanka are Muslim, but only a small number of women are thought to wear the face-covering niqab, or the burka, a one-piece veil that covers the face and body.

Armed police in the town of Kattankudy searched the headquarters of the National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and detained one man at the premises, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

On Sunday, a group of Muslim leaders called on community members to refrain from wearing clothing in a manner that obstructs identification of people. Sri Lankan authorities are also hunting for about 140 followers of the jihadist group Islamic State, which has claimed it was involved in the bombings, but without giving details.

The Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranjith, who had asked churches to suspend Sunday mass due to security fears, delivered a televised special sermon from a chapel at his home.

The president said there was no evidence that one of the suspects, Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohammed, was radicalized in England, where he studied between 2006 and 2007 before taking postgraduate classes in Australia and eventually resettling in Sri Lanka.

"We pray that in this country there will be peace and coexistence and understanding each other without division", he said.

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Kvyat , meanwhile, was philosophical about what happened, despite losing a solid chance to score points for the second time this season.

"This is a time questions such as 'does God truly love us, ' 'does He have compassion toward us, ' can arise in human hearts".

St. Anthony's Shrine in the capital city of Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo and Zion Church in Batticaloa were all attacked, as were the hotels Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

The cardinal has also been very critical of the government's concealment of intelligence reports suggesting a possible terrorist attack on Christian churches, calling the move "extremely serious" since "it means that the massacre could have been avoided".

A top police chief disclosed: "There could be another wave of attacks".

Officials have warned that suspects linked to the attacks are still at large. Last week, all police stations in Colombo were placed on high alert as police were hunting for an unidentified container truck and van which was believed to be carrying explosives.

According to a report in The Hindu, Zahran Hashim's father and two brothers were killed on Friday during an overnight shooting between Sri Lankan troops and the suspects. It did not name them.