Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Sri Lanka bans face-covering clothing after Easter terror attacks

Sri Lanka bans burqas for 'public protection' after bomb attacks Sri Lankan police raid HQ of Islamic group suspected of attacks
Patty Aguilar | 01 May, 2019, 00:15

Even Egypt, a Muslim-majority nation under the control of former military general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has mulled a ban - as part of its crackdown on Islamic organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sri Lankan authorities have identified 42 foreign nationals among the 253 people killed in the string of Easter suicide bombings, officials said Tuesday.

Sri Lanka has announced a complete ban on all face coverings following the terror attacks targeting hotels and Christian churches on Easter Sunday.

'There could be another wave of attacks, ' the head of ministerial security division (MSD), a unit of the police, said in the letter.

Human Rights Watch condemned the ban, with the group's executive director Kenneth Roth tweeting: "That needless restriction means that Muslim women whose practice leads them to cover up now won't be able to leave home".

Sri Lanka president Maithripala Sirisena.

Lord Provost Barney Crockett, who attended last night's event, said: "Sri Lanka has had many difficulties in fairly recent years and seemed to be on a positive path and it's bad they got struck in this way".

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Amid heavy security imposed across the country, a vigil was also held outside St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo at 8.45am, the moment the bomber struck the church, killing dozens of worshippers.

"We pray that in this country there will be peace and coexistence and understanding each other without division", he said. Hashim died in one of the Easter Sunday bombings.

Thousands of Sri Lankan troops remained on the streets, guarding churches and mosques for the symbolic day.

Police officers also discovered 150 sticks of gelignite and 100,000 small metal balls - possibly to be used in bombs - as well as a van and clothing suspected to have been used by those involved in the Easter attack. They were my three brothers, my father, and my sister's husband. "These people want to kill as many as possible".

Sirisena said he had "not been updated or notified with the information that they received about the possibility of such a severe attack on our soil". "Some have died", Mr Wickremesinghe said in a statement.

US -backed Kurdish forces said last month that they had completely eradicated the Islamic State from its last pocket of control on the Euphrates River. A total of 106 suspects have been so far arrested.

Sri Lankan Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene last week said that two different local Islamist groups, including the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), and the splinter group Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI), were to blame for the coordinated blasts.

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