Veil ban in Sri Lanka takes effect
Posted on April 29th, 2019

Courtesy Shanghai Daily

AS Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in this once-contested region along its eastern coast, Muslim women eager to show their piousness began wearing the black veil to hide their faces.

Now in the wake of Easter suicide attacks by Islamic State group-linked militants that killed over 250 people, Sri Lanka’s president has used his emergency powers to ban the practice previously unheard of in the island nation off the southern coast of India.

The ban, which took effect yesterday, has been touted as a security measure. However, it criminalizes a practice associated with an ultraconservative form of Islam, one that more closely adheres to the strict beliefs common in Saudi Arabia.

It also focuses public attention on women who practice their religious beliefs peacefully, while the government and foreign diplomats say IS-linked militants armed with explosives still roam the island.

As we have seen in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Muslim women will become a convenient cover for military action,” wrote Nimmi Gowrinathan, a professor at the City College of New York. Sri Lanka’s pain from the Easter attacks should not be used to promote failed policies.”

The niqab is a black veil made of thin fabric, often with a small opening from which a woman’s eyes can peer out. It’s far more concealing than the hijab, a scarf covering the hair that some Muslim women wear. Most Islamic scholars and experts say a woman is not religiously required to cover her face with a niqab.

However, strictly orthodox Sunni Muslims known as Salafists who advocate a literal return to centuries-old Islamic law believe women must cover their faces.

Such ideas previously were unknown in Kattankudy, a city 220 kilometers northeast of the capital, Colombo. But gradually, foreign money and ideas have entered the area.

The population grew more conservative, reflected in the current construction here of a massive copy of Jerusalem’s famed Al Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. The alleged mastermind of the Easter bombings, Mohammed Zahran, also preached an increasingly extremist version of Islam in Kattankudy glorifying the killing of nonbelievers.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged that authorities wanted to investigate the role of foreign money in the Easter attacks, saying in particular that money from Saudi Arabia had been going to religious organizations.

Saudi Arabia or the Middle East has been the source of many of those funds and some of it has gone into these extreme organizations,” Wickremesinghe said. These are what we are investigating.”

The Saudi government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, the niqab ban wouldn’t have stopped the suicide bombings of the three churches and three hotels on Easter, as all were carried out by men. But some Muslim women acknowledged the need to follow the government’s laws amid the ongoing crisis.

It’s good (the ban on face covering) but some people will feel some hurt because that’s the Islamic culture,” Fathima Musthaque said. When they are dressing (without covering their face), they get a guilty feeling. All Muslims are not a terrorist. The terrorists are doing this kind of work and it has affected all.”

2 Responses to “Veil ban in Sri Lanka takes effect”

  1. Randeniyage Says:

    Unbelievable ! All our Deshpremiyos are sleeping.
    Sirisena’s good friend Govenor Hizbullah is the main culprit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kla-Gti2qP4

  2. Randeniyage Says:

    Unbelievable ! All our Deshpremiyos are sleeping.
    Sirisena’s good friend Governor Hizbullah is the main culprit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kla-Gti2qP4

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