Sri Lankan lawmaker calls for burqa ban amid reports women in burqas were fleeing Easter church bombing

Kashmiri Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) activists wearing burqa attend a party workers convention ahead of the upcoming general elections in Srinagar on March 14, 2019. - India is not just the world's biggest democracy, its elections are also the most gruelling -- with nearly six weeks between the first round of voting on April 11 and the last. (Photo by Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP)

In response to the deadly Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka over the weekend, one legislator in the Asian country has reportedly called for a ban on the Islamic burqa.

Ashu Marasinghe, a member of the Sri Lankan Parliament, submitted a motion to the legislative body Monday arguing that the Burqa is “not a traditional Muslim attire” and should therefore be outlawed to uphold national security, according to Fox News.

He posted a photo of the motion to his Facebook page:

Posted by Ashu Marasinghe on Monday, April 22, 2019

His motion was filed amid reports that the Easter Sunday attacks were carried out in part by certain perpetrators who were seen fleeing the scene while wearing burqas.

“Government officials told the Daily Mirror that women wearing burqas were spotted fleeing the sites of the Easter church bombing, and they suspected that a considerable number of those involved with the terror plot were in fact women,” Fox News reported Monday.

It’s not actually clear that the perpetrators had been women, though. Following the murder of a police officer in India last year by a burqa-clad terrorist, The Times of India warned of a growing trend of terrorists “using this disguise during an attack or cordon and search operations.”

“According to officials, more than a dozen such instances have been confirmed in the last one year and the actual number of them going unnoticed may be much higher.”

The Times also warned of local women “run[ning] around in order to give cover to the fleeing” terrorists.

Similar events have transpired elsewhere across the globe.

In 2005, a terrorist dressed in a burqa reportedly detonated a suicide bomb in Chad, while in 2012 a terrorist linked to the London 7/7 bombings was found on a bus in Nairobi dressed in a burqa.

Granted, terrorists have also tried disguising themselves with wigs, makeup and padded bras, but those efforts haven’t been as successful for obvious reasons:

Unlike simple makeup, the burqa covers one’s full face, making it significantly easier to conceal one’s identity, ergo why so many countries have moved to ban it, including the Netherlands.

Last summer the European nation introduced a ban on face-covering veils such as the burqa and niqab but limited the ban to only certain public spaces such as schools.

“The Dutch Upper House of Parliament passed a law banning face coverings, including burqas and niqabs, in public spaces such as schools, hospitals, public transport and government buildings. However, it does not apply to public streets,” CNN reported at the time.

The ban is expected to go into effect Aug. 1 of this year.


Similar bans on burqas and other Islamic coverings have also been implemented in Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria and Kosovo, among other countries and regions.

According to The Daily Mirror, a daily English-language newspaper published in the Asian nation, neither the burqa nor the niqab were ever part of the “traditional Muslim attire” wore by women in Sri Lankan. That reportedly changed during and after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, when “extremist elements” allegedly introduced the piece of clothing to Sri Lanka’s Muslim women.

According to Fox, if a burqa ban were implemented, it’d affect a minority of the population.

“Of the 22.4 million people in Sri Lanka, about 70 percent of the population is Buddhist while just over 12 percent are Hindu, according to the State Department’s 2017 International Religious Freedom Report. The Muslim population sits at around 9.7 percent of the population, while 7.4 percent is Christian.”

The reaction on Twitter to Marasinghe’s proposal appears to be positive, with a surprising number of Indians jumping in to express their hope that their country also pursues a burqa ban:



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