Sri Lanka Bans Face Covering In Public After Attacks

Muslim men gather outside a mosque in Colombo Sri Lanka on Friday 26 April

He said the church may not be able to stop people from taking the law into their own hands unless the government conducts a more thorough investigation and does more to prevent further attacks.

On Sunday, the president made a new regulation banning any form of face covering, a week after the coordinated blasts across the island country that killed over 250 people and injured more than 500 others.

Sirisena said an intelligence agency from a neighbouring country had provided precise details of the impending attack 17 days in advance, but local authorities had failed to take counter measures.

The closing of all of Sri Lanka's Catholic churches - an unprecedented measure - came after local officials and the USA embassy in Colombo warned that more armed militants remained on the loose armed with explosives.

The country still remains on high alert more than a week after Islamist attacks on a number of churches and hotels.

In his hometown of Kattankudy, local people said they were terrified of Zahran, even after police had confirmed his death in the attacks, the report said.

The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, held a private mass after cancelling all public services amid fears of a repeat of the bombings that killed 253 people.

As part of the emergency law, President Maithripala Sirisena imposed a ban on any Muslim face coverings, which could hide people's identities.

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A mass burial at Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Varatharajah noted that in the last few years, Sri Lankan Muslims have been attacked by Sinhalese.

Sirisena's office added that any face garment which "hindered identification" would be banned automatically. Sri Lanka on Saturday banned the NTJ and a splinter group linked to the Islamic State.

The father and two brothers of the alleged organiser of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, Zahran Hashim, were killed in a security forces operation on Friday, police say. "The President has issued this directive to ensure national security and a peaceful and reconciled society, where no ethnic group or community would be subjected to discomfort", the statement read.

Of the country's majority Buddhist population of 21 million, around 10 percent are Muslim, the TRT World reported.

Last week, senior Muslim officials called on Muslim women to remove their face-covering, known as niqab or burqa, for all security checks.

In a sign of continuing tensions, the reopening of schools across Sri Lanka, originally scheduled for Monday, has been put back one week.

The wife and daughter of the suspected mastermind of suicide bombings escaped with minor injuries from an explosion at a safe house where they had been holed up, hospital staff and police have said.

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