Covering of faces banned in Sri Lanka

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

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appointed on Monday Chandana Wickramaratne as the country's new acting police chief in light of the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks, the Ada Derana news portal reported, citing the president's office.

Intelligence warnings from overseas alerting to possible attacks by Islamist extremists were ignored ahead of the multiple bombings of churches and upscale hotels on April 21 that killed 253 people and injured almost 500. An official statement said that President Maithruipala Sisirsena had passed an order under emergency law to ensure national security.

Muslim women have been ordered to stop wearing veils in public and Sri Lanka's Catholic churches have been closed as the country imposes strict security measures in the aftermath of the Easter suicide bombings.

However, Muslims in Sri Lanka - about 10% of the population - practice a more liberal interpretation of Islam.

There were a series of cabinet meetings post the Easter bombings on new anti-terror laws and the decision to ban the burqa was delayed after both President Sisirsena as well Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe chose to take the matter with Muslim clerics in the country.

Daesh released footage of eight men whom it said were the Sri Lanka bombers swearing allegiance to the terror group's ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before the carnage.

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Separately, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is feuding with Mr Sirisena, issued a statement saying he had asked the justice minister to draft regulations to ban the burqa.

This decision came after a parliamentarian submitted a private member's motion to ban the burqa on security reasons.

"We have given guidance to the Muslim women to not to cover their faces in this emergency situation", ACJU assistant manager Farhan Faris said.

A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The cardinal said that some 250 Catholics had been killed, and the church offered numerous funeral services so as not to provide another tempting target for attacks with a big Christian gathering.

The U.S. Department of State has since raised the travel advisory for Sri Lanka to level three, the second-highest, and is urging Americans to reconsider traveling there. Then on Friday, in the raid at suspected safe houses around 15 people killed including six children.

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