“The Burka and Nikab is banned, but he hijab can be worn,” the minister told BBC Sinhala service, adding that he had clarified this from higher authorities.
The hijab is a scarf worn by Muslim women to cover their head but not the face.
Expressing his views regarding this issue, President’s Counsel Ali Sabri said the burka should be banned permanently.
“The nikab and burka should be permanently banned, but the right to wear the hijab should be protected,” he said.
The Gazette notification regarding the banning of the full face covering was released under emergency regulations.
Prior to it being banned the main Muslim religious organisation the All Ceylon Jamaithul Ulema Organisation made a request for all Muslim women to refrain from wearing the nikab or burka.
Issuing a notice last week they urged the Muslim women not to wear the nikab which is a hindrance to the security forces carrying out their duties in protecting the country.
Burka protest, suspicion, uncertainty filled tribulation!
Some Muslim women who wear the hijab have faced a problematic situation due to society not being informed properly about the ban.
“I like it. Young women started wearing it from recently, more like a fashion. From the past we always wore the hijab with normal attire. But sadly, when I went to the shop, I had to face problems too,” said 63-year-old Siththy Munawwara, a resident of Maradana.
She requested the government to proper educate the people regarding this ban.
Another young Muslim female said no sooner the Jamaithul Ulema had announced the removal of the face veil, she had immediately stopped wearing it.
“I wore this for religious reasons, but if our religious leaders are asking that we remove it, I have no issue. After all they are more adviced on religion and national security matters,” she said not wanting to reveal her name.
“I am not sad about it, but I am angry about these terrorists who used our religion to commit such atrocities. How many innocent lives were lost? Also, we lost our religious freedom. The terrorists are answerable for this predicament,” she said sadly.
28-year-old Fathima Nasrina is an officer at a state hospital and this is her experience.
“I wear a normal hijab and when I reported for work the security guard asked me to remove it. I told him that as I was not covering my face, there was no need to remove my hijab. But, he insisted that I remove it. Hence, I feel that all concerned should be properly notified regarding the ban and what is permitted and what isn’t.