Amid manhunt for those responsible for the deadly serial blasts that tore through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, an association of Islamic theologians have urged Muslim women not to “hinder the security forces in their efforts by wearing veils”.
All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) in a statement released in the aftermath of heightened tensions following the bombings, called upon the Muslim women in the country to not cover their faces with a ‘niqab’ that hinders the security forces from validating their identity.
“As responsible citizens, Muslims are duty-bound to maintain peace and order of Sri Lanka,” the statement read.
It further requested everyone to comply with authorities and forces who are investigating the matter.
The organisation also asked the people to keep their national identity card with them at all times and produce it when requested by security forces.
— ACJU – Sri Lanka (@ACJUNEWS) April 25, 2019
Sri Lanka has released photographs of six suspects, including three women, wanted for their involvement in the deadly Easter attacks.
The string of eight serial blasts left over 253 people killed and hundreds injured.
The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.
Explosions were also reported from three five-star hotels — the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.
The deaths have horrified Sri Lankans and been condemned by Muslim groups, but many in the community have been left feeling vulnerable.
Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankans is Christians.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Islamic religious affairs minister has appealed to Muslims to avoid gathering for Friday prayers and urged them to pray at home. The noon prayers are the most important in the week for Muslims.
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the head of the local Catholic church, has asked all churches to stop masses until the situation improves.
Police have intensified search and arrested 16 more suspects, taking the number of those in custody to 76.