Colombo says donated Saudi dates ‘properly distributed’

Updated 09 June 2014
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Colombo says donated Saudi dates ‘properly distributed’

A senior Muslim minister in Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cabinet has rejected claims of irregularities in the distribution of dates donated by the Saudi government.
The dates donated by the Saudi government in April were distributed among needy communities in Sri Lanka without any bias, said Abdul Hameed Mohammed Fowzie, senior minister for Urban Affairs and minister-in-charge of Haj Affairs.
He told Arab News that 200 metric tons of dates had been donated by the Kingdom to the Sri Lankan government to be distributed among the deserving people in the island.
Neomal Perera, deputy minister of external affairs, had accepted the dates officially from the Saudi government in April.
The dates which were contained in 2 kg packets were clearly printed with labels saying ‘From Saudi Arabia — Not for sale.’
Fowzie was reacting to what he called mischievous reports in some anti-Sri Lanka websites that wrongly claimed irregularities in the distribution of dates donated by the Saudi government this year.
He explained that a special consignment of dates would arrive in Sri Lanka soon, which will be distributed among the mosques on the island during Ramadan.
“This will be carried out on a special directive from President Rajapaksa at state expense,” he added.
A media release from Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry said the government in Colombo is deeply appreciative of the recent generous donation of 200 metric tons of dates by Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to the people of Sri Lanka.
“As desired by the donor, the dates would be distributed in all twenty five districts of Sri Lanka,” said the ministry statement.
“This magnanimous gesture is yet another demonstration of the warm friendship and close relations between Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia,” it added.
Central Province Council Member Azath Zalley has earlier written a letter to Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Johnston Fernando pointing out that the stock of dates was meant for distribution among the needy Muslims during Ramadan.
He also alleged that the ministers who received their portions are now trying to sell those dates at the local market.


Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

Updated 22 April 2018
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Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

  • Accord emphasizes the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures
  • Two parties obliged to work toward strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, have signed a cooperation agreement on achieving common objectives.

Tauran praised the efforts of the MWL in leading initiatives to strengthen relationships and build bridges between religions. 

“It is not my intention to present a list of the many initiatives implemented by this organization, but I am fully aware of the relentless efforts exerted to make it through its various programs, really reflect the true meaning of its name, a link, not only among Muslims but also with believers of other religions, especially Christians, to achieve common goals,” he said.

This agreement represents the culmination of the previous cooperation agreement signed between the MWL and the Pontifical Council, following the secretary-general’s visit to the Vatican last September, during which Al-Issa met with the pope and Tauran, adding to the recent visit of the cardinal to the Kingdom.

Under the terms of this, the two parties agreed to establish a standing work committee to be headed by the cardinal and Al-Issa. 

A coordinating committee composed of two members from each side shall also be set up to meet annually to prepare for meetings. The joint committee shall convene every two years, with its meetings held alternately between Rome and a city chosen by the MWL.

The agreement emphasized the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures. 

It also called for strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims, and establishing fruitful relationships based on respect and peace between them.

It highlighted the role of the Pontifical Council in promoting constructive relations with believers of other religions, and the distinctive role of the MWL at the level of Muslim nations in terms of interfaith dialogue.