No place for extremism in Sri Lanka, says envoy

Updated 09 July 2014
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No place for extremism in Sri Lanka, says envoy

Sri Lankan ambassador to the Kingdom Vadivel Krishnamoorthy has allayed fears of the Sri Lankan Muslim expatriate community amid growing concerns about the anti-Muslim campaign on the island saying that Islamic traditions are well respected in the South Asian country.
His remarks came at an iftar party held recently for Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom. The Sri Lanka Muslim community in the Kingdom raised concerns when violence broke out in Sri Lanka on June 15 after a rally led by the ultranationalist Buddhist Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) organization left four Muslims dead, 80 injured and destroyed numerous homes and businesses in the town of Aluthgama and its surrounding areas. The attendees at the iftar were united in their common fear for the safety of the Muslims back home.
Addressing the event, Krishnamoorthy said: “There is no place for extremism in Sri Lanka. We respect Islamic traditions and bigotry, fear and exclusion have no place in our beautiful island. Generations of patriotic Muslims in our country have demonstrated that Islam, like many other faiths, is part of our national story.”
He said Sri Lanka recognizes the importance of Ramadan and the government is committed to creating bridges of understanding and respect that will bring people of all faiths together and build stronger bonds of communication and cooperation.” He said the
Mohamed Shafraz, an expatriate worker who hails from the recently affected Alutgama area of Sri Lanka, said that although the violence is over, the fear still lingers.
“My family back home was witness to the violence and are still restless,” he said, adding that assurances are being given but the root cause of the problem is not being dealt with.
At the end of the event, Sri Lankan Muslim philanthropists who had contributed generously were thanked profusely for making the program a grand success.
Separate arrangements were made for women and children to break their fast. The program for the day included three speeches on the significance of fasting in Ramadan by Hijaz Moulavi and Rahumin Nizer, followed by dinner.
During the iftar, traditional “Kanji” (porridge) were served along with typical Sri Lankan treats and fresh juices to the guests.


Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg cultural forum

Updated 18 November 2018
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Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg cultural forum

JEDDAH: Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the 7th St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum as one of the main guest countries attending the annual event.
The delegation was headed by Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who posted a selfie with Putin on his Twitter account.
“We responded to the invitation from our friends in Russia to participate in the St. Petersburg cultural forum, and it was an opportunity to meet with officials to promote cultural cooperation,” the post said.


The forum, which ran from Nov. 15-17, was held under the theme “Culture as a Strategic Potential of the Country,” was attended by visitors from 101 countries.
Opening the forum, the Russian president expressed hope that the event would develop fruitful dialogue between society and the state.
Putin said the forum gives others a chance to get to know Russia more closely, stressed that “what distinguishes his country is the diversity of languages and traditions.”
During the visit the Saudi minister held talks with the Russian president on the sidelines of the event.
He also met his Italian counterpart, Alberto Bonisoli, on the sidelines of the forum to discuss areas of joint cooperation between the two countries and means of enhancing Saudi-Italian cultural relations.
“I was delighted to meet with the Italian Minister of Culture and we have many opportunities for a future of strong cooperation between the two countries,” Prince Badr tweeted.

Bonisoli said that culture is “a means of communication” for politics, even when serious international crises occur.
“If there are problems between two or more countries, according to their positions, culture is still a way to convey the messages of partnerships, communities, politicians, and sometimes to promote fundamental values,” he added.
The St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum annually attracts thousands of experts in the field of culture from all over the world.
Stars of theater, opera and ballet, renowned directors and musicians, public figures, representatives of and academic communities, all attend the event.
The year’s program includes 14 pavilions, including museums, circuses, theaters, cinema, literature, tourism, folklore and popular culture.