‘Extremism may derail Lanka progress’

Updated 24 October 2014
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‘Extremism may derail Lanka progress’

Rising extremism is causing significant concern among minority communities in Sri Lanka, particularly Muslims, Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem said in Riyadh during an interview this week.
“This is an unfortunate trend that needs to be addressed with great seriousness,” said Hakeem, who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. He added that the tendency to engage in hate speech was continuously being tolerated without sufficient action being taken by the government to contain the situation.”
“The deliberate intimidation of minorities is certainly not promoting reconciliation following 30 years of prolonged war,” he said, stressing that extremist groups would only perpetuate polarization within society.
He warned that Sri Lanka’s progress following years of warring could be hindered if political leaders did not take serious measures to reign in the extremists.
“Unless remedial action is taken against these intolerant forces, the country could be further isolated from important international forums,” he said.
“We have backed the government in facing its challenges at the Geneva Forum in 2012. However, the growing level of religious extremism is causing concern for the Muslim community and we will be simply driven to seek international sympathy to resolve this communal issue,” Hakeem said. He added that the “rule of law should be strictly followed in the country. No one can be above the law, whether he is a Buddhist monk or a member of the clergy from any other community”.
When asked about the Presidential Elections tentatively scheduled for January 2015, Hakeem said that his party, SLMC, has not still decided on its stance on this topic for the forthcoming elections.
“We will obtain a consensus from all committees of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress as well as the Muslim community in general to decide our position in the elections,” he said.
Hakeem, who arrived in the Kingdom on a private visit to perform umrah, was accompanied by Naseer Ahamed, Northern Provincial Council Agriculture Minister.
During his visit to Riyadh, the two ministers, along with country’s ambassador, Mohamed Hussein Mohamed, met Deputy Minister for International Trade Dr. Abdullah Al-Obaid, as well as the Deputy Minister for Research and Agricultural Development.


Saudi Arabia's Disabled Children’s Association continues campaign to complete ‘Khair Makkah’ project

Updated 40 min 23 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia's Disabled Children’s Association continues campaign to complete ‘Khair Makkah’ project

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) continues its efforts to complete its charity investment project “Khair Makkah,” located within the the borders of the Grand Mosque in Makkah’s Al-Naseem district.
DCA works to help maximize the quality of life for disabled children in Saudi Arabia.
The association explained that the first phase of this philanthropic project, which is expected to be completed next year, will cost SR180 million and will include two towers constructed over an area of 5,700 square meters.
The revenues from the rentals of both towers are expected to cover the expenses of two out of 11 service centers spread across the Kingdom to benefit handicapped children in Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif , Madinah, Assir, Hail, Al-Jawf, Al-Ras and Jazan.
Almost 80% of the construction work of the first phase has been completed and is expected to be submitted by mid next year. The project’s revenues, expected to be 5%, will cover the expenses of several disabled children care centers.
DCA is encouraging philanthropists to participate in completing this mega project on its deadline by sending text messages for donations to number 5050.
It will provide a permanent source of support for operation expenses and other free specialized services for around 4,000 children yearly, especially in light of the remarkable growth in its annual operating budget, which reached SR120 million.
According to the association, the total amount of sukuk for the “Khair Makkah” project amounted to about SR180,000, 147,000 of which were subscribed, while 33,000 are remaining sukuk. The value of one Suk is SR1,000. A further SR33 million is needed to complete the project.