Sri Lankan leaders seek action to stop harassment against Muslims

Updated 13 May 2014

Sri Lankan leaders seek action to stop harassment against Muslims

Muslim parliamentarians in Sri Lanka have called for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene in order to stop the continued hate campaign, intimidation and threats perpetrated against Muslims by some Buddist extremists of the Bodu Bala Sena and other allied organizations.
With the exception of A.H.M. Azwer and A.R.M.A. Cader, 16 out of the 18 legislators signed the petition sponsored by the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCL).
Speaking to Arab News from Colombo, MCL President N.M. Ameen said that the campaign carried out against Muslims by the Bodu Bala Sena, Sihala Ravaya and Ravana Balakaya is alarming and dangerous.
“We have full confidence in our president and we believe he will take appropriate action to resolve this issue,” he added.
The petition urges the president to immediately intervene to stop the harassment against Muslim IDP’s who have lived in different parts of the country as refugees and as a “forgotten” people over the last 23 years.
“We, the Muslim parliamentarians, wish to bring to your Excellency’s kind attention that these groups have been targeting Muslim places of worship, Halal food, the Muslim attire and now the resettlement of the Muslim lDPs who were expelled by the LTTE in 1990 in the worst act of ethnic cleansing in the history of our nation,” the petition read.
These Muslim lDPs were labeled as “old lDPs” and did not even benefit from the resettlement scheme implemented by the government and international agencies including the cash grants provided by the UNHCR, it said.
In the absence of any substantial support for their resettlement, the Muslim religious, political and civil society leadership has been soliciting support for their resettlement from benevolent donors of Muslim countries and individuals. There has been some positive response from some of these donors and a number of houses have been constructed with their support,” the petition noted.
These houses have been constructed following due procedures of land distribution through the Divisional Secretariat and the Presidential Task Force for resettlement.
The Sena and some sections of the media are highlighting the resettlement now as illegal, stating that they have encroached upon the Wilpattu National Park.
Signatories to the petition included, Senior Minister for Urban Affairs A.H.M. Fowzie, Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem, ALM Athullah, Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Basheer Segu Dawood, Kabir Hasim, Faizer Mustapha, MS Thowfeek, Faisal Cassim, Hassan Ali, M.S M. Aslam, M.H.M. Haleem, M.L.A. M. Hisbullah, Unais Farook and Mustapha Bawa Farook.


Saudi health authorities ready to join trials of COVID-19 vaccines

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health is working with a different Chinese company to evaluate whether the vaccine it is developing is effective. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 September 2020

Saudi health authorities ready to join trials of COVID-19 vaccines

  • Ministry of Health and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center have been working with two Chinese drug companies

JEDDAH: King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) in Saudi Arabia is preparing to take part in advanced trials of one or two COVID-19 vaccines.

About 40 potential vaccines are being tested on humans, nine of which are at the advanced stage of clinical trials to evaluate their safety and effectiveness in protecting people against a virus that has infected more than 31 million people around the world.

The center confirmed its readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and participate in tests of one or two of the nine vaccines that are in the third phase of clinical trials, during which large-scale testing on humans takes place.

Dr. Naif Al-Harbi, the head of KAIMRC’s drug-development unit, told Al-Ekhbariya TV news channel that it is unprecedented to have nine vaccines in stage three of clinical trials so soon, less than a year, after the emergence of a new virus.

“Approval or disapproval of any drug normally follows the third stage of its clinical trials, which is the last stage,” he added. “Since the pandemic, KAIMRC has been in continuous contact with a number of drug companies in four countries (that are developing vaccines).”

KAIMRC has been working with one Chinese pharmaceutical company in particular to help evaluate and accelerate the development of its vaccine, he said.

“Over the past two months, we have been in contact with Sinovac to scientifically evaluate its product, in term of the tests on animals and a study of the results of stages one and two on humans,” Al-Harbi said.

He added that the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health is working with a different Chinese company to evaluate whether the vaccine it is developing is effective. A number of factors are taken into consideration when reaching a conclusion.

“We examine the drugs and make sure they have caused no side effects when tested on humans, or that they just caused insignificant side effects,” said Al-Harbi. “We also look into the manufacturing company’s profile to ensure it follows the standards of the good manufacturing practices, and that the company’s products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.”

He added that SFDA is also doing a great job in ensuring that vaccines are safe, to avoid any risks to the health of people in the Kingdom.

In a message posted on Twitter, KAIMRC said that some countries, such as Russia, China and the UAE, have given doctors the green light to use some vaccines on patients before that have been approved, but only in emergency cases and when the results of early clinical studies indicate that the vaccine is safe.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced 27 additional COVID-19-related deaths. The death toll in the country now stands at 4,512.

Meanwhile, 492 new cases have been confirmed in the Kingdom, bringing the total number of people infected by the virus to 330,246. Of those, 14,235 cases remain active and 1,133 patients are in a critical condition.

The Ministry of Health said Makkah recorded the highest number of new cases, with 58, followed by Jeddah with 53, and Madinah with 38.

A further 1,060 people in the Kingdom have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 311,499. A total of 6,093,601 tests for the virus have been carries out in the country, including 43,652 in the past 24 hours.