Saudi Shoura Council speaker pledges to increase Hajj quota for Sri Lankans

Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh with Sri Lanka’s Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Monday. (AN photo)
Updated 10 September 2019

Saudi Shoura Council speaker pledges to increase Hajj quota for Sri Lankans

  • Al-Asheikh promises to address issues faced by expatriates in KSA

The speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council, Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh, said on Monday that he would look into resolving issues faced by Sri Lankans in Saudi Arabia and the possibility of increasing the Hajj quota for the island nation in the near future.

Al-Asheikh is leading a delegation to Sri Lanka on a three-day official visit, on the invitation of the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya.

On Monday, he held talks with Jayasuriya and other members of the Parliament, where he was apprised of issues faced by the 200,000 Sri Lankans residing and working in various sectors of the Kingdom.

COLOMBO: Among those present during the meeting were the former Hajj Minister and Deputy Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, and parliamentarian Mujibur Rahman. 

The Saudi delegation was represented by Lina Almaeena, Dr. Osama Al-Rabiah, Dr. Fathima Al-Shehri and Atta Al-Turki.

Every year, around 4,000 pilgrims travel to the Kingdom for Hajj, while more than 40,000 pilgrims visit Makkah and Madinah for Umrah through the year.

Al-Asheikh hailed Saudi-Sri Lankan bilateral relations, which he said were growing stronger based on cooperation and friendship under the two countries’ leaderships. He extended an invitation to Jayasuriya and other legislators to visit the Saudi Shoura Council’s headquarters in Riyadh.

He also suggested that economic cooperation between the two countries could be developed through the trade sector and mutual investments.


Al-Asheikh hailed Saudi-Sri Lankan bilateral relations.

The Shoura Council speaker extended an invitation to Sri Lankan legislators to visit Riyadh.

Al-Asheikh stressed the need to strengthen ties between the two nations.

Jayasuriya said he was delighted to host the Saudi delegation for the visit, which would enhance the existing ties between the two nations.

Speaking to Arab News, legislator Rahman said that the visit could pave way for extended areas of cooperation between the two countries.

“Such dialogues between the members of the legislative and consultative houses will help us to understand the respective systems, cultures and parliamentary practices,” Rahman added.

Hailing the decisions taken during the talks on Monday, Fowzie told Arab News that he was happy that Al-Asheikh had pledged to look into increasing the Hajj quota.

“This year, we were given an increase of 500 pilgrims to reach a total of 4,000 Hajj pilgrims,” Fowzie said.

Al-Asheikh arrived in Colombo on Sunday. According to the Saudi ambassador to Sri Lanka, Nasseer Al-Harthy, the purpose of the trip is to strengthen parliamentary and bilateral relations in all sectors. Al-Asheikh pointed out that the Kingdom and Sri Lanka shared a similar goal in combating terrorism, which was not related to religion or race.

On Sunday, the Saudi Shoura Council speaker also met former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation to adopt Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

Updated 28 February 2020

Organization of Islamic Cooperation to adopt Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

  • OIC secretary-general notes that the organization continues to condemn the ideological rhetoric adopted by terrorist groups

JEDDAH: Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen announced on Wednesday that the OIC will adopt the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) after it is revised in accordance with international human-rights standards. The foreign ministers of the OIC member states are expected to approve the CDHRI at their meeting in Niamey, Niger in April.

 Al-Othaimeen was speaking at the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), held in Geneva on Wednesday, where he highlighted some of the efforts the OIC has made to fight racism and xenophobia — including Islamophobia — claiming that they are the result of “intellectual and political resistance to cultural pluralism.”

He said the OIC, in cooperation with its partners, has prepared “a comprehensive and consensual approach to address incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence on the basis of religion.”

Al-Othaimeen’s speech, which was delivered on his behalf by OIC Geneva Permanent Representative Nassima Baghli, stressed that terrorism, including religious extremism, is a major source of concern for the international community. He pointed out that the OIC continues to condemn the ideological rhetoric adopted by terrorist groups and has established the Sawt Al-Hikma (Voice of Wisdom) Center, which focuses on addressing the ideological rhetoric of extremists.

His speech also reviewed the most common human-rights violations suffered by Muslims, referring to the detailed documentation from the UN’s own human rights bodies and the OIC of discrimination and violence against the Rohingya Muslims.

Al-Othaimeen explained that America’s actions in Palestine in recent months required the OIC to stress that any peace initiative between Israel and Palestine must be consistent with legitimate rights, foremost among which is the right to self-determination.

He also stressed the OIC’s support for Kashmiris in their pursuit of their legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with international resolutions and highlighted the OIC’s condemnation of Armenia’s continued occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven regions bordering Azerbaijan.