COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Muslim community offered Friday prayers in solidarity with victims of the global coronavirus outbreak that has already killed nearly 1,400 people, mainly in China.
More than 2,000 worshippers gathered at the 19th-century Dewatagaha Mosque near Colombo’s Town Hall for prayers that were also attended by Muslim parliamentarian S. M. Marikar, Colombo Deputy Mayor Mohamed Iqbal and Chinese diplomats.
Speaking on behalf of Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan, the Chinese mission’s Cultural Counselor Liu Dong expressed gratitude for the move and offered an assurance that business activity between the two countries will resume soon.
“China is overwhelmed by the moral support given by the Muslims of Sri Lanka during this crisis. We will soon overcome this problem and business will be restored as usual,” Liu said, referring to a recent slump in trade due to the virus outbreak.
Marikar, who coordinated the prayer meeting, said that “China has lost lives, while Sri Lanka is largely affected due to the absence of Chinese tourists, who topped the list of foreign visitors to the island.”
The special prayers were requested by Xueyuan, whose hometown has a large Muslim population, the mosque’s trustee, Reyyaz Salley, told Arab News.
Last week, Chinese diplomats requested prayers at Gangaramaya Temple, one of the most important Buddhist sites in Colombo.