President’s Hajj message
Peace we strive for must safeguard democratic rights — President

My sincere greetings and good wishes go out today to all followers of Islam in Sri Lanka. I am aware Hajj is the most important religious event in the Muslim calendar. Each year around this time millions of Muslim devotees from around the world congregate at Holy Mecca to pray in unison. Our Muslim brethren too have been making this pilgrimage without impediments for as long as we can remember. On every such occasion the Hajj pilgrims have been encouraged and given state patronage, indicative of the peaceful coexistence and religious freedoms we enjoy in Sri Lanka.

The Muslims of Sri Lanka have lived for centuries in peace with the other communities and their continuous contribution to the development and welfare of the country has been immense.

Hajj this year is being feted at a critical moment when we Sri Lankans face the challenging task of rebuilding unity and restoring peace to the country. Peace is very important and it should uphold the dignity of all. The peace we strive for must safeguard human and democratic rights, especially those of our Muslim community in the North East. The current peace process should clearly identify the problems of the Muslim community and provide effective remedies for them.

I am fully conscious of the fact that our Muslim brethren now in Holy Mecca and Medina, are fervently praying for peace in Sri Lanka and for the welfare of our motherland and its peoples. My wish and prayers too are the same. May I again extend my warm and sincere greetings to all followers of Islam in Sri Lanka.

Eid-Ul-Alha, Eid-Mubarak.