- Published on Saturday, 18 August 2012 17:12
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The Embassy of Sri Lanka, on Thursday organized the annual Iftar- breaking of fast ceremony, followed by dinner, continuing the tradition of venerating all four major religions practiced in Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya welcoming the guests extended his best wishes for the auspicious Eid ul –Fitr to all. He reminded the gathering that Sri Lanka is a diverse country where followers of four major religions have lived in harmony for ages and reaffirmed the Embassy’s dedication to uphold the diversity by bringing the community together at major religious events of different faiths.
“Ramadan is a time to focus on commitment, reflection, and peace. All of us, Muslims and non-Muslims, value the importance of improving ourselves and working toward a better future”, Ambassador Wickramasuriya noted referring to the significance of the event.
Also, he shared some of the experiences he had during a recent visit to Sri Lanka and invited all present to visit Sri Lanka to witness the progress that the country is making as a peaceful nation.
“As Sri Lankans, we can see tangible evidence of peace and progress in our Motherland…. I can assure you that all of the sectors and communities in Sri Lanka are united in moving the country forward toward a brighter future”, he added.
Director Islamic Center of Washington DC Dr. Abdullah Khouj, delivering the keynote address eloquently set the right tone for this auspicious occasion.
“Ramadan is the month that we burn our sins, by total devotion to worship god, to follow his commandments and to relate to him the best manner. Not only that, but the way we relate to each other”, he said.
“It is not only the physical fasting of abstaining from food and drink , rather all kinds of behavior that may cause trouble in the relationship between human beings and god, trouble the relationship between human being and the other human beings , and with all the other creatures.”, he added.
Dr. Abdullah opined that he has developed a deep affection for Sri Lanka having interacted with the Embassy for many years.
“I fell in love with the way people deal with each other as human beings regardless of the faith, regardless of the status , regardless of the all these worldly matters . I see from what I know from the people here, that they are really human beings”, he said.
Mr. Naseer Azeez, representing the Sri Lankan – American Muslim community thanked the Ambassador and staff for hosting the Iftar ceremony.
The breaking of fast was followed by a recitation of the Holy Qur’an and Dr. Abdullah led a congregational prayer before the traditional Iftar dinner.
Among the large and representative gathering who participated at the auspicious occasion of the Iftar Ceremony were Ambassador Islam A Siddiqui of the Office of the US Trade Representative; Deputy Assistant Secretaries of State Dr. Alyssa Ayres, James Moore and Ms. Valerie Fowler, members of the Sri Lankan American Muslim community, Sri Lankan community leaders of the Greater Washington area and Embassy officials. (Ends).