Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya addresses the Sri Lankan Muslim community in Greater Washington area

In keeping with the tradition of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C of commemorating the important festivals of all four world religions practised in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya hosted a grand Ifthar ceremony (breaking of the fast) at the Embassy on 14 September 2008. A large number of Sri Lankan Muslims and members of all Sri Lankan communities from the Greater Washington area participated in a great spirit of solidarity and fellowship. The Ambassador in his address traced the historical contribution of the Muslims towards the wellbeing and development of Sri Lanka, while referring to them as bridge builders of peace and match makers of diverse interests. In his speech, the Ambassador specifically referred to the prospect of dawn of peace in Sri Lanka and cited the Eastern Province as a shining example of the changing horizon of Sri Lanka. In a widely acclaimed speech, he also focused on the significance of fasting in the Islamic tradition and pointed out how it helps one to feel the hunger of the less fortunate. He exhorted the large and representative gathering to further the ideals of peace and harmony and appealed that this could be achieved by peaceful coexistence with one another, recognizing unity in diversity.

Director and Chief Imam of the Islamic Centre of Washington D.C., Dr. Abdullah Muhhamad Khouj addresses the gathering

The Director and Chief Imam of the Islamic Centre of Washington D.C., Dr. Abdullah Muhhamad Khouj who officiated at the Ifthar and led the prayers, praised the Sri Lankan community for their togetherness and unity in the sprit of the multicultural traditions of the country. He spoke at length on the significance of fasting and explained how it could be utilized to discipline oneself and feel for the underprivileged. He admired the presence of all three communities of Sri Lanka at the ceremony, and praised the officials of the Embassy for their commitment to harmony, and advancing peace and prosperity among all sections of the Sri Lankan community by organizing a grand ceremony of this nature that promotes appreciation of the richness of our multicultural heritage.

Sri Lankan Muslims community in greater Washington area particpate in prayers led by Dr. Abdullah Muhhamad Khouj

The participants were treated to sumptuous break fast meal which was jointly organized by staff of the Embassy. The Muslim community in Washington greatly appreciated that this year, the Ifthar was celebrated in as even grander manner than the Embassy hosted the Ifthar ceremony in the past. It was particularly appreciated that the prayers were led by the chief Imam of the Islamic Centre of Washington D.C., a renowned scholar whose grandfather conducted prayers at the Holy Mosque of Mecca.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

16 September 2008

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