I am pleased to send this message to mark the Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, celebrated by the Islamic community at the conclusion of the period of the annual Haj pilgrimage, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a Haj message.
The message: “Millions of Muslim pilgrims from the world over demonstrate their commitment to enrich their lives spiritually and obtain the divine blessings of Allah through the Haj pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca.
“The teachings of the Islamic faith emphasize the importance of observing good ethical practices, the building of unity and friendship among people, and the leading of a life of devotion to religious duty.
During the period of the Haj pilgrimage, Muslims make every effort to follow these tenets which can contribute to their own spiritual enhancement and the betterment of humankind.
“In keeping with the traditions of unity espoused in Islam, the Muslims of Sri Lanka have contributed much to the social, cultural and economic advancement of our country.
Through many centuries, the Muslim people have lived in harmony with the other communities in Sri Lanka demonstrating their commitment to a united Sri Lanka.
“Muslims of Sri Lanka today enjoy the freedoms of religious belief, worship and practice throughout the country. In this, we have moved beyond the era of darkness that engulfed our land during an extended period of terror.
The spirit of the Eid al-Adha would help them cherish the freedoms won through much sacrifice by all communities.
Ceremonies in Mecca, example to world
Religious ceremonies being held in Mecca for the Haj festival are a good example to the world, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said in a Haj message.
All Muslims gather in one place to perform religious activities. There are no differences among the pilgrims and priority is given to religious activities.
These religious activities help develop relationship among each other, he said.
The message: "Muslims in Sri Lanka also participate in the annual Haj pilgrimage. This time, around 3,800 Muslims are participating in the Haj pilgrimage.
"Religious activities performed by Haj pilgrims will support the country's development. All parts of the country, including the North and East has the freedom to celebrate Haj.
"Creating religious unity and a suitable social background is a timely need.
The President is developing the country through religious unity.
"All of us should assist in the country's development drive through religious and national unity."
“I extend my warm good wishes to all members of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka in their celebrations of this important festival with joy of peace and tranquility.”