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President's message for the Hajj Festival

December 31, 2006- 4.30 GMT 
My good wishes and greeting go to all our followers of Islam today, on the occasion of the religious festival of Eidul Aldha Hajj.

The Hajj festival as it is commonly known is one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. This is the time when in keeping with tradition millions of Muslims from the world over gather at Holy Mecca to offer prayers.

The Governments of Sri Lanka have always facilitated the Hajj pilgrimages of our Muslims to Holy Mecca. This State patronage is a good example of the peaceful coexistence among religions in Sri Lanka, as well as the religious freedom enjoyed in our country.

I am particularly glad that this year we were able to increase the number of Hajj pilgrims from Sri Lanka by 1000, above the quota allotted to Sri Lanka, following a special request I made to His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, in keeping with our tradition of assisting all religions.

I wish you all a prayerful Eidul Aldha Hajj, and share in the spirit of your prayers for a return to peace in Sri Lanka, where all our people can live in harmony and without fear.

Eid Mubarak!

Mahinda Rajapaksa
December 21, 2006




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