Iftar Reception at SL High Commission in UK

by our London Correspondent

A historic Reception with the participation of a large gathering of all religions, their dignitaries for the first time, as well as Sri Lankan Muslims in UK including women and children, inclusive rather than exclusive, and in the attire of their choice, attended the Iftar Reception, on invitation.

It was different than the one's held prior to Ramadan annually in London. The occasion was more of an inter-religious gathering.

All were welcomed at the Sri Lanka High Commission on a sultry Wednesday London evening 22 May 2019 hosted by Manisha Gunasekera, High Commissioner.

The religious dignitaries were the Chief Sanganayake of Great Britain, Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayake Thero, Sri Rajasekar Kurukkal, Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam, Wembley, Sheikh Imam Salman Saddiq who recited the Qirath and Rev.Fr.Sudham Perera, Sinhalese Catholic Chaplaincy, each spoke of the significance of fast and meditation, confirming the tolerance, understanding and forgiveness in each religion.

A presentation talk on the "Significance of fasting for Muslims in Ramadan" was given by Sheikh Dr.Salim Hosanee, who emphasised not only fast of the body, but a fast of the mind was a pre-requisite of the Ramadan fast. That forgiveness understanding and tolerance were essential.

Lord and Lady Sheikh of Cornhill, City of London, a Conservative Peer was Guests of Honour.

Lord Sheikh addressed the gathering and made reference to the unacceptable tragedy in Sri Lanka on 21 April 2019 and its aftermath, with innocent citizens being involved and the toll it has taken at that time and since. He said he condemned the atrocities and also hoped that innocent Muslims citizens of 
Sri Lanka will continue to live in peace and harmony together as one people without any animosity.

He thanked the High Commissioner for holding this reception for all Sri Lankans irrespective of race or religion.

Liyas Wahid, President COSMOS, the Sri Lanka Muslim organisation in UK was pleased to see such a vast gathering of Muslims allowed to breakfast for Ramadan at the High Commission.

It was indeed a rare and tolerant sight to see the outside garden being clothed in white sheets and accommodating all who wanted to offer Mahrib Prayers, children included before breaking fast at 8.59 p.m on 22 May 2019.

A sumptous Biriyani dinner followed before the Deputy High Commissioner, Sugeeshwara Gunaratna thanked all for their presence.


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