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Sri Lanka president calls OIC Secy Gen, discusses situation of Muslims

OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen – Image credit: Twitter

ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has engaged in a telephone conversation with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen about relations between Sri Lanka and the OIC and the situation of Muslims in the country, the OIC tweeted.

Al-Othaimeen praised the Sri Lankan President’s phone call and his willingness to open up and reach out to international organisations, the OIC said in a Twitter thread posted last night. The Secretary General has also welcomed Sri Lanka’s decision on the right of Muslims to bury their dead in accordance with the Islamic rites.

According to the OIC, the Al-Othaimeen has reaffirmed the OIC’s keenness to follow up the conditions of Muslim communities and defend their rights in non-OIC member states.

On February 23, the OIC raised the issue of Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 cremations at the 46th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

Speaking at the sixth meeting of the high level segment, Al-Othaimeen said the OIC was “concerned with the situation of Muslims in Sri Lanka as they are denied the right to be buried.” He urged Sri Lanka to take swift action to guarantee and respect the rights of the country’s Muslim community.

In the wake of an official visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sri Lanka issued a gazette notice on February 25 ending the mandatory cremation of COVID-19 victims. Sri Lanka had been seeking Pakistan’s support at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions.

The government of Sri Lanka had argued that burials could contaminate ground water, but critics maintained that this claim was unscientific and was intended to hurt Sri Lanka’s religious minorities, particularly in the Muslim community. (Colombo/Mar22/2021)

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