Indonesian authorities offer free tattoo removal for Muslims in Jakarta

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Jeddah – Yasmine El Tohamy – Sri Lanka’s Muslims host interfaith iftar to ‘build bridges’ between communities

Colombo: A Sri Lanka Muslim organization hosted an iftar in Colombo on Sunday for over 1,500 students from different religious backgrounds to promote interfaith understanding and dialogue.

Muslims make up less than 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people, who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.

The students and their parents gathered in the Sri Lankan capital for the event.

“Sri Lanka being a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country, we want to share our thoughts and benefits of iftar,” Siddi Farook, chairman of the event’s co-organizer, the Sri Lanka Muslim Civil Society, told Arab News.

“Our aim is to build bridges between communities.”

The SLMCS, which was formed following the 2019 Easter attacks in Colombo that killed at least 250 people, has partnered with Soup Kitchen Sri Lanka for the Break Fast at Sunset events over the last three years. The aim is to promote a better understanding among the country’s diverse communities.

“The whole point is that we introduce how we as Muslims break our fasts, and how we do things in unity, and to make sure that people realize and understand what Muslim faith is all (about) to just show the beauty of Islam through simple things like iftar,” Zareena Akbarally, who is part of Soup Kitchen Sri Lanka, told Arab News.

This year, the iftar was held in the Battaramulla area, where residents are predominantly Buddhist.

“We brought it to this area for the particular aim … to show them again what the process of iftar is, and introduce them and bring them and invite them to be a part of our culture … and our faith,” Akbarally said.

Galkande Dhammananda Thero, a Buddhist monk and chairman of the Walpola Rahula Institute, said the event represented a “great opportunity” for mutual understanding.

“It’s a great thing to understand each other, how each one practices their religion and to appreciate the valuable message that they are sharing. I’m really happy to see this,” Thero told Arab News.

“It is to understand each other, coming closer then only we can understand the value of the practice.”

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