Azwer greets first Hajj pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia

The first group of Sri Lankan Muslim pilgrims returned on Thursday from Saudi Arabia after completing their Hajj pilgrimage this year. They were received by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs A. H. M. Azwer at the airport who received and greeted them. Over 3 million people from the four corners of the globe performed Hajj this year. This year’s pilgrimage was regarded as one of the largest gatherings of recent years.

The Sri Lankan pilgrims told the minister that they were happy about the programmes arranged by the Saudi Government as directed by the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz. Everything functioned smoothly during Hajj, they said. They were also pleased to inform the minister that during Arafat they had a special prayer for peace in Sri Lanka and were overjoyed to discover its fruition subsequent to the initiatives taken by the prime minister by signing the Memorandum of Understanding to achieve peace.

The pilgrims also briefed the minister on the popular notion that Sri Lanka was popular among the Arabs as a country with an abundance of beauty and peace and a country that exported tea to the world. The Arabs refer to it as ‘Shai Scilan’ — Ceylon tea. However, they were worried over the tumultuous events that took place in the recent past. Now everybody is happy to learn that the much deserved peace and stability is returning to the Island and as a result, many foreign Hajj pilgrims have expressed their desire to visit this beautiful island.