Muslims in Sri Lanka have been asked to conduct special prayers in mosques seeking Allah’s mercy to rescue Rizana Nafeek, who has been sentenced to death, from the hands of the executioner.
We have requested the 1.5 million Muslims spread throughout the country to conduct special prayers to save Nafeek from the gallows,” Alavi Moulana, governor of the island’s western province, told Arab News from Colombo Saturday. “The only thing common among the Muslims all over the world is prayer and submission to the will of Allah the Almighty,” the governor said.
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made an appeal to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for clemency to Nafeek. Moulana said he met with the president on Friday evening before the president’s departure to China and Rajapaksa had told him that the appeal had reached the Saudi Royal Court, according to information he received from the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh.
“Our president was courteous enough to appeal for clemency to the young Nafeek who was arrested on May 25, 2005 and since then has been languishing in jail,” Moulana said. Moulana, who will lead this year’s Haj delegation, said the 5,500 pilgrims from Colombo would make a special offering at the Mount Arafat during the performance of Haj rituals for the sake of this maid. He also said that the government of Sri Lanka respects the laws and regulations of the Saudi government.
“We know well the country’s judicial verdicts should be respected by all those who are governed by them,” he said, requesting the parents of the deceased infant should show mercy on this young girl who had come here to improve her family’s condition back home.
The governor also said there are over 500,000 Sri Lankan workers in the Kingdom, which has the largest concentration of its workers in the Middle East. “We have no serious labor problems among them,” he said. “Most of them are resolved following negotiations and those unsuccessful deals end up in repatriating the worker at the expense of the government.”
Basil Fernando, director of the Hong-Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission, which funded Nafeek’s appeal, said his organization is seriously concerned about the sentence. He urged the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh to explore avenues that can reach the affected family to solicit a pardon from the father of the deceased infant.
He appreciated the mission’s efforts to hand the appeal letter from the Sri Lankan president to the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh without loss of time and for other diplomatic moves made toward this direction. However, he added that any move to hold direct talks with the victim’s father would be highly appreciable. (Arab News)