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Sri Lanka mulls system to send every Muslim for Hajj
Wednesday October 29, 2014 9:00 AM, News Network

President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa while visiting a school run by a Muslim group in Trincomalee Tuesday said the government was considering a system through which it will help all Muslims go to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, media reports said.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Speaking at the Kanthale Al Tharik Muslim School, the President said he had found that mostly those who can afford and who have money only attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah.

"Those who have money go 100 times. Even after they get old they go. But some are unable to go as they do not have money," Colombo Gazette quoted Rajapaksa as saying.

He said that he wants to introduce a system where the Government sends Muslims to Makkah through Government funds at least once in their lifetime.

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, and it is mandatory for the Muslims who can afford to travel to Makkah at least once in lifetime.

The move however is seen as a political gimmick aimed at attracting Muslim support ahead of the election.

"Aiming for the up coming election. These are nothing but more bags carrots", Eira Nisama wrote in her comment to the report.

"A family that formed the BBS to attack Muslims and their properties now wants some attention, especially when elections are around. Muslims won't forget the crimes you did to us. We will give you a fitting reply", another netizen wrote.

Sri Lanka has of late seen many anti-Muslim riots and attack by Buddhist extremists.

Rajapaksa's announcement has also angered the Buddhists, who say he should in the similar manner announce travel facilities for Buddhists and Christians.

"In that respect the government must make sure that all Buddhists, Catholics and Hindus are also given equal opportunity. All Buddhists must be allowed to go to India at least once in life time and Catholics must be allowed to visit Vatican at least once in their life time and Hindus also a place of their religious choice", a netizen wrote.

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