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Please pardon Rizana - A H M Azwer, MP

The Hon Alhaj A H M Azwer: Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Sir, our Hon Rosy Senanayake, the fair member, was saying about swadeshiya sarees and other endum pelandum. While she was speaking, I was just thinking what saree she was wearing when she was elected as a World Woman Married Beauty? Was it a swadeshiya saree?

Sir, I want to straight away come to the case of Rizana who is in a Saudi Arabian prison. The other day, a delegation led by our Governor of the Western Province, respected Seyyed Alavi Mowlana and some of us went in this delegation. We went to Riyadh. It was almost a new move that was taken by Kingsley Ranawaka, the Chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau. He roped in some of the best known Moulavis from this country who are scholars in Arabic and together with them we were able to go to Saudi and meet the parents who live 500 kilometres away from Riyadh. So, we spoke to them in their own language. We went to Dawadmi village to the place where the parents are living. In Dawadmi there is a tribal leader. His name is, Muhammad Faihan Shuraim Al-Uthaibi. He accorded us a warm reception at the Civic Hall, a magnificent hall built in the tribal city of Dawadmi. He summoned all the tribal leaders and they were so sorry to hear of the fate of Rizana.

I must also stress here about Moulavi M S M Thassim (Gaffoori), Secretary General of the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama and Imran Jamaldeen (Gaffoori) of IIRO. Both of them are well versed in the Arabic language. They were able to speak to the tribal people in their own Arabic language. While they were speaking, those tribal leaders were surprised to know that Rizana was a Muslim. All these days, they were unaware of this fact. Our good friend, Parliamentarian M S M Thowfeek, representing Rizana's electorate Muttur in the Trincomalee District, also came with us. These two Moulavi's quoted from the Holy Quran.

I must mention those Verses in this House.

There are two important articles of details of these talks written by these two Moulavis which appear in the Sunday Thinakaran and Engal Desam fortnightly.

One must understand as the Minister Hon Dilan Perera told the other day in this House, that Shariah Law is based on Divine Law. That is the Holy Quran. No man can change it. No king or queen can change it. We have to act according to that. It is our President, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa who understood well and wrote a letter to the king asking to show mercy on Rizana. As a result the execution was stopped, but she is still in prison. We took her parents, Nafeeq and Mrs Fareena Nafeeq also. When the tribal leaders met them they could not hold back their tears. The tribal leaders cried. It was really an emotional moment they cried out and said that they will never believe that this girl has committed the crime. She was trying to bottlefeed the child when the child got choked. She was an underaged girl.

After that we met the grandfather of the deceased infant - As-Sheikh Mirdath Fahad Al Otaibi, we went 500 kilometres from Riyadh to Dawadmi to meet the tribal leaders. All the other leaders in the desert assembled there. That is a tribe that comes from the time of the Holy Prophet. There are various tribes in Saudi Arabia.

I must thank Moulavi M S M Thassim Gafoori and Kingsley Ranawaka, who executed the plan of this mission very well, stopping the execution of the girl. The Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Nissanka Wijeratne also came with us. Since the Saudi Arabian rules are rigid we can only appeal to them. Our learned two Moulavis quoted the Holy Quran and appealed. What did they say? They quoted this verse from the Holy Quran.

"Ya ayyuhallazina amanoo, kuthiba alai kumul kisasu fil qathala, al-hurru bil hurri, wal abdu bil abdi, wal unsa bil unsa, faman ufiya la hoo, min akhikhi." The last sentence of that is, "Faththibaun bil ma roof, wa'daun ilaihi, bi-ihsan." That is, show mercy. It is true that God has given you the power. God has told you that he is also merciful. Allah utha-ala Raheem is also merciful. In that context, we asked them. "Please, pardon this girl," According to the Sharia Law it has to be done by the parents, not the king. So, we allowed parents of Rizana to remain there at the request of the tribal leaders.

(The Presiding Member)

Hon Member, you have to conclude your speech now.

The tribal leaders, according to their ancient system, with their sticks holding aloft said: "It is our duty - Hon Minister, I want to tell you this - "You please go back home and when the pardon is obtained from the parents, please come again to take the girl home." The grandfather himself said it. I hope the Hon Minister would also come with us to go there at that time. I must extend special thanks to Mr Ahmed Jawad, the ambassador in Saudi Arabia there who did the ground work extremely well, together with his efficient staff, Mr Alavi Mowlana, his son and the private secretary Mr Naqeeb Mowlana, Moulavi Zarook who came from our embassy in Kuwait and various others who joined us in this very well organized delegation, Insha Allah, in the name of Allah I say, we will receive the good news and succeed in our mission. That is the good news I am passing on to you at this moment, Hon Minister.

Thank you!

 

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