The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, in a letter to the King of Saudi Arabia, said it is deeply grieved and is reaching out to the King on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka for clemency to the housemaid sentenced to death by stoning for the serious crime of adultery while the other respondent, a Sri Lankan male migrant worker is to receive 100 lashes.
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka presumes that the housemaid unfortunately sentenced to death by stoning and the male worker who would face lashing were unaware of the law and cultural practices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the letter to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-‐Saud, the Muslim Council notes that the illiteracy of the maid and the man in this respect is solely due to their underprivileged and marginalised socio-‐economic background at their home country, Sri Lanka, which denied them even the minimum level of education required to be aware of complexities in a legal and cultural system that is inherently foreign to them.
“We respect the law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the decision made by the Saudi Arabian judiciary and at the same time believes that on extremely humanitarian grounds the two convicted individuals from Sri Lanka deserve your Royal Highnesses kind pardon. We convey these views considering the extraordinary level of hardships she faced in Sri Lanka which forced her to leave her family unwillingly in search of employment. The conditions which she faced at her home country left her no other option than to seek employment as a low paid housemaid in Saudi Arabia,” the Muslim Council added.
The Muslim Council notes that it was not her wish to be separated from her family but the gruesome economic hardships that encircle her life in her home country Sri Lanka, having to feed, clothe and educate her children who are still adolescences while her husband has no access to secure employment.
“These abject economic and social conditions, entirely independent from her will, forced her to part with her loved ones and provide them a means to live by remitting her meagre savings secured from her wage as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia. She did so only out of self-‐sacrifice to support her family and bring them at least faintly out of economic misery and permanent marginalisation in society. The fact that she chose to work as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia since 2013 knowing that she will not be so financially rewarded in turn explains the level of helplessness she had to suffer at her home country. Her family on the other hand also are tormented by indebtedness given that sinking into debt remains the only means of meeting even the daily subsistence needs of her and her beloved family. These conditions hurt her physical and mental wellbeing and in turn driving her unknowingly into her current plight. Your Majesty, we therefore believe her situation needs humanitarian interpretation rather than a legal one and hence on humanitarian grounds she needs your mercy and kind pardoning,” the letter said.
The Muslim Council notes that the kind intervention of the King in pardoning these unfortunate victims would enhance the high esteem in which Sri Lankan’s hold Islam. (Colombo Gazette)