The Saudi Embassy has issued a statement rebutting claim by ex-Governor Hemakumara Nanayakkara, that the reason behind Wahhabi Muslims amassing wealth and assets in urban areas, is due to loan schemes funded by Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia that enables banks to issue loans at 1% interest.
Hemakumara alleged that Wahhabi Muslims have been able to invest in valuable properties in Colombo as well as other urban areas, due to state and private banks issuing major financial concessions on loans, backed by Islamic nations including Saudi Arabia.
“If an ordinary citizen wishes to take a loan from a state or private bank, we would be charged a 14% interest…But there is a special group of people in this country – a group of Muslims who are not charged the same interests as others. Not all Muslims are privy to these benefits, the Sufi Muslims are not given these concessions,” he said.
Hemakumara went on to state that it is the Wahabi Muslims who receive special treatment from banks, where, if they apply for a loan, the requested amount would be approved via a special committee that would issue the loan for a 1% interest.
He alleged although it was initially only Amana and Habib banks that issued these Islamic loans, today the state as well as other private banks in Sri Lanka and other finance companies offer this concession to Wahabi Muslims.
“The banks have been enabled to grant this concession of 1% interest on loans because islamic nations including Saudi Arabia and Qatar have invested in the local bank shares…Wahabis are granted these monetary concessions and the loss due to not charging the full interest is absorbed by the fund backed by the Islamic nation,” he added.
However, the Saudi Embassy in Sri Lanka dismissed his claims and pointed out the country has only offered soft loans and that too, to fund the development projects of Sri Lanka intended to benefit Sri Lankans and enhance their quality of life.
In a special statement the Embassy noted a total of 407.72 million USD has been granted to Sri Lanka so far to fund facilitation of various development projects.
We publish below the letter in full: