After a three-year Covid-19 hiatus, the government is now able to hold the 7th National Muslim Ramadan iftar dinner gathering for Cambodian Muslims, with more than 6,100 people expected to be in attendance.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a social media post that his Malaysian counterpart Anwar Ibrahim will be among the more than 500 foreign guests.

Anwar will be in Cambodia on March 27 for a one-day official visit.

“I would like to congratulate and wish good luck to the Cambodian Muslims in Cambodia and abroad, as well as Muslims around the world,” he said.

He expressed his fondness for – and thanks to – all Cambodian Muslims, saying they had helped to preserve the Kingdom’s peace, unity, and religious tolerance and had from the start put their faith in his leadership, and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

“I would also like to congratulate them for their invaluable contributions to Cambodia’s successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“Despite our success in the fight against the virus, I implore everyone to continue adhering to the prevention guidelines of the health ministry, as well as the directives of the Supreme Council of Islam in Cambodia. We must not disregard this terrible disease; even as cases taper off, we must always work to prevent another outbreak,” he continued.

Cambodian Muslim Yusuf Abdul Rasheem said the iftar dinner event would demonstrate the government’s concern for Muslims.

“This will be a face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the government and the Islamic community. Despite the fact that Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia, we are very well cared for by the government,” he said.

He said the availability of Muslim prayer rooms in several hospitals and educational institutions is also symbolic of the government’s support for the Islamic community.

While attending a January event to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in Cambodia, Hun Sen reiterated that the government supports all religions.

“People are free to worship in whatever way they see fit. I am very proud of Cambodia’s people for the way we coexist peacefully, despite having many different religious beliefs,” he said.