Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday evening had a dinner with about 1,200 Cambodian Muslims for the first time during the Ramadan Iftar (breaking-of- the-fast) Dinner.
Besides hosting dinners for foreign leaders, it is rare to see the prime minister joining dinners in public venues.
Speaking before having the dinner, Hun Sen said the government has always given attention to the Muslim people in Cambodia and treated them equally in all social activities
"This is the first year we have dinner together, and we will meet each other every year from now on," he said, adding all the expense during annual Ramadan Iftar Dinners will be covered by the government.
On the occasion, the prime minister also dismissed all allegations that Cambodian Muslims had joined fighting in some countries. His dismissal came after fighters affiliated with the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed last month in an unverified 13-minute-long jihadist recruitment video that Cambodian Muslims were among them.
Othsman Hassan, a spiritual leader of Cambodia's Muslim community, said that Hun Sen's presence at the Ramadan Iftar Dinner has clearly showed the government's attention to the Cambodian Muslims.
"Under the leadership of the current government, our Cambodian Muslims have lived peacefully and harmoniously," he said. "We have been treated equally in the society."
It is estimated that approximately 600,000 Khmer Muslims are living in Cambodia.