Burial of non-Muslims made easy

Updated 23 September 2012
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Burial of non-Muslims made easy

A recent order issued by Riyadh’s Deputy Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Saad has eased the rules and regulations for the burial of the dead of expatriates, especially non-Muslims, said Ali Abdullah Bawazir, head of the Forensic Medicine Department in Riyadh.
In accordance with Prince Muhammad’s order, expatriates now only need to obtain approval of the police department to complete procedures for burial. “This will help the Forensic Medicine Department to speed up the procedures of burial and deportation and reduce the time of body preservation in mortuaries,” Bawazir said.
“The decision will ease the process for the relatives of the dead and their sponsors in preparing papers for the burial or deportation of bodies,” he said.
He explained that mortuaries of hospitals in the Riyadh region retain the bodies until they are buried or deported to their native countries, pointing out that the committee for burial and deportation of dead bodies in the Riyadh region plays a prominent role in overcoming the difficulties associated with burial.
“If deportation is not possible due to family refusal or the death of the sponsor, the body of non-Muslim expatriates is buried in a cemetery designated for that purpose,” said one official at the department for special rights in the Riyadh Mayoralty, who requested anonymity.
The source noted that the burial of non-Muslims is undertaken in the Kingdom in cases of failure in informing the family back home or finding no claimants for the body, or in the case of death sentence.
He said air cargo authorities do not transport a body without knowing the identity of the recipient.
The source declined to mention or locate the cemetery for the burial of non-Muslims, explaining that the mayoralty, in collaboration with official departments, has provided a piece of land in the Saudi capital for the burial of non-Muslims.
“Fetuses with incomplete growth and non-deportable bodies are also buried in the same cemetery,” he added.
Speaking about the legality of burying bodies of non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdullah bin Muneeh, a member of the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars, said the government has the discretionary power to take decisions on such matters.
“Bodies can be buried in the Kingdom if there are bilateral agreements between Saudi Arabia and other countries on burials,” he pointed out. He cited a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying: “Two religions shall not meet in my Peninsula whether dead or alive,” while referring to the ban on burial of non-Muslim bodies.
There are a number of prerequisites for the deportation of deceased expatriates in Saudi Arabia, which include filling out a deportation form from police, gaining the approval of the embassy, acquiring a death certificate, confirming the identity of the deceased and paying a fee of SR 3,000 toward the cost of the coffin, embalming and freight, which varies according to the weight and size of deceased.
If the deceased was a worker in Saudi Arabia, the sponsor is to bear all costs of deportation to his home base.


New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

Updated 24 March 2019
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New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

  • More than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018
  • GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh

JEDDAH: New technologies applied in Saudi Arabia's airports has contributed to aviation growth in the Kingdom and has provided solutions for passenger’s trips, air cargo and investments, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA earlier reported an 8 percent increase in passenger numbers and 4 percent in flight rates in 2018.

It said more than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers on board 741,293 flights in 2017.

"The GACA is keen to adopt plans to develop the Kingdom's airports network in order to keep pace with the steady increase in air traffic, increase the reliability of services, maximize geographic coverage and enhance the contribution of the airports to the overall economic growth of the country," it said.

For example, it said, GACA provides information through technology to reduce paperwork, operating costs and streamline business processes while reducing time to address them.

Most prominent among these e-services is the “Self-Services at the Kingdom's airports” that include check-in kiosks that provide boarding passes and luggage identification cards and self-service baggage drops that allows passengers to self-check their luggage.

It also provides self-scanning devices for bags in the arrival halls, ensuring that all baggage and other cargo arrive at the airport through the installation of electronic gates for the passage of freight vehicles before being emptied into the luggage compartment. 

Electronic gates and document scanning machines ensure that a traveler's information is correct and that boarding passes, passports, national identity and residency are valid.

Other services include airport operations systems and flight information display for some domestic airports.

To ensure accuracy in the flight schedules, GACA said it is working on a project to link the Saudi Arabian Airlines traffic management system to the Airport Management System, of which 50 percent has been completed.

GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh to review the infrastructure projects for airports and smart airports, the available opportunities to operate the airports and provide advanced services and consultations in civil aviation, among others.