KSA rubbishes Iran criticism of stampede

Updated 29 September 2015
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KSA rubbishes Iran criticism of stampede

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia firmly rejected Iran’s criticism of its handling of the Haj pilgrimage Saturday after Tehran demanded an inquiry into the Mina stampede.
“I believe the Iranians should know better than to play politics with a tragedy that has befallen people who were performing their most sacred religious duty,” Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said, according to AFP.
Al-Jubeir, delivering remarks along US Secretary of State John Kerry, insisted that Saudi Arabia was on top of the situation.
“The Kingdom has had a long history of spending tremendous resources to care for the pilgrimage to ensure that the pilgrims who come there have a successful pilgrimage,” he said.
“And we will reveal the facts when they emerge. And we will not hold anything back. If mistakes were made, who made them will be held accountable,” Al-Jubeir said.
“And we will make sure that we will learn from this and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again. I want to repeat again this is not a situation with which to play politics.
“I would hope Iranian leaders would be more sensible and more thoughtful with regards to those who perished in this tragedy, and wait until we see the results of the investigation.”
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the Haj tragedy should not increase tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Reuters said quoting a diplomatic source.
Prominent Iranian writer and academic Sadegh Zibakalam criticized statements made by Iranian officials on the Mina incident saying that they stemmed from events in Syria and Yemen.
“As opposed to other Muslims, ours were the only reactions aimed at pre-judging who is responsible for the Mina tragedy,” he was quoted by Al Arabiya.net as saying.
“The response (from Iranian officials) was based on unleashing anti-Arab sentiment that many Iranians bear. The horrible Mina incident has allowed Iranians to unload their anger onto Arabs,” he added.


FaceOf: Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki, chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Updated 9 min 47 sec ago
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FaceOf: Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki, chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki is the chairman of the board of directors at Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), an organization that operates and regulates businesses in Makkah.

Its latest project was the signing for a smart food city with a specialized office in real estate development and investment.

The chairman said that such projects increased career opportunities due to the millions of pilgrims and visitors that Makkah receives each year. Smart food cities are developed to cope with population growth and gain resources to deal with climate change and socioeconomic strife.

Hisham Kaaki was born in Makkah in 1977 and spent his younger years there until he graduated from King Faisal School. He moved to the US for five years to pursue a bachelor’s degree from California State University in San Diego.

After marrying, Kaaki moved to Jeddah, where he worked as a page editor for the local and then cultural page at Okaz newspaper, before he pursued his master’s degree in media administration from King Abdul Aziz University.

He was appointed editor-in-chief of Al-Nadwa newspaper, before serving as editor-in-chief of both Al-Nadwa and Stars of the Football Stadium for three years.

Kaaki was then accepted into the official media delegation accompanying the then-crown King Abdullah, and then crown prince, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, to 15 European and Arab capitals, meeting kings as well as presidents including Hosni Mubarak and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He then moved to start as editor-in-chief of Al-Hayat newspaper in the western region, establishing his own business in trade and real estate after 10 years in journalism.

Kaaki is a board member of the Council of Saudi Chambers, and on the board of directors of Makkah Media, Kaaki Industries and Hills of Development.