Malala in Makkah for spiritual solace

Updated 30 May 2013
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Malala in Makkah for spiritual solace

Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani girl who was shot in the head and critically wounded by militants last year for promoting girls’ education, arrived yesterday in the Kingdom with her family to perform Umrah.
Her visit was kept low-profile and it garnered little attention until she met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in the UAE on her way to Jeddah.
“This is a private visit to the Kingdom dedicated toward performing Umrah,” said Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.
“Malala is keen on performing several Umrahs during her visit and wishes to spend time alone in the Haram Al-Sharif,” he told Arab News.
He said: “She is authoring a book and attending school. She has to prepare for her exams and therefore was not able to meet more people.”
Officials at the Pakistan Consulate in Jeddah said they were unaware of the details of her visit.
Malala, 15, stopped in Abu Dhabi on Monday to thank Sheikh Mohammad and the UAE government for sending an air ambulance and medical team to transfer her to the United Kingdom from Pakistan after she was shot last Oct. 9.
She then continued her journey to Makkah on Tuesday.
She was released from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in January and returned to school last month.
Malala, who became an activist at the age of 12, has become a global symbol for the campaign for girls’ rights to an education prior to the assassination attempt in the Swat Valley.
Her father is also an activist, having founded the all-girls Khushal Public School 17 years ago to encourage female leadership.
In March, she signed a $ 3 million book deal with Little Brown publishers to tell her life story. It will be published in November.
The teenager did not provide an interview because she is under contract by the publisher.


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
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Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.