KSA vows zero tolerance for terrorism

Updated 10 August 2013
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KSA vows zero tolerance for terrorism

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Wednesday reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s determination to combat terrorism and donated $100 million to support the international counterterrorism center under the United Nations.
“Terrorism threatens global peace and stability,” King Abdullah said in a joint Eid Al-Fitr message with Crown Prince Salman. King Abdullah called for joint international efforts to fight terrorism without showing any leniency toward militants and their funders.
“We should understand that terrorism will not disappear within a limited period. So we have to be prepared for a long fight with terrorism. Whenever we try to tighten the noose it could become increasingly aggressive and violent. But we have strong faith in God that it would be defeated,” the message said.
Muslims in the Kingdom, including expatriates, will celebrate Eid Al-Fitr on Thursday, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The Supreme Court has confirmed the sighting of Shawwal crescent by reliable witnesses on Wednesday evening.
The Supreme Court also congratulated King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, other members of the royal family, Saudis in general and Muslims all over the world on the advent of Eid Al-Fitr and hoped the Eid would bring greater progress and prosperity to the Islamic world and strengthen Muslim unity.
“I congratulate you from the vicinity of the Grand Mosque in Makkah on the advent of Eid Al-Fitr,” the king said while praising the Prophet (peace be upon him) for spreading the message of Islam to lead humanity from the darkness of oppression and ignorance to the light of truth, equality and justice.
“Prophet Muhammad had also raised the flag of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, wisdom and sensible conduct,” the king said.
King Abdullah and Prince Salman decried the painful condition of the Muslim world as a result of civil wars and standoffs, resulting in the killing of innocent people and terrorizing of citizens.
The message cautioned against the political motives of terrorist ideologies, distorting the meaning of religious texts to suit their vested interests, adding that such terrorists were tarnishing the image of Islam and its values and principles. “They try to cause chaos and confusion in the earth,” the message said quoting a verse from the Qur’an.
King Abdullah stressed the importance of activating the international counterterrorism center, which he proposed during an anti-terror conference in Riyadh on Feb. 5, 2005. Saudi Arabia had earlier donated $10 million for the center.
King Abdullah and Prince Salman cautioned the Ummah against the danger paused by the distorted ideologies.
They emphasized that Muslims should return to the Qur’an and Sunnah to change their present situation and strengthen their unity.
“We should stand firm against the proponents of sedition, deviation and distortion,” the message added.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah received telephone calls from several Muslim leaders including Turkish President Abdullah Gul, King Muhammad of Morocco and King Hamad of Bahrain and exchanged Eid greetings.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.