‘Shariah allows polio vaccination’

Updated 28 February 2014
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‘Shariah allows polio vaccination’

The Islamic Advisory Group (IAG) held its first meeting Wednesday on polio eradication at the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation(OIC) headquarters in Jeddah to review the global polio situation, particularly in polio-endemic, predominantly Muslim countries where the disease continues to strike and cripple Muslim children.
The two-day meeting was organized by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in cooperation with the World Health Organization, the OIC, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the IAG and UNICEF with the aim of providing high-level global leadership and guidance for building solidarity and support for polio eradication across the Muslim world.
The opening session was attended by Iyad Madani, secretary-general of the OIC; Ahmed Mohammed Ali, president of IDB; Abbas Shuman, deputy of Al-Azhar; Ala Alwan, regional representative of WHO; and Sheikh Saleh bin Abdullah, chairman of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy.
Sheikh Abdullah said at the opening of the session that the main aim of this meeting was to consult, exchange views and to reaffirm support of the Islamic community and leadership in polio eradication and trust in the safety and effectiveness of vaccination. Nearly the entire Muslim world is now polio-free.
“Polio is being fought by governments, associations, WHO and individuals, as it is a subject of major concern. I am confident that today’s meeting will bring fruitful results as it is taking place in the interest of the Muslim Ummah and the Islamic Shariah legislation for the benefit of mankind. All efforts made by the scholars of Islam are in the interest of mankind,” he said.
He further said that the Shariah does not allow anything which is harmful to mankind. “The issue here is vaccination for polio, which is to protect from harm and important for the health of children so it can be safely said that the Islamic Shariah allows polio vaccination. He also condemned the violent actions against the welfare workers of the polio vaccination campaign.
Abbas Shuman, representative of the grand mufti of Al-Azhar, said that Shariah allows the use of drugs to protect against epidemic diseases. The Islamic Shariah has ordered that we protect five key objectives from harm: life, religion, faith, honor and natural resources.
“It is everyone’s duty to protect the life and health of human beings. The attacks on health workers and facilities must be stopped. The health of all children is at risk if health workers and health facilities are attacked so it is everyone’s duty to protect children from polio or any epidemic diseases as going against this will be a sin. Therefore, parents should take their children for vaccination,” he said.


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.