Ban on Peace TV will be lifted soon: Zakir Naik

Updated 06 July 2014

Ban on Peace TV will be lifted soon: Zakir Naik

The Muslim scholar of international repute, Zakir Naik, hoped the Indian government would soon lift ban on his Peace TV.
Naik heads the Islamic Research Foundation that owns Peace TV. The channel has a substantial viewership in the Middle East and African countries and which operates from Dubai.
The Indian government's Intelligence Bureau had red-flagged Peace TV among 24 foreign channels for allegedly broadcasting anti-India programs "not conducive to the security environment in the country.”
Naik rejected the accusations as unfounded and said a stay order was granted by the Supreme Court during the tenure of India's former Chief Justice Altamas Kabir. The order was later revoked by his successor. However, he expressed hope of a "positive decision soon."
He said Peace TV programs were often considered to have a political agenda, which was unjustified.
Naik told Arab News here at a sahoor party hosted by Rashid Ali Sheikh, an Indian businessman and social worker, that Peace TV was a major Islamic satellite television network with a global viewership of more than 100 million and broadcast in English, Urdu and Bengali languages.
Sheikh also hoped that Peace TV would be able to clear its name. He said Naik's speeches, especially when he criticizes Western powers for their interference in Muslim countries, are taken out of context to label him as a supporter of extremism.
The Indian Express, India’s one of the top daily newspapers, recently ranked Naik as the country's 89th most powerful person, ahead of Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen and former Attorney General Soli J. Sorabjee.
Peace TV has many speakers and presenters including those from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, and its Arabic channel is expected to go on air soon.
The reception function was attended by many prominent expats from the Indian community.

Mashair One exhibition showcases improved services for pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia

Updated 33 min 44 sec ago

Mashair One exhibition showcases improved services for pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia

  • The first groups of Hajj visitors will start arriving next week, with about two million expected in total

MAKKAH: The Mashair One exhibition, an international showcase of the latest developments and improvements in the services offered by Saudi Arabia to pilgrims, opened on Tuesday. The event aims to encourage businesses to come up with further fresh ideas and technical innovations that can help to enrich the experiences of the millions of people who visit the holy places each year.

The event, which is taking place in the camps of the National Tawafa Establishment for South Asian Pilgrims in Mina, was inaugurated by Makkah Deputy Governor Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz. The exhibitors included companies specializing in subsistence and housing, and twelve creative ideas for enhancing the Hajj experience were presented.

“There are many efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia to serve Hajj among the security, governmental and private sectors, and they are always ready to serve pilgrims,” said Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin. “The inauguration of the exhibition is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to care for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, and all the sectors that serve the pilgrims.”

He noted that the exhibition was designed to highlight products and services that help to improve the quality of accommodation available to pilgrims in the holy places and to encourage the development of the services provided for them.

“The exhibition is based on the directives of the wise leadership, primarily King Salman, who makes every effort to provide all resources for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors and improve the services provided to them,” said Bentin.

The Guests of God Service Program, a key initiative within Saudi Vision 2030, was inaugurated by King Salman during Ramadan. It is designed, Bentin said, to help the ministry prepare for the arrival of millions of pilgrims and provide them with services of the highest quality to assist them in the performance of their duties. This is achieved in conjunction with an integrated network of governmental and non-governmental bodies, in coordination with the Hajj Supreme Committee and the Central Committee.

The minister said that Hajj pilgrims will begin to arrive in Saudi Arabia next week and stressed that the authorities have been working hard on operational plans to serve their needs. About two million domestic and international pilgrims are expected this year. He offered them a warm welcome and said that the services they receive will be monitored and followed up, from those provided at their point of arrival to their accommodation to their return home.

“To familiarize officials with the services presented to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, generate the best ideas and improve the accommodation for pilgrims in the holy places, the Hajj and Umrah Ministry organized Mashair One exhibition,” said Bentin. “It has attracted a large number of businesses and specialist companies from inside the country and abroad, so that we can benefit from their knowledge, experiences, technical means and creative ideas.”

Raafat Badr, chairman of the National Tawafa Establishment for South Asian Pilgrims, said: “The exhibition aims to be an international platform for companies that serve pilgrims in the holy places, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”

Enhancements to accommodation for pilgrims includes improved air conditioning, bunk beds, mattresses, furniture, lighting, power provision, chilled drinking water, and recycling and waste-disposal services. In addition, improvements are being made to services for people with special needs, including adapted restrooms and kitchens, “smart camp” facilities are being enhanced, prepared meals can be provided and gifts will be presented to pilgrims.

The organizations and individuals in charge of improving Hajj services do so in accordance with international standards of safety and quality. They aim to: attract designers, engineers and suppliers from local businesses to present the best solutions for improving the pilgrimage experience and making it as comfortable as possible; build a professional platform that encourages international and local companies to create solutions; enrich the knowledge base of the Hajj sector; and promote the concept of moral and humanitarian investment in services for pilgrims.