Court orders Sri Lankan ministry to handle Haj quota

Updated 07 August 2014

Court orders Sri Lankan ministry to handle Haj quota

A court in Colombo ruled Monday that the Haj quota of pilgrims in Sri Lanka will be handled by the ministry which deals with Bhuddist and other religious affairs.
The court order was given as a sequel to a dispute between the government Haj committee and a group of travel agents who were interested in taking a larger share of the quota of 2,240 pilgrims allotted to Sri Lanka by the Saudi Ministry of Haj.
In a directive sent to the Sri Lankan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah, Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Sassana and Relgious Affairs , M.K.B Dissanayake has said that as per the court order, the distribution of pilgrims will be handled by the ministry and any interference will be treated as a contempt of the court.
The distribution of pilgrims was done earlier by a team of Muslim officials under the direct supervision of a Muslim minister.
Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice Mohan Peiris on July 14 called on the parties involved in the dispute to settle the matter amicably when the aggrieved parties took legal action against the government’s distribution committee.
The Serendib Haj and Umrah Association had filed a case against the Haj Pilgrims Committee which had distributed the quotas in a biased manner.
The case was subsequently taken before a panel of three Supreme Court Judges.
The Haj Pilgrims Committee of the Religious Affairs Ministry is presided by Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, and its co-president is Deputy Minister Abdul Cader.
This committee is responsible for the distribution of the quota among 90 agents.
In a statement made earlier to Arab News, Minister Fowzie said the island has more than 3 million Muslims and his ministry has so far received more than 7,000 applicants for the forthcoming Haj. He pointed out that Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar had explained the difficulties faced by the Saudi authorities in accommodating a larger number of pilgrims because of the ongoing construction work at the holy sites.

FaceOf: Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi military chief of staff

Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili
Updated 20 June 2018

FaceOf: Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi military chief of staff

The military Chief of Staff of Saudi Arabia, Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, relayed Eid Al-Fitr greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to members of the armed forces in the southern region.

Al-Ruwaili visited Prince Sultan Medical Military City in Riyadh to check on the wounded soldiers and relay the king's Eid greetings as well as his appreciation of their love for their country and the sacrifices they have made for the safety of the Kingdom.

Al-Ruwaili became Saudi Arabia’s chief of staff in February 2018 after the retirement of Gen. Abdulrahman Al-Bunayan.

Al-Ruwaili was born in Turaif, a small town in the Northern Borders region, in 1958. He went to school there, completing high school in Arar, then joined King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh where he graduated as lieutenant pilot.

After that, he received a scholarship and traveled to the US to complete his flight training at Lakeland in Florida. He did a master’s in military science from Air Command and Staff College, and earned a second master’s degree in strategic studies from the US Air University in Alabama.

He returned to the Kingdom, and worked on several air military bases until he became a squadron commander and then a wing commander. He was an assistant at the air base in Taif, before he became commander of King Fahd Air Base in the western sector of Taif.

In 2012, Al-Ruwaili was appointed as commander of the Air Force, before King Salman issued the royal decree that promoted him to the rank of General Officer and made him the Kingdom’s chief of staff.