Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar of using Twitter to stoke dissent

According to a study, 32 percent of the fake accounts come from Qatar, 28 percent from Lebanon, 24 percent from Turkey and 12 percent from Iraq.
Updated 07 July 2017
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Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar of using Twitter to stoke dissent

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia, which is part of the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ), on Thursday accused Doha of being behind over 23,000 Twitter accounts trying to stoke dissent in Saudi Arabia.
“We found over 23,000 Twitter accounts driven by Qatar, some of them linked to accounts calling for ‘revolution’ in Saudi Arabia,” Information Minister Awwad Saleh Al-Awwad told AFP during a visit to Paris.
They included the @mujtahidd account, which claims to have the inside track on the Saudi royal household and has over 1.8 million followers, he said.
The account, which has backed Qatar, claimed that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE had set out to overthrow Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani but decided against it after coming under pressure from the US, an ally of both Riyadh and Doha.
Al-Awwad accused a London-based Saudi dissident, Saad Al-Faqih, of being behind the account, “together with Qatar.”
Some of the accounts identified by Riyadh as being Qatari proxies were behind calls for protests by the jobless on April 21, he said.
According to one study, 32 percent of the fake accounts come from Qatar, 28 percent from Lebanon, 24 percent from Turkey and 12 percent from Iraq.
The study found links, in the forms of re-tweets and likes, between these accounts and others that call for revolution, stir public opinion or spread rumors about Saudi Arabia, said Saud Al-Qahtani, adviser to the Saudi Royal Court and general supervisor of the Center for Studies and Information Affairs.
Al-Qahtani added that 82 percent of these accounts use false pseudonyms, and about 18 percent of the others cannot be verified.
Recently, the Gulf Association for Rights and Freedoms appealed to two international rights organizations for an urgent intervention over Qatar’s move to ban expat workers taking their annual leave.
The association has sent an “urgent appeal” to the International Labour Organization and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, asking them to “intervene urgently regarding the grave violation” the Qatari government is committing against citizens and expats, according to the UAE state news agency WAM.
Approximately 2.2 million expats work in Qatar, the majority from countries in Asia.
The ban on Qatari nationals and expat workers taking annual leave may endanger their working conditions, according to Mohammed Hayef, the rights association’s spokesperson.
Hayef warned that such a decision is likely to increase rates of serious and fatal work accidents, “due to depriving workers and placing them under harsh working conditions and physical, psychological and social pressures.”
Qatar’s decision “contradicts the conventions of the International Labour Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and violates the basic human right to enjoy annual leave,” Hayef said.
“By this unjust decision, Qatar has violated the most important universal and humanitarian provision in the International Labour Organization’s constitution,” which clearly condemns working conditions “involving injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled.”
Hayef referred to construction workers on the 2022 FIFA World Cup project, who are also negatively affected by the ban.
According to a previous report, more than 1,200 construction workers died while building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“One human rights agency estimates more than 4,000 construction workers will die building World Cup-related infrastructure,” the previous report said.


Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

Updated 20 September 2018
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Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

  • Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week
  • The Grazia Middle East Style Awards will this year take place in Riyadh

RIYADH: Emerging Saudi fashion designers will get a chance to showcase their work alongside internationally renowned peers — including Yahya Couture, Yuliya Yanina and Lama Askari — during the second edition of Saudi Fashion Week, which runs from October 21 to 25, 2018.

The dates were revealed by the event’s founder, Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, who made a statement with her choice of outfit for the official announcement: a black abaya with a traditional Saudi hand embroidered, red design.

The princess, who is the founder of Saudi fashion community and Saudi Fashion Week in Saudi Arabia, said she always dreamed of being part of the fashion industry and is working hard to help the dreams of others come true as well, by supporting local designers,providing them with a platform on which to showcase their creativity, and supplying them with the tools they need to succeed.

“This fashion week is sponsored by the GCA and we want to highlight our Saudi culture,” she said when asked how the second edition will differ from the inaugural event in April 2018. “Every designer is unique and designs in a different way. Our culture is not only about wearing an abaya; it’s what makes you comfortable as a person.

“We have more local names coming out and a program to support emerging designers. This is a platform with which we support Saudi designers, in their country, which they represent.”

However, it also embraces the wider international fashion industry, as well.

“it’s an exchange of cultures. It’s a platform for Saudi and other countries,” said Princess Noura. “When we speak about fashion, it’s a mirror that reflects our culture and modernity.”

To help launch the careers of Saudis who are just starting out in the fashion industry, a “Top emerging Saudi designers” program has been developed, and the country’s fashion community has chosen six designers to participate, some of whom are recentcollege graduates. It will offer them support and give them real-world experience of the fashion industry.

Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week, with three runway shows each day, beginning at 8pm. In addition, a fashion festival featuring pop-up stores will run throughout the event. The Grazia Middle East Style Awards, which is usually held in Dubai, will this year take place in Riyadh on the final day of Saudi Fashion Week.

“I want every designer in Saudi Arabia to not be afraid and to come out and show what they are made of. Be Brave,” added Princess Noura.