King Salman to cover cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims on Hajj program

Updated 01 September 2017
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King Salman to cover cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims on Hajj program

MAKKAH: King Salman will cover the cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims hosted by the Hajj guest program, an official said.
The offer includes all pilgrims from more than 80 countries hosted by the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah, said secretary-general of the program, Abdullah bin Mudlaj Al-Mudlaj.
These include relatives of slain soldiers from Palestine, the Egyptian army and police, as well as relatives of Sudanese army personnel who were killed in the Decisive Storm and Restoring Hope operations.
Al-Mudlaj said the number of beneficiaries this Hajj season stands at 5,000, compared to 2,400 last year.
The executive committee of the program has begun work to implement the offer in coordination with the concerned agencies, while all the beneficiaries have been informed of the offer, he added.
The Hajj guest program is coordinated with Islamic figures in different countries around the world. It helps bolster relations between the Kingdom and peoples of Arab and Islamic countries, including Qatari nationals recently hosted by the king.
Meanwhile Tawfiq Al-Sudairi, the deputy minister of Islamic affairs, call and guidance, stressed the history of the Kingdom in disassociating Hajj from political and sectarian divides.
He said: “The Kingdom has disassociated Hajj from politicization and political and sectarian slogans since it was founded by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman. He emphasized that … Saudi officials always emphasize this strategic concept, from which all governmental authorities and service programs are launched to assist pilgrims. Therefore, it is always being reaffirmed that Hajj is a religious ritual that must be elevated and that it is so much purer than political and sectarian matters.”
Meanwhile, a Palestinian woman from Gaza wept as she stood in front of a photo of King Salman in the lobby of a hotel hosting the families of martyrs of Palestine who came to perform Hajj.
Ruwdha Abdulhameed, 63, pointed to the King’s photo and in her local Arabic dialect said: “I send my greetings to King Salman. May Allah give him a long life because he is supporter of Palestine … and we are proud of him.”
She said she has been termed as the “mother of a martyr” because her son was killed at the age of 25, and her two grandsons were also martyred. She said her sufferings faded when she arrived in the Kingdom.
“The sons of Palestine are your sons, and Saudi youths are our sons. Our lives are sacrificed for Palestine and Al-Aqsa, of which we are proud,” she said.
Around 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims will perform Hajj this year at the king’s expense under the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah program.
Pilgrim Aisha Abul-Qasim hopes that Hajj will be a good opportunity to pray for her son, Ayman Jibril, a mine expert in the Sudanese army who died four months ago.
Abul-Qasim is one of 10 Sudanese mothers who lost loved ones fighting with the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen who will perform Hajj this season as guests of King Salman.
With tears in her eyes, Aisha said that her son had four sons of his own when he died. She said that she has spent most of her days taking care of them since April 22, when the Sudanese armed forces informed her that her son was killed.
“The Saudi Embassy in Khartoum facilitated our travel procedures to Jeddah airport. They completed the procedures in record time,” said Abul-Qasim. She also said that the Sudanese pilgrims were given a welcome reception before they were taken to a hotel in Al-Rusayfah in Makkah.


New Saudi tourism app offers 3 innovative technology solutions

Updated 32 min 41 sec ago
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New Saudi tourism app offers 3 innovative technology solutions

RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) launched on Monday the Holo Journey project as the first application in the world integrating three innovative technology solutions for enhancing the tourism experience and national heritage.
The SCTH’s Vice President for Support, Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh, stressed that the achievement has come in line with the vision of SCTH’s President Prince Sultan bin Salman, in adopting and keeping abreast of the latest technologies to serve the tourism and the national heritage sector in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s vision on the tourism sector is based on its basic values and culture, followed by the economic importance and regional and international weight it enjoys.
Separately, Prince Sultan inspected the ongoing work to develop Rijal Alma village in Asir region recently.
He met the team assigned to implement urgent projects and development to register the village on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Saudi leadership aims to make the Kingdom a distinctive tourist destination, Prince Sultan said.
The tourism sector represents a new economic resource that will provide thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities, he added.
Prince Sultan praised the people of Asir region, particularly those who live in Rijal Alma, for their belief in preserving national heritage.
The village will be transformed into a global tourist attraction, highlighting Asir’s history and heritage, he said.
The village of Rijal Alma had won the Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Urban Heritage in 2007 and has become a tourist destination for those visiting the region of Asir. This importance comes as a result of the numerous historical, cultural, heritage and natural factors, and the hospitality and culture of its residents.
The SCTH, since its inception, has accorded a great deal of attention to Asir as a major tourist destination, he added.
Initiatives include “tourism projects and activities on the Red Sea, the rehabilitation of heritage sites and villages, the establishment of museums,” and “the stimulation of tourism and hotel investment,” Prince Sultan said.