Saudi Arabia offers its expertise for training imams and preachers in Belgium

Special Adviser to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Ibrahim Al-Zaid presenting a memento to Dirk Achten, vice-minister and secretary general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 09 November 2017
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Saudi Arabia offers its expertise for training imams and preachers in Belgium

RIYADH: The Kingdom has offered its assistance for training imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium, during discussions which took place between the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance and the visiting delegation from Belgium.

The joint meeting between the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi ministry was held on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs Riyadh.

The Saudi team was headed by the special adviser to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Zaid, and the Belgian group was headed by Dirk Achten, vice-minister and secretary-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, who wrapped up his two-day visit to the capital on Tuesday. Belgian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Geert Criel was also present during the discussions.

Belgium has some 700,000 Muslims out of its 11 million population.

During the meeting, discussions focused on the issues of extremism, the fight against extremist ideas, religious fanaticism at various regional and international levels and its motives, methods of containment and treatment, and the conditions of religious institutions in Belgium.

During the meeting, the Islamic Affairs Ministry told the Belgium delegation what the ministry can provide in the field of training and qualifying imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium.

Al-Zaid stressed the depth of relations between the Kingdom and Belgium in various fields, noting the Kingdom’s appreciation and respect for the Muslims in Belgium, pointing out that the mosque and the Islamic Center in Brussels was established by the Kingdom during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz.

The center, which was opened by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz in 1978, remains as one of the first mosques and Islamic centers established in Europe.

He stressed that this center has been playing a great role in strengthening relations between the Kingdom and Belgium. He described Saudi-Belgian relations in the field of Islamic affairs as “age-old.”

During his brief visit to Riyadh, Achten held talks with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the GCC Secretariat and also visited Mohamed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care headquartered in Riyadh.

In an earlier interview with Ambassador Criel, the envoy said the talks of his country’s delegates with Saudi officials focused on countering extremism and they were also interested to learn more from the Kingdom’s experience in combating extremism.


Formula E is another step toward Saudi Vision 2030 — Russian Direct Investment Fund

Updated 15 December 2018
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Formula E is another step toward Saudi Vision 2030 — Russian Direct Investment Fund

JEDDAH: The Formula E Championship race in the ancient cradle of Saudi Arabia, Ad Diriyah, is another unique example of the historic steps the country’s leadership is taking to implement its Vision 2030 and follow a path to moderate Islam, said CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund.
Speaking on Saturday following the race, Kirill Dmitriev added that “the event not only promotes electric cars and cutting-edge technologies in the country, but also showcases the first ever mass pop music concerts in the Kingdom,” with performers including Enrique Iglesias, The Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta.
Thousands of fans flocked to Riyadh’s historic Ad Diriyah district for Formula E, a motor sports tournament using electric vehicles, and for the concerts, entertainment and cultural activities as well.
Whizzing electric race cars wound through the ruins of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO world heritage site that is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, celebrating a telling of national history.

CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev. (Photo/Supplied)

“Such events will help attract tourists to the previously closed country and are a true celebration for aspiring young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he went on to say.
Dmitriev also said that “the vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”
A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.
It also marks the first event in the Kingdom accessible to international tourists, made possible by a new online e-visa system, Sharek, demonstrating to the world Saudi Arabia’s future vision for tourism, which is expected to be on a much larger scale.