Allied against terror: Islamic coalition agree to boost military capabilities against threats

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stands with chiefs of staff and defense ministers of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) during their meeting in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 27 November 2017
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Allied against terror: Islamic coalition agree to boost military capabilities against threats

RIYADH: Top defense officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) on Sunday agreed to boost its military capabilities to dismantle terrorist organizations.
At a high-profile conference in Riyadh, they also agreed to step up cooperation to cut off financial support to terror groups, and stressed the importance of empowering the media and investing in digital platforms to combat extremist ideology and propaganda. 
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council’s maiden meeting on Sunday under the slogan “Allied against terrorism.”
In his keynote speech, he vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth.”
He said: “The greatest danger terrorism and extremism have achieved is not the killing of innocents or the spread of hatred (but) the distorting of our faith.” 
He added: “Today we began to pursue terrorism, and today we see defeats in many countries around the world, especially in Islamic countries, and we shall be those who assure its disappearance from the face of the earth.” 
The crown prince offered his condolences to Egypt, which suffered a terror attack on a mosque in North Sinai that killed 305 people.
“This is indeed a painful event, and it is a recurrent and strong reminder of the dangers of this terrorism,” he said.
Sunday’s final declaration “stressed importance of the military role in combating terrorism, enhancing security and peace in the Coalition member countries, and contributing to regional and international security and peace.”
The declaration said: “Terrorism has become deadlier than ever before, particularly in our Islamic world, which suffers from the crimes of terrorism, inflicting heavy losses in property and lives, and has shattered the dreams of broad sectors of societies trying to live in peace and tranquility.”
The defense ministers reaffirmed their determination “to work with every possible means to confront extremism and terrorism.”
They “renewed their determination to address terrorism through education and knowledge, to highlight correct Islamic concepts, and to establish the truth of moderate Islam, which is consistent with human nature and common values.” 
The defense ministers agreed to appoint IMCTC officials, including a secretary-general, while member countries will be entrusted with nominating their delegates. 
The council will meet annually and whenever necessary to follow up on the strategies, policies, plans and programs to achieve the IMCTC’s objectives.  
The ministers emphasized the importance of draining the sources of terrorist financing, and cutting off any financial support for terror operations and activities. 
“This can be achieved by coordinating efforts to combat terrorist funding and shutting down the flow permanently,” said the declaration, calling for more action to improve compliance with international standards.
Gen. Raheel Sharif, military commander of the IMCTC, said: “The greatest challenge to peace and stability in the 21st century, especially in the Islamic world, is to address the most serious phenomenon in the world: Terrorism.” 
He added that “terrorist organizations have distorted the concept of jihad in Islam” and threaten “world peace in order to achieve their destructive goals.”
Sharif said: “Our aim today is to unite and work together in order to beat and crush terrorism and its extremist ideology.”


Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 26 May 2019
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Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.