Makkah vendors banned from selling Holy Mosque souvenirs

Pilgrims and visitors are seen at a local market near the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Updated 11 January 2018
0

Makkah vendors banned from selling Holy Mosque souvenirs

MAKKAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Investment continues its campaign in Makkah against selling souvenirs of the Kaaba, Maqam Ibrahim and Al-Haram Al-Makki because of what it called “preserving its sanctity” after shops were notified through inspection tours.
According to a source at the branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment in Makkah, souvenirs and antiques of Al-Haram were confiscated and the violating shops were notified of the consequences of the act to preserve the sanctity of these places.
Many of these central-based commercial establishments have cooperated with international factories to sell souvenirs of the Kaaba and Maqam Ibrahim because it is profitable.
Economists believe that an antiques and gifts sector in Makkah and Madinah would create employment opportunities for both men and women and that there are large-scale manufacturing opportunities.
Ali Al-Twaim, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence, told Arab News that selling souvenirs containing images of the Kaaba and the holy mosque is an insult to its sanctity and is a wrongful practice.
He stressed that “these souvenirs must take into account the holiness and honor granted by God to these places, in addition to the fact that they could be put in inappropriate places.”
“Many of these souvenirs do not reflect the extent of attachment and affection. There are some Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, and visitors who are passionately fond of whatever is for sale in Makkah, not to mention if it was like the Kaaba, Maqam Ibrahim or Al-Haram Al-Makki,” Al-Twaim said.
Economically, Abdel Moneim Bukhari, the owner of the Al-Meawiah Establishment for Antiques and Gifts, believes that these replicas are a souvenir that many visitors keep and remain a link that connects them to the place that they revere.
Bukhari said that “Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, like all tourists around the world, like to take any souvenirs or gifts with them that remind them of Makkah.”
He said that these goods have positive economic effects on the GDP. “Many of these industrial products are imported from several countries such as China, India, Taiwan and Pakistan, which are far from being specialized factories in Makkah. They should be of high quality and standards of respect,” Bukhari said.
He said that anything from Makkah should be made in Makkah and support the economics of Hajj and Umrah. “One of the pillars of Vision 2030 includes increasing the numbers of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims to 30 million by 2030.”
He added that many economic sectors will adapt to the challenges of this stage, which means that the requirements of Hajj and Umrah and their needs are essential in terms of housing, hotels, living, transport, industries, antiques and gifts.


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
0

Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • 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
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

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.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.