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
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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 university launches survey into the effects of women driving

Trainee Maria Al-Faraj practices changing a tire during a driving lesson at the Saudi Aramco Driving Center in Dhahran. Reuters/File
Updated 4 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi university launches survey into the effects of women driving

  • A scientific survey about cars and drivers is being distributed on social media outlets, targeting male and female citizens and residents
  • The data will be analyzed to help make recommendations to benefit the community and the interests of the country

JEDDAH: Researchers will observe and document the effects women driving in Saudi Arabia have on the economy, environment, community and traffic safety. It will also gather information about attitudes toward the change in the law, and the experience of women who get behind the wheel.
With the ban on women driving in the Kingdom due to be lifted on June 24, 2018, Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam has launched a national study titled “The impact of women’s driving on sustainable development and traffic safety in the Kingdom.”
Researchers from the university, headed by Dr. Najah bint Moqbel Al-Qarawi, a professor of geography of transportation, will supervise the project in collaboration with a specialist team from the General Directorate of Traffic.
Al-Qarawi said that a scientific survey about cars and drivers is being distributed on social media outlets, targeting male and female citizens and residents from all parts of society, in cities and villages. The questionnaire will reveal how participants feel about the issue of women driving and the potential effects it will have.
It will also measure the extent of support for the move from men, while women will be asked about their means of transportation and the main problems they face. Women who want to drive will also be asked about driving, training, the process for getting a license, their fears and aspirations, and for suggestions that might make the process easier and more appealing.
The survey will be carried out in two stages, before and after women get behind the wheel.
The data will be analyzed to help make recommendations to benefit the community and the interests of the country.
Everyone who completes a survey will be entered in a draw to win one of several cars from Almajdouie car company.