Iran continues to back Houthis, Saudi FM tells OIC

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, center, at an emergency meeting in Jeddah on Sunday. (AN photo)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Iran continues to back Houthis, Saudi FM tells OIC

JEDDAH: The Iranian regime continues to smuggle weapons and rockets to the Houthi militias in Yemen with the aim of attacking the Kingdom, its people and vital interests, said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
He was addressing an emergency meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah on Sunday.
The meeting reviewed the overall situation of Yemen, Iran’s destabilizing role in the country and Houthi militia aggressive actions against Saudi Arabia.
“The Kingdom has so far provided $10.2 billion worth of humanitarian assistance to Yemen,” said Al-Jubeir.
OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen condemned the actions of the Houthi militia and its refusal to respond positively to the UN and regional efforts to resolve the crisis in Yemen through peaceful means.
Al-Othaimeen expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia and backed all the actions taken by the Kingdom to protect its land.
The OIC chief categorically said: “We must stand against all those who support terrorist militias.”
He also deplored the Houthis’ ongoing violation of human rights in Yemen, the killings of former Yemeni president and senior politicians.
Maha Akeel, head of the OIC’s information department, told Arab News: “OIC condemns Iran’s violation of the CFM resolution adopted at the Makkah Conference in November 2016 and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, by continuing to provide militias with arms, particularly Iranian-made ballistic missiles.”
The OIC official said Iran should abandon its divisive policies and must stop supporting terrorist groups in the region.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, another meeting was held to discuss political, security and humanitarian developments in Yemen. Chaired by the OIC chief, the meeting condemned the Houthis’ military actions along the Yemeni-Saudi border, bombing of facilities and citizens inside Saudi territory, and the launching of ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia, an act considered as blatant aggression against Saudi territory and a threat to regional peace and stability.
Al-Othaimeen said the OIC was closely monitoring the situation in Yemen. The final communiqué of the meeting reiterated OIC’s strong commitment to stand with Yemen’s unity, sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity.
The meeting rejected foreign interference in Yemen’s internal affairs. It praised the role played by the Arab coalition countries and all Arab and Islamic countries in supporting the legitimate leadership in Yemen and the Yemeni people as well as supporting the peaceful solution and the reconstruction of Yemen.
It also urged the OIC member states to intensify and coordinate their efforts to reach a political solution to the Yemeni crisis and to provide more humanitarian and development assistance.
The OIC meeting called on all member states to jointly work to restore peace in the country and to prevent Yemen from turning into a safe haven for terrorists and violent militias.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 38 min 54 sec ago
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.