Film festival heralds return of cinema to Saudi Arabia

The 12th European Film Festival has been organized by the embassies of several countries. (AN Photo)
Updated 21 February 2018

Film festival heralds return of cinema to Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A week-long film festival is giving Saudi audiences an insight into what they can expect when cinema returns to the Kingdom later this year.
The 12th European Film Festival has been organized by the embassies and consulates of Belgium, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, Hungary and Norway, with support from the European Union delegation in Saudi Arabia.
The festival’s first screening took place on Feb. 17 at the German residence, with the film “My Blind Date with Life.”
On Feb. 18, the Italian consulate showed the film “Fire at Sea,” a 2016 documentary film directed by Gianfranco Rosi and winner of the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
Elisabetta Martini, consulate general of Italy, said the movie highlighted “a tragedy that is happening all around the world; the tragedy of the refugees and immigrants is something that is affecting all our lives and also leaving an impact on the artistic environment.”
She praised Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen its cinemas: “We consider Saudi Arabia as part of our broader Mediterranean region that shares the problems and the opportunities we have.”

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

Updated 26 May 2019

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.