Hundreds throng mosques in KSA for free iftar meal

In this file photo, Saudis and residences break their fast at a mass free table donated to the poor marking the Muslim month of Ramadan in front of Hasan Anani Mosque in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Updated 20 May 2018
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Hundreds throng mosques in KSA for free iftar meal

  • Most of the arrangements for the free iftar meal are supported by charities, voluntary organizations and philanthropists.
  • Most of the people who come to the tents for the free iftar are Muslim expatriates.

RIYADH: As the sun sets every evening during Ramadan, hundreds of people throng mosques that offer a free iftar meal.

The iftar box comprises dates, laban, juices, fruits and dishes such as the traditional Saudi kabsa. Some mosques also serve full meals with barbecue, cooked chicken or meat mixed with vegetables, and sweets or fruits, for the worshippers after the evening prayer following the iftar meal.

Mohammad Sharif, a Bangladesh worker in the queue at the Askan Building mosque, said: “We come to take this free iftar meal because it helps us to save time and money, which we would have spent on buying from the restaurants, thus adding to the savings to send to the family ahead of Eid Al-Fitr.

 

Companionship

“Returning from work, we are short of time to prepare iftar ourselves. As many of us receive a low salary, it is one of the reasons for coming to the free iftar meal tents.”

Abdullah, an Ethiopian, echoed this sentiment. “Finishing work and returning to accommodation in the evening leaves us with no time to prepare iftar, so it is easier to go to the nearby mosque tent for a free iftar meal as well as pray with the congregation in the mosque before going home.”

Naved, a Pakistani worker at a city mosque, said: “I usually come to the tent not only to break my fast but also to get a sense of companionship with others present at the iftar, thus to have the feeling of an extended family away from home.”

Besides distribution of the free iftar box, some of the mosques also make arrangements for community iftar, with hundreds of people turning up.

Most of the people who come to the tents for the free iftar are Muslim expatriates, mainly from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, India, Afghanistan and African countries.

There are a few Saudis, including those who come to distribute the free iftar meal or the ones who supervise the distribution at various mosques.

 

Distribution

Most of the arrangements for the free iftar meal are supported by charities, voluntary organizations and philanthropists, said Ahmed, a Saudi supervising food distribution at a mosque in the Badiyah area in South Riyadh.

He said that the tents are supervised closely to avoid misuse of charity money given for this purpose.

Osama Khan, a Pakistani national living in the Suwaidi-Badiyah area of the capital who has volunteered to distribute free iftar meals at the mosques for some years, told Arab News: “It gives me immense pleasure being involved in this generous charity during the holy month.”

“We should share what we have with those who are less privileged,” he said.


Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

Updated 20 June 2018
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Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

  • The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.
  • Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels.

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition officials on Tuesday displayed weapons and explosives supplied by Iran to Houthi militias in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. 

The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.

Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels. The weapons were captured on the battlefield in Hodeidah and displayed at a military base in the UAE. 

“Unsurprisingly, there are advanced military components in the Houthi militias’ hands,” said Talal Al-Teneiji, an official at the UAE Foreign Ministry.

“We took time to inspect and disassemble these to figure out the source ... and we can say that these elements are military-grade materials imported from Iran to the Houthi militias.”

As the week-long offensive in Hodeidah intensified on Tuesday, coalition forces consolidated their grip on the city’s airport and there was new fighting on the main coast road leading to the city center, with Apache helicopters providing air support to the coalition. 

“We can hear the sounds of artillery, mortars and sporadic machinegun fire. The Houthis have been using tanks,” one civilian on the coastal strip said. 

“Water has been cut off to many of the areas near the corniche area because the Houthis have dug trenches and closed water pipes.”

At the airport, which the coalition has controlled since Saturday, their forces stormed the main compound and took full command.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said: “We are waiting for the Houthis to realize the sort of military and psychological blow that they got with the airport ... we are giving them time to decide if they want to save the city ... and pull out.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a strategic communications adviser, told Arab News that “without the sea and airport of Hodeidah, the Houthi militia has effectively lost the war.”

They should agree to UN-hosted peace talks and not prolong the fighting. “The tide in this conflict has clearly turned in favor of the Arab coalition and the welfare of the Yemeni people ought to be paramount,” he said.