‘Spy cell’ in Saudi Arabia sought foreign financing

Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of the State Security arrested seven people for suspicious communication with foreign entities and actions against the state.

 (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 20 May 2018
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‘Spy cell’ in Saudi Arabia sought foreign financing

RIYADH: Members of a “spy cell,” arrested by Saudi Arabia’s state security presidency two days ago, sought to “incite strife by communicating with foreign entities hostile to the Kingdom and to establish a false legal organization, according to information received by Asharq Al-Awsat from informed sources.
The sources said most of the cell’s suspects claim to have religious obligations and were using human rights as a pretext to violate the country’s systems. One of the arrested suspects had volunteered to defend people who tried to produce chaos and incite strife inside the Kingdom, according to the sources.
Another member of the cell had contacted a foreign entity “hostile to Saudi Arabia, to receive financial support in exchange for continuing to incite trouble.”
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas, member of Shoura Committee Council on Foreign Affairs, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the Kingdom is capable of overcoming many security challenges due to the vigilance of its security apparatus.
For his part, Dr. Yusuf Al-Rumaih, professor of criminology at Al-Qassim University told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Saudi Arabia is a state built on the foundations of justice and it enshrines the principal of equality for all before the law.”
Earlier, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the security spokesman of the Presidency of State Security as saying that seven people have been arrested for suspicious communication with foreign entities and actions against the state.


It said authorities detected coordinated activities by a group of people, who carried out organized work to violate the religious and national principles of the Kingdom.
“They also had communications with foreign entities to support their activities and sought to recruit persons working in sensitive government posts as well as providing financial support to hostile elements abroad with the objective of undermining the Kingdom’s security and stability, its social peace and national cohesion,” the spokesperson added.

By: Asharq Alawsat - http://ow.ly/hMpy30k5M9n


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.