Have faith and drive, women told

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The venue of the workshop on driving for women jointly organized by the government and civic groups outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)  
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The venue of the workshop on driving for women jointly organized by the government and civic groups outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)  
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Driving signs displayed at the venue of the workshop on driving for women jointly organized by the government and civic groups outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)  
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Driving signs displayed during the workshop on driving for women jointly organized by the government and civic groups outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)  
Updated 24 June 2018
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Have faith and drive, women told

  • Government agencies and private groups organize event to encourage women in Saudi Arabia to drive.
  • The program, held outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall, was divided into five sections: Safety, mechanics, knowing how to drive using driving simulators, parking techniques, and carting.  

JEDDAH: June 24 is a red-letter day for Saudi Arabia and its womenfolk. The lifting of a ban on women driving is yet another milestone on the road to female empowerment. 

In a bid to encourage women to hit the roads, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Department of Traffic, Saudi Aramco, Dallah Albaraka, and Al-Hokair Group, organized a program titled “Tawakkali wa Intaliqi (Have faith and drive) from June 21 to 23 in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Tabuk. 

The aim of the event was to educate participants about traffic rules and safety measures. 

The program, held outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall, was divided into five sections: Safety, mechanics, knowing how to drive using driving simulators, parking techniques, and carting.  

Wissam Chehade, the event organizer, said: “This program is really important. Our message is for females as it is their first time to drive and we are here to teach them the ABCs of driving.” 

He said sometimes knowing the basics is more important than driving itself as it makes things easier at a later stage.

“It took a long time to prepare the program, studying how it can have an impact on people. We are covering topics from mechanics to safety, using special simulators, and the basics of knowing how to park a car,” Chehade said.

He said that the program was created to encourage women to learn how to drive. 

“We created it for women who think they might not be able to drive or obtain a license, who are questioning if they are ready to go take the required course — wondering if it is the right time. 

“We are here to show them that it is not that difficult, it is something everybody can do and the basics are not that difficult. We are here to give them a real-life driving experience,” Chehade added.

Rahaf Aseeri, a participant, said: “It was a lovely experience. I learned how to use the brakes and other things. I learned things I never knew before. It was a great event and I benefited a lot from it.” 

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First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019
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First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.