Enhanced Arab News Hajj app launched in partnership with Muslim World League

The free app — available to download on iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play — includes new and improved features. (AN Photo)
Updated 09 August 2018

Enhanced Arab News Hajj app launched in partnership with Muslim World League

  • Enhanced features to serve pilgrims and keep them connected to loved ones
  • Smartphone app complements newspaper’s annual Hajj news coverage

RIYADH: Arab News has launched the 2018 version of its smartphone Hajj app for use this month during the annual Muslim pilgrimage season.

The free app — available to download from Thursday for iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play — has new and enhanced features, including live news updates and the signature “Hajj tracker,” which enables pilgrims to connect with their loved ones back home. 

The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) will again be sponsoring the Hajj app. The partnership with MWL, which began last year, is part of the international Muslim body’s global outreach efforts to serve all Muslims.

The latest release of the app features several functions for use during the Hajj season, including safety features such as an emergency call number and list of embassies and important service providers during Hajj. 

New features include a digital Qibla compass, a real-time currency converter and Qur’an prayer audio files. 

The app also features improvements to the hugely useful “pilgrim tracker” function. The feature, which is optional, allows users who activate it to share their location and follow loved ones in real time, around the clock.

Mohammed Al-Sulami, Arab News Jeddah bureau chief and head of the paper’s Hajj coverage team, thanked MWL for its endorsement of the app and said the aim of this corporate social responsibility initiative was to provide a useful and free service for pilgrims on their unique spiritual journey. 

“Our mission is to make Arab News more global and more digital, and the Hajj App — thanks to the generous support from the MWL — does just that by providing a live news service and helpful, easy-to-use functions that every pilgrim can benefit from during Hajj,” he said.

The Muslim World League commended the newspaper’s initiative of deploying technology in such an innovative and useful way for the public good. 

“We are happy to renew our partnership with Arab News and our support of this app, which reinforces our position as an umbrella body seeking to serve Muslims worldwide,” the MWL said.

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It has been the English newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the region for over 40 years.

More details about the app can be found at www.arabnews.com/Hajjapp

It can be downloaded via:

Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/Hajj-app-by-arab-news/id1271217604?mt=8

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.srpc.arabnews_Hajjguide&hl=en

Iran state TV’s English channel says anchorwoman held in US

Updated 16 January 2019

Iran state TV’s English channel says anchorwoman held in US

  • The reported detention of Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties

TEHRAN: A prominent American anchorwoman on Iranian state television’s English-language service has been arrested after flying into the US, the broadcaster reported Wednesday. US law enforcement agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The reported detention of Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties, previously used as bargaining chips in negotiations with world powers.
Iran’s state broadcaster held a news conference and launched a hashtag campaign for Hashemi, using the same techniques families with loved ones held in the Islamic Republic use to highlight their cases.
“We will not spare any legal action” to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran’s state IRIB broadcaster.
Press TV said Hashemi, who has worked at the state broadcaster service for 25 years, had been arrested after arriving at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday. Jebeli alleged that her son, Reza Hashemi, had been arrested as well.
Jeff Lea, a spokesman for St. Louis Lambert International Airport, didn’t immediately return phone or email messages from The Associated Press. Rebecca Wu, St. Louis’ FBI spokeswoman, directed questions to the press office at FBI headquarters.
A call to FBI headquarters rang unanswered early Wednesday morning. The bureau also did not immediately respond to a written request for comment. Several local jails around Washington that house federal inmates also said they did not have her in custody.
Last week, Iran confirmed it is holding US Navy veteran Michael R. White at a prison in the country, making him the first American known to be detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state TV that Hashemi’s arrest indicates the “apartheid and racist policy” of the Trump administration.
“We hope that the innocent person will be released without any condition,” Ghasemi said.
There are four other known American citizens being held in Iran, including Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his 82-year-old father Baquer, both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges. Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, received 27-year and 16-year prison sentences respectively. Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 year in prison.
Also in an Iranian prison is Nizar Zakka, a US permanent resident from Lebanon who advocated for Internet freedom and has done work for the US government. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage-related charges.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission, remains missing as well. Iran says that Levinson is not in the country and that it has no further information about him, though his family holds Tehran responsible for his disappearance. Tehran now says it has no information about him.