Pilgrims stay on after Hajj to visit historical monuments, museums

Hajj over, the pilgrims take out time to visit some of the historical landmarks in Madinah on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Pilgrims stay on after Hajj to visit historical monuments, museums

  • There are dozens of important historic sites that should be visited to fully appreciate Makkah’s cultural value
  • Makkah’s and Madinah’s rich histories and cultural treasures deserve to be promoted by tourist developments of the highest quality, says researcher

MAKKAH: Many pilgrims who are still in the Kingdom after the completion of Hajj are reportedly taking the opportunity to visit sites of historical interest in the two Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. 

Dr. Fawaz Al-Dahas, director of the Center for the History of Makkah said that such visits are of cultural significance as they enrich pilgrims’ knowledge. He stressed the need to preserve Makkah’s rich historical value, adding that tourism companies had to share that responsibility. 

Researcher Saad Al-Joudi said many people — particularly researchers and students — are very interested in the history of Makkah, which is regarded as the heart of the Islamic world and visited by millions of pilgrims every year during Hajj season.

Al-Joudi noted that there are dozens of important historic sites that should be visited to fully appreciate Makkah’s cultural value, and that the companies which organize tours of such sites do so in several languages, including English, French and Urdu. 

He explained the need to keep up with the expected increase in pilgrim numbers — predicted to reach 30 million by 2030 — and stressed the importance of giving these pilgrims the opportunity to learn about Makkah’s cultural heritage. 

 

Rich history

Al-Joudi said Makkah’s and Madinah’s rich histories and cultural treasures deserve to be promoted by tourist developments of the highest quality, stressing that such developments would also create new job opportunities for history and language teachers. 

Al-Joudi suggested that all locations related to the Prophet’s life should be identified, preserved and developed, citing Makkah’s mountains, entry points used by Prophet Muhammad, as well as souks, libraries, and mosques as examples of sites that would be of interest to visitors.

Madinah, too, is home to several religious monuments and historic locations that are much-visited, especially during Hajj season, including Uhud Martyrs Square, which commemorates the Battle of Uhud in the third Hijri year. Seventy of the Prophet’s companions killed during the battle are buried there.

The square and its surroundings have undergone many improvements in recent years, the latest one being the development of Sayed Al-Shuhada Square which houses the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque, inaugurated last year and can accommodate 15,000 worshippers. It is the second-biggest mosque in Madinah after the Prophet’s Mosque. 

The Mosques of Al-Jumaa, Quba, Al-Qiblatain, Al-Ijabah, Al-Ghamama, and Sayed Al-Shuhada are, according to the Saudi Press Agency, the most-visited religious landmarks in Madinah.


US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the US. (SPA)
Updated 20 September 2018
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US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

  • The US State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member in the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
“Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the United States and has supported the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” the State Department noted in its annual report on the global state of terrorism. It also highlighted the joint strategic vision between the two countries and a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the financing of terrorism launched last year during US president Donald-Trump’s visit to the Kingdom.
The report said Saudi Arabia has implemented systems to follow UN Security Council sanctions on groups and individuals linked to Daesh and Al Qaeda, and has expanded existing counterterrorism programs and projects to rehabilitate terrorist fighters who leave extremist groups. It has also adopted laws to counter the financing of terrorist groups.
The State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations, and has carried out a number of arrests and disrupted active terrorist cells throughout the country.
The report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, noting the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security, as well as the country’s positive contribution as a member of the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa, a regional body that imposes financial sanctions on individuals and groups that help to fund terrorism.
"The Kingdom has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism," the report said.
It also pointed out that the Kingdom provided 100 million euros ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa, as the Kingdom is a founding member of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.