Two Holy Mosques chief honored in event marking end of Hajj season

The Chief of the General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, at the event. (SPA)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Two Holy Mosques chief honored in event marking end of Hajj season

JEDDAH: The Chief of the General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, was honored during an event to mark the occasion of the end of his Hajj season.

Al-Sudais praised all the efforts that contributed to the success of the Hajj season, lauding the officials who did their best to take care of the pilgrims and their needs during their stay in the holy cities. 

He praised King Salman and the crown prince for their support. He also thanked the security officers for their efforts, which reflect the bright image of the sons of the soil. 

He especially expressed his appreciation to the media for highlighting the efforts exerted to serve the Two Holy Mosques.

Speaking at the event, Brig. Abdullah bin Eid Al-Qurashi, director general of Civil Defense, applauded the role played by various institutions for serving the guests of God during this Hajj.

On Sunday, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, said during a meeting with the heads of consular missions in Jeddah that Saudi Arabia would do its utmost to serve pilgrims. The government would ensure they enjoy more comfortable and easier Hajj and Umrah trips, he said.

He said King Salman has established the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Places, chaired by the crown prince, to facilitate Hajj and Umrah procedures and develop the holy places.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 28 min 25 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.