Saudi Arabia’s crown prince orders restoration and renovation of 130 historical mosques

Saudi Arabia's crown prince calls for the rehabilitation and restoration of 130 historic mosques in the Kingdom under the "Mohammed Bin Salman Project for Developing Historical Mosques"
Updated 12 November 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince orders restoration and renovation of 130 historical mosques

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the restoration of 130 historical mosques within the National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques supervised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) in partnership with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.
The support he provided to develop historical mosques covered in the first phase the restoration of 30 mosques in 10 regions, at a cost of more than SR50 million ($13 million).
The National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques is one of the programs adopted by Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of SCTH and founder of Al-Turath Charitable Foundation, as part of his concern to take care of and serve mosques and the Islamic architectural heritage. The foundation has undertaken to document and restore a number of mosques of historical value since its launching of the program in 1998.
The program has received the support of the country’s leaders, businessmen benefactors and the regions’ governors. King Salman sponsored the launching of the program to restore and renovate historical mosques in Ad Diriyah and Jeddah, and donated the renovation costs of Al-Hanafi mosque in Jeddah.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s support for the historical mosques comes from his belief in their importance in the Islamic religion and architectural heritage along with the historical, social and cultural richness they represent.
The crown prince’s support is considered the most generous in the Kingdom’s history, given the number of mosques and the overall cost since the launching of the program 20 years ago. The support is in coordination and partnership with SCTNH’s National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques, which was launched by the Al-Turath Charitable Foundation before it became a joint program with the SCTH and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, three years ago.
The crown prince’s project for the development of historical mosques will reinforce concern to develop the Kingdom’s historical and heritage regions and restore the mosques to receive worshippers again after they have been abandoned in previous years. The Kingdom has witnessed a rapid architectural growth and thus has neglected most of the old and historical mosques and destroyed some others, which are bein replaced by new mosques. The program will take care of these neglected mosques.
Work teams have started formulating the project action plan under the directions of the crown prince. The first phase covers 30 mosques that will be restored: Each mosque will be ready to receive more than 4,000 worshippers.
The crown prince’s support for this program is among many other contributions to societal and human projects, including the SR100 million donation for charitable associations and his support for the release of prisoners with SR19 million.


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.