Egypt’s grand mufti lauds Saudi Arabia’s services to Muslims

The shaikh of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, receives Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh and the accompanying delegation in Cairo on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Egypt’s grand mufti lauds Saudi Arabia’s services to Muslims

  • The mufti said that Egypt and Saudi Arabia would continue to work together to maintain stability in the Middle East.

JEDDAH: Dr. Shawki Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, received the Saudi minister of Islamic affairs, Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh.

Allam hailed the Kingdom’s participation in the 29th International Conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, which was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowments) and ended on Sunday.

He praised the Kingdom, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for serving Muslims around the world. He said that Egypt and Saudi Arabia would continue to work together to maintain stability in the Middle East.

Allam also highlighted Saudi Arabia’s supervision of the Hajj and said the country’s organization of the pilgrimage was “getting better and better” every year.

Al-Asheikh said he was delighted to meet Allam. The Saudi minister highlighted the strong relations between the two countries. He said that the Kingdom was steadily moving forward through its program of reforms.

The meeting was also attended by deputy minister of Islamic affairs, Dr. Yousef bin Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz bin Saeed; Undersecretary of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Samil; the director of religious affiliations at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulwahid Al-Arifi; adviser to the grand mufti of Egypt, Dr. Magdy Ashour; the fatwa secretary of Dar al-Ifta, Dr. Ahmed Mamdouh; and Dr. Mustafa Thabet, who is in charge of blasphemy refutation.

Festival

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s first festival will start on Feb. 5 in Cairo and allow Muslims around the world to become closer, the body’s secretary-general said on Monday.

Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen said the aim of the festival was to bring people from member and non-member states together so they could engage with each other intellectually, politically and socially, as well as share stories about their traditions. The festival aims to promote solidarity on the basis of a shared religion, he said, and position the OIC as the world’s second-biggest international humanitarian organization after the UN.

The regular event would also highlight the economic opportunities, humanitarian work, and political development successes in member states, in addition to reviewing the situation of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries. The Cairo festival will feature crafts, traditional costume, fine arts, seminars, poetry sessions, guided tours and even a marathon. It ends Feb. 9.


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 10 min 47 sec ago
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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.