Saudi Arabia issues more than 7.65m visas for Umrah pilgrims

504,809 pilgrims still in the Kingdom. (SPA)
Updated 14 June 2019
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Saudi Arabia issues more than 7.65m visas for Umrah pilgrims

  • 278,368 of the remaining pilgrims are in Makkah and 226,441 are in Madinah

RIYADH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 7,650,736, of which 7,393,657 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj Ministry.

There are 504,809 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 278,368 in Makkah and 226,441 in Madinah, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Most pilgrims — 6,550,520 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 707,955 entered by land and 135,182 arrived by sea.

The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (1,657,777) followed by Indonesia (967,125), India (650,480), Egypt (539,045), Algeria (365,628), Yemen (338,618), Turkey (321,494), Malaysia (278,674), Iraq (277,571) and Jordan (216,165).

The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 10,945 Saudis including 9,065 males and 1,880 females.

Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.

Earlier, Hajj  Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin said: “The ministry aspires to develop Hajj and Umrah companies and provide a model for distinguished companies that not only seek to make a profit, but also compete with similar international services in the hospitality sector and enrich the pilgrims’ experience. The ministry is fully prepared to develop and support such a model.”

Over the next two years, Bentin said the ministry would like to see Umrah companies elevate the sector to unprecedented levels by raising the quality of the services they offered, especially in housing, transport and visits to historical sites.


Muslim World League chief honored for strengthening ties between Islamic world, Russia

Updated 24 July 2019
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Muslim World League chief honored for strengthening ties between Islamic world, Russia

 

MOSCOW: The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences has awarded the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, an honorary doctorate in recognition of his efforts to strengthen the relationship between the Islamic world and Russia.

Prof. Vitaly Naumkin, the director of the institute, who represents one of the most well-known academic institutions in the world over the past 200 years, talked about Al-Issa’s career, noting that he has contributed to the promotion of cultural rapprochement among nations through his visits to countries and his connections with different cultures and religions.

Naumkin said that the principles of moderation adopted by the MWL and its secretary-general contributed to the establishment of security in the world, noting that these principles addressed extremism and violence.

The honorary doctorate was given to Al-Issa for his services in the development of Islamic jurisprudence and improving official and popular relations between Russia and the Islamic world, he said.

The MWL secretary-general said that he was proud to receive the honorary doctorate from an institute that is well-known for its dedication and neutrality.

He also praised the Russian Federation’s care for Arab and Islamic culture and its keenness to communicate with the Muslim world, learn its language and understand its culture.

Al-Issa considered the award to be motivation to work on promoting cultural communication and exchange between the Islamic world and Russia.

He said that the institute has contributed to changing the stereotype of Orientalism in the Muslim world and has encouraged cultural communication between nations and peoples.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Russian presidency, the Duma and the Senate, as well as high-ranking diplomats, senior academics of Orientalism, religious leaders and a group of researchers and students.