National cohesion meetings to be held across all KSA regions

Updated 20 July 2016

National cohesion meetings to be held across all KSA regions

RIYADH: The board of trustees of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue met in Riyadh to adopt and plan for current and future programs in line with the center’s strategy, which were approved during the previous meeting based on a 10-year review of the center’s past performance and programming.

Approved projects for the coming period focus on supporting intellectual security and enhancing national cohesion and unity. A national meeting, in coordination with governmental and private institutions, aims to instil and expand values of social coexistence, with scholars, intellects, and journalists all participating to enhance integration, cooperation, and concepts of tolerance and moderation.
The council also approved the establishment of a national program covering all regions in the Kingdom, in coordination with the private and governmental organizations, titled “Cohesion.” The program involves one-week meetings in each region that include numerous activities and programs that aim to mobilize support for national security and foster intellectual cooperation and moderation to minimize extremism and intolerance. The meetings will also rely on the participation of top scholars, intellectuals, and young men and women.
The council approved a monthly dialogue meeting to be held at the center’s headquarters about issues related to enhancing national unity and social responsibility.
Such programs are based on the objectives of the center, both currently and in the future, to minimize the spread of extremist and social intolerance, sectarianism, and lack of coexistence by communicating counter-ideals through various channels. The programs are also in line with Vision 2030, as they will help enhance development and modernization in the Kingdom, while strengthening bonds, national unity, and social cohesion.
During the meeting, members also reviewed accomplishments with regards to developing the the national public polling center, which will be implemented in coordination with official and private agencies in order for results to be beneficial in decision-making processes.
The secretary-general of the center, Dr. Faisal bin Muammar, said the projects and programs represent the center’s overall strategy for the next five years, as well as its top priority to focus on promoting community participation in the fight against extremism and intolerance. The aim of such programs is to encourage members of society to carry out religious and social responsibilities and contribute to promoting moderation in order to combat racism and hatred.

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.