Two senior ministers join Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims

Faizer Mackeen
Updated 30 August 2016
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Two senior ministers join Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims

RIYADH: Two senior ministers from Colombo will join Sri Lankan pilgrims during this Haj, the island’s consul general, Faizer Mackeen, told Arab News on Monday.
The VIP delegation will include Mohamed Hashim Abdul Haleem, Muslim religious affairs and posts; State Minister Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie; and legislator Mujibur Rahman.
Of the 2,240, the diplomat said, half of the Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims have arrived already in the holy cities.
The island’s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and other carriers, are ferrying the pilgrims from Colombo.
During the arrival of the first group of pilgrims, Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, Consul General Faizer Mackeen and senior diplomats welcomed the pilgrims.
“This year, we had a limited quota because of the ongoing development works in Makkah,” Mackeen noted. The consulate has deployed a team at the Haj terminal of the Jeddah airport to welcome Sri Lankan pilgrims, he added. The officials offer refreshments to pilgrims on arrival, and attend to their needs until they leave for the holy cities.
Four teams have been formed in Makkah, Jeddah, Mina and Madinah to assist the pilgrims. In addition to the mission’s staff, the diplomat said that he had solicited the cooperation of volunteers, who will help the pilgrims in Makkah, Madinah and at the Haj terminal. “A medical team has also arrived with the pilgrims to look after their health needs.”
“The Saudi government, in cooperation with Colombo, has introduced new software to the system to streamline all Lankan Haj activities,” he said, adding that pilgrims’ movements will be monitored and the travel agents held responsible if anything untoward happens to the pilgrims.
He pointed out that due to the limited number this year, the first timers were given preference in the pilgrim selection process, and the government has stipulated the minimum cost for each pilgrim, which should include airfare, accommodations and internal travel. Travel operators who try to exploit the pilgrims will be severely dealt with by the government in Colombo.


Saudi Movie ‘Joud’ to screen at Ithra during National Day celebrations

The film’s producer, and program director of the center, Abdullah Al-Ayaf, said that “Joud” sets a cinematic precedent for the Kingdom. (Social media)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Saudi Movie ‘Joud’ to screen at Ithra during National Day celebrations

  • Scenes filmed in various parts of the Kingdom are accompanied by a lively musical soundtrack, taking viewers on a journey of discovery of the Saudi lifestyle.

JEDDAH: The Saudi film “Joud,” produced by the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), which is now screening in local and international cinemas in the Kingdom, will also be shown at Ithra’s own cinema from September 20 to 23, 2018, as part of the center’s National Day events.

The film, which dispenses with dialogue to make it more accessible to a global audience, features visuals inspired by classical Arabic poems that reflect the natural heritage and diversity of Saudi Arabia, the discovery of oil and the resultant social change. Scenes filmed in various parts of the Kingdom are accompanied by a lively musical soundtrack, taking viewers on a journey of discovery of the Saudi lifestyle.

The film’s producer, and program director of the center, Abdullah Al-Ayaf, said that “Joud” sets a cinematic precedent for the Kingdom, “and we believe that its uniqueness opens the door to discovering more stories preserved in the hearts of our people and our land.”

He added that Ithra was keen for Saudi filmmakers to work alongside an international crew during production of the film. For example, assistant director Osama Al-Kharji directed scenes set in Makkah, with director of photography Abdullah Al-Shuraidah and cameraman Fahad al-Dajani, while Hussam Al-Hilweh helped to write the script. Composer Diaa Azouni contributed to the soundtrack, and co-director Osamah Saleh was responsible for behind-the-scenes photography for almost a year.

Andrew Lancaster, the film’s director, said that “Joud” “shows how music and natural landscape play a big role in communicating the soul of the movie.” He added that it "talks about a deep experience through culture, music and natural landscape. It was a great adventure for me to transfer this to the screen.”

Ithra, in Dhahran, aims to set new standards for excellence in the Saudi film industry, and create innovative projects through its relationships with partners and visitors by stimulating the sustainability of creative and cultural communities. Through its diverse programs, the center helps to develop new ways to foster creativity, supporting and promoting national talent by providing an environment for the production and exchange of knowledge, in a manner that respects diversity and promotes different concepts in science and the arts.