Grand Mufti denounces violence against embassies

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Updated 05 October 2012
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Grand Mufti denounces violence against embassies

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, yesterday denounced attacks on diplomats and embassies as un-Islamic after deadly protests against a US-made anti-Islam film swept the Middle East.
At the same time, he called on the international community to take steps to criminalize any act of abusing great prophets and messengers such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them).
In a statement issued yesterday, Al-Asheikh also appealed to world Muslims to react to any attempt to denigrate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by strictly adhering to the values advocated by the Prophet (pbuh) instead of unleashing violence against innocent people, the SPA reported.
“Condemnation of the attempts to abuse the Prophet (pbuh) should be within the Law of Allah and Sunnah of the Prophet. The Muslims should not shed the blood of innocent people, or vandalize properties or of public institutions,” the Grand Mufti said.
The mufti said the hatred of Islam through such movies would not harm the great personality of the Prophet (pbuh) or any aspect of Islam but would only backfire on the people who spread venomous ideas.
"Such animosity only helps in spreading the glory of the Prophet (pbuh) with greater vigor,” he said.
The mufti also warned that the enemies of the Prophet (pbuh) and Muslims achieve their goals when Muslims resort to violence. “Muslim rage is playing into the hands of their enemies when Muslims attack innocent people and set fire to public or private institutions. Such acts, in fact, damage the image of Islam, a situation the enemies of Islam seeks to create. Such acts go against the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) and are deplorable,” the mufti said, while reminding the faithful that all Muslims are willing to sacrifice their lives and properties for the cause of their dear Prophet (pbuh).
“The goal of those who abuse Islam and Muslims is to divert the energy of Muslims from building their nations and efforts for unity and development,” the mufti warned.
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday reiterated the Kingdom’s strong disapproval of the film and also stressed the principles of interfaith dialogue in a telephone talk with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The prince condemned the attack on the US diplomatic missions.
Meanwhile, the Taleban claimed responsibility for an attack on a base that killed two American Marines, saying it was a response to the film.
Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets of Sydney, some throwing rocks and bottles in clashes with police.
Police stormed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square and rounded up hundreds of people early yesterday after four days of clashes and demands from protesters for the US ambassador’s expulsion.
Libyan authorities said they had identified 50 people who were involved in the attack in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens died.

 


Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

Updated 8 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

  • Saudi Arabia’s female motorcyclists await clarification on licenses
  • The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women

JEDDAH: Almost seven months since Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on female drivers, women hoping to be granted a license to ride a motorcycle are still waiting. According to Wael Huraib, founder of Bikers Skills Institute (BSI) — which he claims is the only motorcycle training school for female riders in the Kingdom — no motorbike licenses are currently being issued for women.
“For ladies, as of now, they’re not able to get a license yet, and we don’t really know why,” said Huraib. “We heard that women have received tractor-trailer licenses, but we know for a fact that no motorcycle license applications are being processed. We are assuming the traffic police are very focused on cars, but whatever the problem is, we hope it is resolved soon.”
The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women. But it appears that is not yet the case, despite assurances from the Saudi Directorate of Traffic a year ago that women would be permitted to drive motorcycles and trucks.

Elena Bukaryeva, an instructor at BSI, said she suspects there is some confusion or miscommunication between the traffic police administration and the licensing division.
“My husband spoke to one of the highest-ranking traffic police officials in Riyadh,” she told Arab News. “He said that there was nothing at all to stop women being issued motorcycle licenses.
“But the following day, one of the ladies who finished our course went to the traffic police and she was told there are no motorcycle licenses for women, only for men. The same thing happened when I applied for my license and when other women did.”
The General Directorate of Traffic did not respond to Arab News’ request for comment.
Bukaryeva said that she has heard of women with licenses issued abroad riding motorcycles in the Kingdom, although added that they are “semi-disguised as men” when doing so.
“When you are wearing loose clothing and a full-face helmet, no one can tell if you are a man or a woman,” she said, adding that she has not tried it herself as her husband told her it was not worth the risk.
BSI began training female riders as soon as the driving ban was lifted.
The company has graduated 18 women so far, including Reem Al-Megbel, a 30-year-old Saudi financial operations manager.
Al-Megbel was at the motorcycle school on Wednesday evening to practice riding, because she cannot, yet, do so on the roads.
“My dream is to wake up one day and have a car and a motorcycle in my garage and be free to choose what to drive,” she said. “It would probably be the motorcycle.”
Al-Megbel added that her “ultimate” dream, though, would be to take a road trip across the Kingdom with a group of fellow female bikers.
“That,” she said, “would be freedom.”