‘Muslims must pool talent for Ummah’

Updated 13 November 2014
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‘Muslims must pool talent for Ummah’

Former Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientist and Madinah expansion project consultant Abdul Salam emphasized on the need for centers of national excellence in Muslim countries.
He said that these centers of excellence would cater to the development of huge human resources and convert them into a diverse talent pool serving the purposes of the Ummah at large.
He hailed the ongoing works of the Knowledge Economic City in Madinah saying that such enormous projects are the need of the hour and will serve as a gateway to the age of enlightenment and prosperity.
The Indian scientist turned educationist, is also the CEO of Markaz Knowledge City, the biggest education-focused integrated city in south India near Calicut in Kerala.
He asserted that during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the holy city not only had economic activities, but also imparted education.
“The Knowledge City aims to serve the Kingdom’s economic diversification by reviving Madinah’s role as a center of Islamic knowledge and the hub of cumulative global knowledge as well as a cultural center,” Salam said.


Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

Bikers Skills Institute began training female riders as soon as the driving ban was lifted. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
Updated 1 min 6 sec ago
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Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

  • Saudi Arabia’s female motorcyclists await clarification on licenses

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.”