Former Grand Mosque imam denounces Paris attacks

Updated 13 January 2015
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Former Grand Mosque imam denounces Paris attacks

Sheikh Adel Al-Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, has denounced the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
The denouncement came in the form of tweets from his Twitter account. “The Paris incidents show that what Islam has done in years through Muslim preachers has been destroyed in moments,” he said. “It’s the handiwork of a few ignorant people and what they have done amounts to treason.”
Al-Kalbani has always been critical of erring Muslims, whether in the Kingdom or abroad. He was the imam of King Khaled Mosque in the capital for around 25 years.
Toward the end of 2008, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah appointed him as a Grand Mosque imam to lead Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan. He is now the imam of Al-Muhaisen Mosque in northeast of the capital.
Paris terrorist attacks have deeply shocked the Saudis and a look of sadness was easily seen on their faces, not only because these brutal acts are denounced by Islam but also because very often the price for such inhuman acts is paid by innocent Muslims living in the West.
Amid the gloom, there were some heartwarming events — like when a French Interior Ministry tweet quoted President Francios Hollande as saying in his TV address on Jan. 9 that those who committed these acts have nothing to do with Islam and when a quick-thinking young Muslim employee, an immigrant from Mali, named Lassana Bathily, hid several French Jewish shoppers in the basement of a kosher supermarket in Paris, before sneaking out to brief police on the hostage taker upstairs, the action that resulted in saving their lives.
In addition to the Al-Kalbani denouncement, many imams in different parts of the Kingdom have denounced the terror attacks in Paris, according to local Arabic press. However, they did not agree with what the French newspaper did — ridiculing Muslims and insulting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) — in its pages.


Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 37 min 58 sec ago
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Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

  • From the age of three, Hisham Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art

JEDDAH: When it comes to royal connections, Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi can truly claim to have made it an
art form.

During a lifetime at the easel, the unassuming Jeddah-based artist’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings.

And it all began at the age of just 14, when Binjabi painted a portrait of King Faisal and ended up presenting it in person to the late king of Saudi Arabia.

Further commissions were to follow, which resulted in Binjabi producing works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too.

Today he owns two galleries in Jeddah from where he exhibits artwork and sculptures from around the world. 

Binjabi revealed his incredible story to Arab News while at work painting on canvas at a recent Jeddah book fair.

Hisham Binjabi made works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too. (Photos/Supplied)

From the age of three, when he painted the walls of his family home in black, Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art. His talent was recognized at school where he was known as the “boy who paints,” and although he chose to major in science, a teacher spotted his artistic skills and taught him the basics of mixing colors.

Binjabi said: “After that I started to practice, and whenever I didn’t need to attend a class, I would escape to the painting room. As I became stronger with the use of colors, my teacher suggested I pick a subject to paint and I chose to do a portrait of King Faisal.”

After framing his picture, Binjabi was spotted carrying his creation down the street by the then-minister of education, who was so taken by it that he invited the teenager to present it to King Faisal himself. 

On the right track

The young artist continued to paint in his home and later studied English literature at King Abdul Aziz University, where again his talents were spotted. 

The dean of the university asked him to produce a painting to display in a tent, and this time the subject was to be camels.

During a visit to the campus, the then-King Khaled saw the painting and asked to meet the artist. “Before I knew it, I was standing in front of King Khaled,” said Binjabi. 

“The king asked me why I had painted camels, and I told him that camels were the friends of Bedouin people.”

The king invited Binjabi to go to Riyadh and attend the first ever Janadriyah Festival, and from then on his works became highly prized by royalty. The then-Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz asked him to produce a painting of his guests, a French prince and Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, watching camels through binoculars. 

As a result, Binjabi was invited to stay at Sheikh Zayed’s palace in Abu Dhabi, where he spent four months painting a family portrait for the leader.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was to be another of Binjabi’s distinguished clients, and even while studying for a Master’s degree in Lebanon, he painted for the king of Lebanon.

He said: “It did get overwhelming. I never asked to be associated with royalty, it just happened. Something in my heart kept pushing me along and telling me I was on the right track.”

Today he still represents the Kingdom in many different countries. 

“My life is full of stories about art which I find inspirational,” Binjabi added.