Sri Lankan envoy to leave Kingdom as tenure ends

Updated 13 August 2015
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Sri Lankan envoy to leave Kingdom as tenure ends

RIYADH: Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Kingdom Mohamed Hussein Mohamed will be leaving the country upon the completion of his tenure on Thursday.
In an interview with Arab News, the former mayor of Colombo expressed his sadness in bidding farewell to the Kingdom after an eventful year. He credited government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and community members for the success of his stay in Saudi Arabia.
“I am thankful to all those who contributed to facilitate my work as ambassador to serve the community and promote bilateral relations”.
Despite the envoy’s brief tenure in the country, he played an instrumental role in the relocation of the Sri Lankan Embassy to a spacious complex in Sulaimaniyah last week.
Under Mohamed’s initiative as ambassador, the embassy established a mission to achieve several important tasks such as the preparation of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the councils of chambers and industry of both countries, the exemption of the Sri Lankan International School of Riyadh from the Nitaqat program and to initiate the provision of aid to Sri Lanka from the Saudi Fund For Development.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a farewell lunch for the outgoing ambassador at its headquarters recently. As a symbol of appreciation and gratitude for his services to the Sri Lankan community, members had organized a farewell for Mohamed in a hotel in Riyadh.
The largest concentration of Sri Lankans, out of the country’s 1.5 million expatriates working in the Middle East, is found in Saudi Arabia totaling 550,000 people.


Hajj and politics don't mix, says Saudi minister

Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Saleh Banten. (Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj and politics don't mix, says Saudi minister

  • Saudi Arabia has no condition to impose on any Muslim coming only to perform their Hajj rituals in peace, says minister
  • The minister also highlighted the importance of the Makkah Route project to ease Hajj for the pilgrims

MAKKAH: The Hajj and Umrah ministry made it clear, once again, that there is no place for politics during Hajj.

This was reiterated by Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Saleh Banten during the annual press conference at the Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel on Wednesday.

“Saudi Arabia has no condition to impose on any Muslim coming only to perform their Hajj rituals in peace,” he said.

He added that the conditions are only related to Allah, who ordered all capable Muslims to do their Hajj to the holy cities in peace and tranquility.

The minister highlighted the importance of the Makkah Route project to ease Hajj for the pilgrims. However, he noted that the technology his ministry is using to facilitate the Hajj process will limit the project to a few countries.

“We will surely expand the project, especially with the countries from which we annually receive a large number of pilgrims. In fact, if we apply the Route on six or seven countries, the process of pilgrims’ arrival will go smoothly and that will end many obstacles,” he said.

He added that the new technology they are using will make every pilgrim fully aware of his program and schedule of religious duties during Hajj.

“Moreover, the camps of pilgrims are equipped with TV devices through which we can transmit information and instructions to the pilgrims in their tents,” he said.

The Deputy minister for Hajj and Umrah, Abdul Fattah Al-Mashat, pointed out that the ministry has long adopted the use of technology to better serve the “Guests of Allah.”

“We are now using the latest technology to help pilgrims perform their rituals in all possible ease and comfort. 

The minister launched the 43rd Hajj Symposium for this year with the presence of senior Muslim scholars from different parts of the Muslim world. The symposium will conclude Thursday here at the Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel.

At the beginning of the event, the Hajj and Umrah minister emphasized that the symposium embodies the carefulness of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. He stressed: “This event is part of the role the Kingdom has been playing in spreading Islam’s moderate teachings. 

“The symposium highlights the values and the true message of Hajj. It also stresses the importance of Hajj in spreading intimacy among Muslims,” he said.

The minister stressed the role of the Muslim scholars and intellectuals attending the symposium through the researches that focus on introducing the meaning of Hajj as a religious and scientific gathering, through which Muslims from all parts of the world meet and interact.

“The Kingdom understands quite well what message it has in the service of the two holy mosques, in particular, and whole Islamic Umma, in general. It is very keen to call to Islam and unite the Umma through Hajj,” he said.

On the other hand, Chief of the General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais stressed the importance of the symposium, which has been held for the 43rd time, and the role of the Hajj and Umrah ministry in gathering the Muslim scholars during the Hajj. He also called upon all pilgrims to deal with Hajj as a means to control themselves.

The first session of the symposium was moderated by Dr. Abdullah Bafeel. Member of the Senior Ulama council and consultant to the royal court Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid talked about the Farewell Sermon. The Islamic Affairs Minister of Mauritania, Sheikh Ahmed Dawood, gave a future vision for Muslim unity. Meanwhile, the Head of Sharia Courts in Bahrain, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Hai, discussed moderation and tolerance as a method for a better life.

The second session, which saw the launching of the event, saw the Saudi minister of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh, talking about “Saudi Arabia... heart of the Islamic World.” Al-Sudais then highlighted how an acceptable Hajj should be performed. 

A third session saw a member of the senior Ulam council in Saudi Arabia and consultant to the royal court, Sheikh Saad Al-Shithry, continuing the topic of Al-Sudais. Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawqi Ibrahim Allam, highlighted the Saudi efforts in enforcing Muslims' unity, defending and helping them.