‘Abused’ Saudi taxi driver receives massive support

Updated 19 October 2015

‘Abused’ Saudi taxi driver receives massive support

JEDDAH: It had never occurred to Mahfouz Al-Yasin, a Saudi taxi driver, that he would be transformed from an ordinary citizen into a celebrity.
He was just a hard-working citizen, doing his hard-working best to support his family. Now he is receiving support and sympathy from both Saudis and Gulf citizens. His unfortunate encounter with a reckless passenger has become a story which illustrates the feeling of brotherhood in society and thwarts plans to break up the united fabric of the community.
Mahfouz normally cruises around the Eastern Province in his taxi, welcoming passengers with a smile. His two sons who are about to marry are in Riyadh and he recently went there to help them and to buy each one new furniture for his bedroom. He was selfless in his intent and did not consider his own health or well-being.
Abdullah Al-Yasin, a relative of Mahfouz, said that what happened was painful. A passenger in his car examined a certain article that was hanging in his car. The passenger verbally abused him while filming the encounter and then posted it online. Many who saw the video were left aghast by the tirade of the passenger.
“After the video of the incident circulated, the security authorities began a search for the offender and in less than 24 hours, Mahfouz was asked to come and identify the man,” said Yasin.
He said the police chief had confirmed the video was enough to convict the offender who is a government employee.
“The offender tried to intimidate and blackmail Mahfouz when he demanded payment of SR500,” he said, noting that the family had not pressed charges. It came to the public’s attention only because the video went viral.
Col. Ziad Al-Ruqaiti, a spokesman for the Eastern Province police, said that the Ahsa police arrested the person and he is currently being investigated prior to referring him to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution.
The video has attracted viewers from all segments of society, including scholarship students who are abroad. There is a demand that the rights of the driver be upheld and defended.
The hashtag, “I am Sunni and demand the Shiite driver be given his rights,” has spotlighted the case. A majority of Sunnis defended the rights of the Shiite driver. The hashtag has attracted both Saudis as well as Gulf citizens who were united in their condemnation of the incident.

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.