With bridge dismantled, Mataf capacity will rise

Updated 05 April 2016
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With bridge dismantled, Mataf capacity will rise

MAKKAH: After four years of use, the temporary Mataf is being dismantled. Once the structure is removed, up to 30,000 worshippers will be able to perform tawaf (circumambulation of the Kaaba) per hour, which is an increase of over 20,000 per hour compared to previous times.

The dismantling is carried out according to a work plan that involves pulling apart the structure one section at a time, and done around the clock. The authorities plan to finish the job before Ramadan, which starts on June 6, depending on the sighting of the moon.
The dismantling was initiated on the orders of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the crown prince, the deputy crown prince and the governor of Makkah because the expansion project of the Haram Mosque is now complete.
The head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, said the recent developments should be credited to King Salman. He said that it was on his directions that the work took place, including a number of workshops and meetings held with parties that have the direct bearing on the work. These included the technical committee in the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, the technical committee in the Education Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the executing contractor (Bin Laden Group) and the project advisers of Dar Al-Handasah.
This is in addition to the various security authorities, including the Grand Mosque Emergency Force, Special Haj and Umrah Force and the Civil Defense Security Force, who laid out an operations plan for the stages of dismantlement of the temporary Mataf bridge.
Al-Sudais added that there are now alternative routes to the Mataf for the elderly and physically challenged, as well as exit and entry points to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Additionally, there are currently four cranes inside the Mataf area, including a crane on the Haram surface to dismantle parts to the eastern side of the Salam Gate, to enable the dismantling process to be done in successive parts.


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 8 min 27 sec ago
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Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

  • The president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey
  • Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back”

CHRISTCHURCH: King Salman’s Hajj offer to host families of those affected by March’s Christchurch terror attacks is “something really special,” said the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Shagaf Khan.
The Saudi king has offered to host and cover the expenses of 200 Hajj pilgrims when they journey to Makkah this year.
Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey. “For some of them, it’ll be a great comfort feeling like they’ve fulfilled the obligations of being a Muslim,” he added.
Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back.”
When asked what the offer would mean for Canterbury’s Muslim community, Khan said it is part of the solidarity and support that has been shown to them since the Christchurch terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 51 people.
“Four months on … people still feel supported and they feel they’re still being remembered,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed Amir, who is working closely with the local community, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and its Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement King Salman’s offer, said it will be available for those who had lost family members or been injured in the mosque attacks.
Canterbury’s Muslims are “very appreciative” of the offer, added Amir, who is chairman of the Islamic Scholars Board of New Zealand.
“I’ll say with full confidence that this will be a big relief for the deceased’s families, for the victims, for all those who’ve been injured and affected,” he said.
When asked how the organization of the pilgrimage is going, Amir said “so far, so good,” but added that it has been challenging without official records to track everyone down.
He said it is an honor and a responsibility to help organize the pilgrimage, which he has been helping to plan since the end of Ramadan. “People are very excited about it,” he added.
He said he believed that the king’s offer had been made to help people’s rehabilitation after the terror attacks.
“The community believes he’s going to contribute in building Christchurch and bringing people to a normal life,” Amir added.