Muslim world questions logic behind Charlie antics

Updated 15 January 2015

Muslim world questions logic behind Charlie antics

RIYADH/CAIRO: Iyad Madani, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has denounced the publication of sacrilegious cartoons by French magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday, calling the move “insolence, ignorance and foolishness.”
He said: “Freedom of speech must not become a hate-speech and it must not offend others. No sane person, regardless of doctrine, religion or faith, accepts his beliefs being ridiculed.”
Prominent Saudi scholar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi said that publication of the latest image was a mistake. “It’s not a good way to make the people understand us. Jesus or Moses, all messengers (of God) we should respect,” and should not be made fun of in pictures or words, Ghamdi said. “I believe it will make more problems.”
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian lands, Mohammed Hussein, said such cartoons “fuel feelings of hatred and resentment among people” and publishing them “shows contempt” for Muslim feelings.
Leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar denounced the new edition and said: “The stature of the Prophet of Mercy is greater and more lofty than to be harmed by cartoons that are unrestrained by decency and civilized standards.” It said: “Al-Azhar calls on all Muslims to ignore this hateful frivolity.”
The International Union of Muslim Scholars also criticized the antics of Charlie Hebdo, claiming they would further stir up hatred, extremism and tension. “It is neither reasonable, nor logical, nor wise to publish drawings and films offensive or attacking the Prophet of Islam,” said the Qatar-based union, headed by Yusuf Al-Qardawi.
According to the union, publication of the drawing would give further “credibility” to the idea that “the West is against Islam.” It said: “If we agree that (those who committed the attacks) are a minority that do not represent Islam or Muslims, then how can we respond with actions that are not directed against them, but against the Prophet revered by a billion-and-a-half Muslims?”
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Al-Qaeda branch on Wednesday confirmed it carried out last week’s deadly assault in Paris and vowed more attacks on the West.
In a video posted on Twitter, a commander said: “You will look for peace and stability but you will not find it because of the deeds of those carrying out martyrdom operations and heroes of lone jihad.”
He said the Yemeni-American cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011, had arranged the attack.


E-visa service makes it easier than ever for Saudis to visit India

A plane is seen at the taxiway after landing at Kochi's International airport in the Indian state of Kerala on August 29, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2020

E-visa service makes it easier than ever for Saudis to visit India

  • The cost of a one-year, multiple-entry tourist visa was reduced from $80 to $40, while a five year, multiple entry tourist visa costs $80

RIYADH: The introduction last year of an online “e-visa” service for Saudi nationals who want to visit India was an important development in the growing relationship between the nations.
The system, announced during a state visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India in February last year, was launched on June 17.
It allows Saudi citizens to apply online for tourist, business, medical and conference visas. In addition, fees were reduced and longer-term visas were introduced.
A short duration, one-month visa for tourists, with double entry, costs $10 between April and June and $25 the rest of the year. The cost of a one-year, multiple-entry tourist visa was reduced from $80 to $40, while a five year, multiple entry tourist visa costs $80.
The other types of e-visa available to Saudi nationals, all of which cost $80, are: Business visa (valid for a year, multiple entry), conference visa (valid for 30 days, single entry), and medical visa and medical attendant visa (both of which are valid for 60 days, triple entry).

BACKGROUND

In addition to the e-visa system, traditional paper visas are still available from the Indian Embassy, and the time taken to process them for Saudi nationals has been reduced to two working days.

For more information about e-visas for Saudi citizens, and to apply for one, visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html. Applications must be made at least four days before the planned date of travel.
In addition to the e-visa system, traditional paper visas are still available from the Indian Embassy, and the time taken to process them for Saudi nationals has been reduced to two working days. Last year, 19,116 e-visas and 18,598 paper visas were issued to Saudis.