Grand Mufti: Giving Syrians Zakat an Islamic duty

Grand Mufti: Giving Syrians Zakat an Islamic duty
Updated 27 February 2014

Grand Mufti: Giving Syrians Zakat an Islamic duty

Grand Mufti: Giving Syrians Zakat an Islamic duty

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh called upon Saudis to give their Zakat to Syrian refugees as the Kingdom marked Tuesday as a day to express solidarity with Syrian children hit by their country’s bloody civil war.
“Giving Zakat to the Syrians is an Islamic duty as it will help save them from poverty and destruction,” the mufti said in a video statement aired by the National Campaign for the Support of Syrians. The campaign is expected to raise millions of riyals for the Syrians.
He also urged Saudis and expats to donate — in cash and kind — generously for the Syrians.
The solidarity day was held on the directive of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to help raise funds and improve international humanitarian aid for Syrian children living in abject conditions.
Meanwhile, an estimated 100,000 Syrian expatriates in Saudi Arabia have allegedly been unable to renew their passports because they oppose the regime back home.
Several Syrians here told Arab News that their country’s missions have stopped renewing their passports.
Mohammed Al-Turkawi, a member of the Syrian opposition living in Jeddah, told Arab News this affects 10 percent of the estimated 1 million Syrians living in Saudi Arabia.
“Syrian expats have to go to neighboring countries to renew their passports. The Syrian mission in the Kingdom had previously canceled the passports of some Syrians who are members of the opposition,” said Al-Turkawi.
Riyadh Saadon, a Syrian dentist, claimed that an official at the consulate in Jeddah refused to renew his passport because of his views.
“The consulate has a blacklist of the names of Syrians living in Jeddah who do not support the government,” Saadon claimed. “Syrian missions in all countries have blacklists with the names of Syrian residents who are involved in activities against the regime.”
All the Syrians on this blacklist face threats of having their passports canceled and cannot deal with their missions, Al-Turkawi claimed.
Most Syrians work in administrative, medical and engineering positions in the Kingdom. Many are afraid to speak openly at meetings here because “spies” might send reports back to the Syrian government.
Many Syrians have posted tragic stories on the Internet about the atrocities perpetrated by the military forces of the regime. “I used to attack the Syrian government on Twitter. I do not travel to my country because I’m afraid of being arrested the moment I set foot on its soil,” said Waleed Abdullah, a Syrian resident in Jeddah.
Hussain Al-Shareef, director of the National Society for Human Rights in Jeddah, told Arab News previously that the organization could help Syrians in these circumstances. Syrian expatriates blocked by their mission can lodge complaints with the NSHR, which would take up their cases with the Saudi Interior Ministry. Syrian expatriates can also approach the ministry directly, Al-Shareef said.
Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the Human Rights Commission, praised King Abdullah for giving his directive to organize the solidarity day all over the Kingdom. He described the Syrian crisis as a human catastrophe and hoped the Saudi campaign would help alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees, especially children.
In a related development, the office of the International Islamic Relief Organization in Beirut organized a special program for Syrian children. Majed Atiyah, first secretary at the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon, said the king’s solidarity call would reawaken Arabs’ feelings toward Syrian children. IIRO organized recreational programs for 1,000 Syrian children living in refugee camps in Beirut.
People may deposit their donations in the NCB account No. SA 231 00000 201 88888 000100. Donations in kind would be accepted at the campaign’s warehouses in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, Qassim and the Northern Border Province. People can also announce their donations by phone through a joint No. 5565 of telecom companies.


Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 23 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 393,653
  • A total of 6,878 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced nine deaths from COVID-19 and 1098 new infections on Friday.
Of the new cases, 454 were recorded in Riyadh, 244 in Makkah, 171 in the the Eastern Province, 44 in Asir, 42 in Madinah, 28 in Tabuk, 23 in Jazan, 20 in Hail, 13 in the Northern Borders region, 11 in Al-Jouf, and 10 in Najran.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 393,653 after 1205 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,878 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 7.8 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saudi Arabia to date.


To prevent drug trafficking, Saudi Arabia bans import of Lebanese fruit and vegetables

To prevent drug trafficking, Saudi Arabia bans import of Lebanese fruit and vegetables
Updated 54 min 54 sec ago

To prevent drug trafficking, Saudi Arabia bans import of Lebanese fruit and vegetables

To prevent drug trafficking, Saudi Arabia bans import of Lebanese fruit and vegetables
  • The Kingdom has noticed an increase in drug smugglers in Lebanon targeting Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi customs foiled an attempt to smuggle Captagon pills hidden in pomegranates that came from Lebanon

RIYADH: Lebanese fruit and vegetable imports will be banned from entering Saudi Arabia or transiting via the Kingdom as of 9 a.m. on Sunday in a bid to prevent drug trafficking.
The Kingdom has noticed an increase in drug smugglers in Lebanon targeting Saudi Arabia, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday.
Lebanese products are being used to smuggle drugs into the Kingdom’s territory, either through consignments intended for Saudi markets or those that transit through the Kingdom on their way to neighboring countries. The most common products used to smuggle the drugs were fruit and vegetables, SPA said.
The ban will last until Lebanese authorities provide guarantees that they will take the necessary measures to stop systematic drug smuggling operations.
The Ministry of Interior will continue to follow up and monitor consignments of other products coming from Lebanon to see whether similar measures needed to be taken against them.

Meanwhile, Saudi customs at Jeddah Islamic Port foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 5.3 million Captagon pills hidden “artistically” in a consignment of pomegranates that came from Lebanon.

The intended recipient of the pomegranate consignment was arrested and the drugs were seized, SPA reported on Friday. 

Another attempt to smuggle nearly 2.5 million amphetamine pills into the Kingdom was foiled at King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam.

Some 2,466,563 pills were hidden inside a shipment of pomegranates coming from Lebanon.

Five people were arrested in relation to the smuggling attempt in Hafr Al-Batin. 


Arab coalition destroys several Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys several Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia
Updated 23 April 2021

Arab coalition destroys several Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys several Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia
  • Arab coalition: We will take all measures to protect civilians in accordance with international law

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said it had intercepted a Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia, Al Ekhbariya TV reported early Friday.
A second drone targeting the city of Khamis Mushait and a third toward Jazan were also intercepted, according to the local broadcaster.  
The coalition, which is fighting to restore the legitimacy of the internationally recognized government in Yemen, had said it will take all measures to protect civilians in accordance with international law.


King Salman calls for global approach to tackling climate change

King Salman speaking at the virtual Climate summit. (Photo: Bandar Galoud)
King Salman speaking at the virtual Climate summit. (Photo: Bandar Galoud)
Updated 23 April 2021

King Salman calls for global approach to tackling climate change

King Salman speaking at the virtual Climate summit. (Photo: Bandar Galoud)
  • Saudi ruler tells summit of world leaders the challenges created by global warming do not respect national borders
  • Biden says US will reduce emissions by up to 52 percent by 2030; China, Russia also pledge to make cuts

NEW YORK: Boosting international cooperation is the “optimal solution” to tackling climate change, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told a summit of world leaders on Thursday.

He said global warming threatens lives on our planet and that the challenges “recognize no national borders.”

“The objective is sustainable development, and in order to achieve this there must be a comprehensive methodology that takes into account the different developments and circumstances that exist around the world,” King Salman said during the Leaders Summit on Climate, which was hosted by the US.

He said the Kingdom has launched packages of strategies and introduced regulations with the aim of using clean, renewable sources to produce 50 percent of the country’s energy needs by 2030.

“Enhancing the level of international cooperation is the optimal solution to meeting the challenges of climate change,” the king said.

“During our G20 presidency last year we advocated the need to adopt a notion of a circular carbon economy, launching two international initiatives to curb land degradation and to protect coral reefs.”

He added that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently announced two new environmental plans: the Green Saudi Initiative and the Green Middle East Initiative. They aim to reduce carbon emissions in the region by more than 10 percent of current global contributions.

“These initiatives also aim at planting 50 billion trees in the region,” he said.

The Kingdom, he added, will work with its partners to achieve these goals and host forums for both initiatives later this year.

“Finally we would like to affirm our keenness and commitment to cooperation to combat climate change, in order to create a better environment for future generations, wishing success for our efforts to protect our planet,” he said.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden — who convened the summit with a view to building global momentum for climate action ahead of COP26, the UN’s

Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November — pledged to cut US fossil fuel emissions by up to 52 percent by 2030.

“Meeting this moment is about more than preserving our planet,” Biden said. “It’s about providing a better future for all of us.” He called it “a moment of peril but a moment of opportunity.”

In his presidential campaign last year, Biden made tackling climate change one of his top priorities. While Republicans oppose his plans on the grounds they will cost jobs in the coal, oil and gas industries, Biden believes that a transition to cleaner energy sources will create millions of well-paid jobs, a stance echoed by many of the world leaders who attended the summit.

“This is not bunny-hugging, this is about growth and jobs,” said the UK’s Conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson.

Forty leaders are taking part in the two-day summit. The UN has described 2021 as a “climate emergency” year, with scientists warning that climate change caused by the use of coal and other fossil fuels is exacerbating natural disasters such as droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires. There are fears that the world now faces a race against time to avoid the disastrous extremes of global warming.

The world’s most powerful nations have announced various measures to address the crisis. They include targets for reductions in harmful emissions, plans to stop the public financing of coal, and a commitment to integrating climate action into economic-stimulus plans in an effort to “build back better” after the pandemic-related economic collapse, with the goal of “leaving no one behind.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin also made commitments to reduce emissions. Neither of them made any mention of their respective non-climate disputes with Biden.

Xi — whose country is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed closely by the US — said that “to protect the environment is to protect productivity, and to boost the environment is to boost productivity. It’s as simple as that.”

Putin, who Biden recently referred to as a “killer” because of the Russian leader’s crackdown on opponents, said his country is “genuinely interested in galvanizing international cooperation so as to look further for effective solutions to climate change as well as to all other vital challenges.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined a number of other leaders who spoke at the summit in welcoming the US back to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, from which President Donald Trump withdrew.

She told Biden: “There can be no doubt about the world needing your contribution if we really want to fulfill our ambitious goals.”

Small states and island nations, which contribute the least to greenhouse- gas emissions but face the most severe dangers and damage resulting from climate change as they are increasingly affected by hurricanes and rising sea levels, asked the major world powers for help.

Gaston Alfonso Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said his people are “teetering on the edge of despair.” He asked the international community for debt relief and assistance to help his country recover from the effects of storms and the pandemic, to “prevent a flow of climate refugees.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the commitments made during the summit to achieving carbon neutrality as “a much-needed boost to our collective efforts to address the climate crisis ahead of COP26 in November in Glasgow.”

He added: “It is now urgent that all countries, especially other major emitters, present their 2030 climate plans well before COP 26.”

Guterres also urged leaders to deliver on $100 billion of climate commitments made to developing countries a decade ago.

“The world will be watching carefully, particularly those already experiencing severe climate impacts and an ongoing economic crisis,” he said.

“Today’s summit shows the tide is turning for climate action, but there is still a long way to go. To avert a permanent climate catastrophe, we must now urgently build on the momentum delivered today, in this make-or-break year for people and the planet.”


‘Let’s Make it Green’ campaign plants 10 million trees across Saudi Arabia

The campaign focused on planting native tree species which have adapted to Saudi Arabia’s environment and require limited irrigation. (Supplied)
The campaign focused on planting native tree species which have adapted to Saudi Arabia’s environment and require limited irrigation. (Supplied)
Updated 23 April 2021

‘Let’s Make it Green’ campaign plants 10 million trees across Saudi Arabia

The campaign focused on planting native tree species which have adapted to Saudi Arabia’s environment and require limited irrigation. (Supplied)
  • Efforts will continue to plant more trees, in line with the ‘Green Saudi’ and ‘Green Middle East’ initiatives

RIYADH: A campaign to plant 10 million trees in 165 sites across the Kingdom to develop vegetation cover and limit desertification has been successfully completed.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and the National Center for Vegetation Cover announced the success of the “Let’s Make it Green” campaign that was launched in October 2020. 

The campaign covered all of the Kingdom’s 13 provinces. The Eastern Province topped the list with more than 2.6 million trees planted, followed by more than 2.1 million in Madinah, over 1.3 million in Makkah, around 1 million in both Jazan and Riyadh, 462,000 in Qassim, and 270,000 in Asir.

Baha reached nearly 300,000, and more than 142,000 trees were planted in the Northern Border, followed by Jouf with more than 113,000, then Hail with about 85,000, Tabuk with over 75,000, and finally Najran with nearly 52,000 trees.

The campaign focused on planting native tree species which have adapted to Saudi Arabia’s environment and require limited irrigation. (Supplied)

The CEO of the center, Dr. Khaled Al-Abd Al-Qader, said that the campaign planted endangered trees and shrubs in areas that were environmentally degraded due to overgrazing, logging, uprooting, and urban sprawl.

“The campaign focused on planting native tree species which have adapted to Saudi Arabia’s environment and require limited irrigation,” he added.

The ministry ensured that the campaign was aligned with sustainability and water conservation requirements and by using treated wastewater or seawater for irrigation, in line with the best international practices.

The center and ministry worked in cooperation with various governmental authorities, private sector organizations, environmental associations, and community groups.

Minister of Water, Environment and Agriculture Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli said: “What we have accomplished is the result of the support and directions of the Saudi leadership to make the Kingdom a pioneer in protecting the Earth, achieve the international objectives in protecting the environment, increase the vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine life.”

Efforts will continue to plant more trees, in line with the “Green Saudi” and “Green Middle East” initiatives, he added.

Al-Qader said that the “Let’s Make it Green” campaign has recovered biodiversity, rehabilitated degraded vegetation cover sites, promoted positive behaviors to preserve the nation’s environment and improve the quality of life in Saudi Arabia.