Saudis strongly favor female Cabinet ministers

Updated 17 June 2014

Saudis strongly favor female Cabinet ministers

Calls are mounting for the appointment of women to the Cabinet to further strengthen government’s efforts led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for women empowerment.
Fifty-four percent of people who participated in a survey conducted by Khadija bint Khuwailed Center at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry backed appointment of women as ministers to expand their role in nation-building endeavors.
Speaking with Arab News over the issue, Maha Akeel, director of information department at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed optimism.
“We have seen so many initiatives by King Abdullah in recent years for empowerment of women, including their appointment to the Shoura Council and creating more job opportunities for women in different sectors,” she said.
“The survey result is a positive indication as more than half of the participants support appointment of women as ministers and I am sure it will happen eventually and will not take very long,” Akeel said.
Asked whether women ministers would make life of Saudi women better, she said: “Women ministers will serve the whole society as the appointment will be made on the basis of merit and not gender.”
She emphasized the need for providing equal opportunities for both men and women.
Basma Omair, executive director of Khadija center, said the survey result reflected a major change in the attitude of people toward women.
As many as 3,000 men and women took part in the survey and 51 percent of them backed appointment of women as mutawifat to organize Haj affairs while 81 percent supported women working from home.

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.