Ban on Peace TV will be lifted soon: Zakir Naik

Updated 06 July 2014

Ban on Peace TV will be lifted soon: Zakir Naik

The Muslim scholar of international repute, Zakir Naik, hoped the Indian government would soon lift ban on his Peace TV.
Naik heads the Islamic Research Foundation that owns Peace TV. The channel has a substantial viewership in the Middle East and African countries and which operates from Dubai.
The Indian government's Intelligence Bureau had red-flagged Peace TV among 24 foreign channels for allegedly broadcasting anti-India programs "not conducive to the security environment in the country.”
Naik rejected the accusations as unfounded and said a stay order was granted by the Supreme Court during the tenure of India's former Chief Justice Altamas Kabir. The order was later revoked by his successor. However, he expressed hope of a "positive decision soon."
He said Peace TV programs were often considered to have a political agenda, which was unjustified.
Naik told Arab News here at a sahoor party hosted by Rashid Ali Sheikh, an Indian businessman and social worker, that Peace TV was a major Islamic satellite television network with a global viewership of more than 100 million and broadcast in English, Urdu and Bengali languages.
Sheikh also hoped that Peace TV would be able to clear its name. He said Naik's speeches, especially when he criticizes Western powers for their interference in Muslim countries, are taken out of context to label him as a supporter of extremism.
The Indian Express, India’s one of the top daily newspapers, recently ranked Naik as the country's 89th most powerful person, ahead of Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen and former Attorney General Soli J. Sorabjee.
Peace TV has many speakers and presenters including those from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, and its Arabic channel is expected to go on air soon.
The reception function was attended by many prominent expats from the Indian community.

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.