Pakistani cyclist to pedal for peace across the Gulf

Pakistani cyclist to pedal for peace across the Gulf
Mohammed Ali Bakhsh. (AN photo by Ali Fayyaz)
Updated 26 April 2017

Pakistani cyclist to pedal for peace across the Gulf

Pakistani cyclist to pedal for peace across the Gulf

JEDDAH: Mohammed Ali Bakhsh, a 45-year-old Pakistani cyclist, is set to spread a message of peace and unity by cycling across Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf countries including Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in four months.
“My ambition is to spread the message of peace ... I support all countries hit by terrorism and appeal to other countries to unite against the menace,” Bakhsh said during an interview at the Arab News office in Jeddah.
He said that him and the Pakistani community in the Kingdom and Pakistan condemn violence in Yemen and other countries, which target the security and stability of the world.
He said that such events demand support from Muslim countries across the region.
Bakhsh’s bicycle tour began in Madinah, and he reached Jeddah in six days where a local cycling group, and members of the Saudi and Pakistani communities warmly received him.
“I am not looking for fame or money. I just want to spread peace, unity and brotherhood,” Bakhsh said.
He said that he covered 90 kilometers a day within 6 to 7 hours, and that he received massive support from people on the streets during his journey.
“I am trying to cover as much as I can on road on the cycle. I hope I have inspired people that I met to think about peace and humanity,” he said. “I am grateful to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their backing and appreciation during this tour by providing security, mobile service and an ambulance during my tour in cities and highways,” Bakhsh said.
He said that on his way from Madinah to Jeddah, he passed through small towns and people received him with open arms.
“I hope that the Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia and Gulf counties will also support and encourage my struggle against terrorism,” he said.
“I also hope that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan will continue to serve Islam and promote unity by standing alongside Muslim countries around the globe in this crucial phase,” Bakhsh said.
The Pakistani cyclist plans to cover some of the major cities in Saudi Arabia, including Al-Leith, Jazan, Najran and Riyadh within 45 days; the distance will be more than 3,000 kilometers.
His bicycle tour will come to an end in the Kingdom in the country’s capital city on May 28.
His tour in other Gulf countries will commence after Ramadan.


Focus on self-care in socially distanced Ramadan

Focus on self-care in socially distanced Ramadan
Worshippers offer night prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah amid strict measures to check the spread of the coronavirus. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 29 sec ago

Focus on self-care in socially distanced Ramadan

Focus on self-care in socially distanced Ramadan
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic fails to dampen the true spirit of the holy month

JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a favorite of Muslims as they focus on their inner well-being, faith and connect with their roots, religion and family.

Around the world, people prepare for the month with great passion. The most common preparation begins with grocery shopping, subtle decorations in homes and quiet corners designated for prayers, among other things.
Muslim residents of Saudi Arabia highlight their joy by sharing meals with friends and family. However, because of coronavirus health restrictions, they will not be able to enjoy its full effect this year.
Taking lessons learned from an isolated Ramadan last year, people in Saudi Arabia are instead focusing on self-care before to achieve the holy month’s main purpose: Growing closer to God through prayer and devotion.
However, people do miss the usual festivities during the month due to the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, this month generally witnesses hustle and bustle not only in markets and eateries but mosques also become full of worshippers who want to utilize this month effectively for their spiritual growth.   

Ramadan makes social distancing a bit harder to bear since it’s the month in which we feel like sharing meals the most.

Hamna Khan

This is the second Ramadan since the beginning of the pandemic. Due to the health precautions, the situation is no longer the same, as people have to be very careful.  
Hamna Khan, a Pakistani expat living in Jeddah, told Arab News: “Ramadan makes social distancing a bit harder to bear since it’s the month in which we feel like sharing meals the most.”
Palestinian student Rahaf Burchalli saw the humor of the situation, saying that her family will be putting hand sanitizer on the dining table as an appropriate addition.
For many Muslims, the month of Ramadan means going back to religious habits, such as praying on time, dedicating a part of the day to reciting the Qur’an and doing as many good deeds as possible.
Although the experience in 2021 will be different, given the nationwide curfew in place this time last year, restrictions still remain to curb the spread of coronavirus, leaving many people with more time on their hands.

It is important to organize oneself, as the routine in Ramadan is different than the rest of the year.

Rahaf Burchalli

People are planning different activities and chores to use this spare time efficiently by engaging in productive activities.
For Khan, the extra time will be spent decluttering her house for Ramadan so that it becomes easier to clean for Eid. “Since the month means a lot of time spent with food, I make sure that preparations are done ahead of time before Ramadan.”
Burchalli, on the other hand, said that her pre-Ramadan preparations are psychological, rather than physical. “The heart begins to get ready and feels reassured for the beginning of my favorite month of the year. The decoration comes after that and I think that it is essential to enter the atmosphere of Ramadan.”
She added that her preparations also involve spiritual practices such as “organizing my sleep, eating and worship times.
“It is important to organize oneself, as the routine in Ramadan is different than the rest of the year,” she said.


Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground

Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground
The Saudi Journal of Philosophical Studies (SJPS) was launched by the cultural platform Mana, which was set up two years ago. (Supplied)
Updated 12 min 58 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground

Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground
  • Philosophers from outside the Arab world contributed to the first issue, specifically from Germany and the US

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal has been issued, with its editor-in-chief saying that the country was witnessing a “tangible philosophical renaissance.”
The Saudi Journal of Philosophical Studies (SJPS) was launched by the cultural platform Mana, which was set up two years ago.
According to its editor in chief, Sarah Al-Rajhi, the principal aim of the journal was to help researchers in the Kingdom, the Arab world and the West to publish their work without any financial cost and in line with accurate scientific standards.
“Philosophy indicates the position of knowledge within any culture,” she told Arab News. “It is no secret that Saudi Arabia is currently witnessing a tangible philosophical renaissance that should have culminated in the launch of a refereed academic philosophical journal. At Mana, we aim to train researchers in philosophical writing and create a kind of accumulation in this regard. We do this on our online platform, and more systematically in our peer-reviewed journal.”
She said that the SJPS advisory board included 12 leading thinkers and philosophers from the Arab world and the West, and that this number was appropriate because each member represented an orientation and school of thought.
The scholars were chosen on the basis of precise criteria, the most important of which were their research, their recognition by the scientific research community, their “abundant philosophical production” and their geographical distribution.
The advisory board includes members from Saudi Arabia, the US, Australia, the UK, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.
Al-Rajhi said that the SJPS had received a large number of research papers in different languages from many countries since its launch.
“We subjected this research to close referees as the journal has a list of highly qualified referees. We apologized to some researchers whose research did not meet the required publishing standards, and we provided them with the referees’ reports that include important notes and instructions in order to help them address the deficiencies in their research and develop them.”

FASTFACTS

• The Saudi Journal of Philosophical Studies (SJPS) was launched by the cultural platform Mana, which was set up two years ago.

• The SJPS advisory board includes 12 leading thinkers and philosophers from the Arab world and the West.

• Among the open access articles are a paper from the US-Lebanese philosopher Raja Halwani.

• Another article is from Mohamed Mohamed Madian, philosophy professor at the University of Cairo.

Philosophers from outside the Arab world contributed to the first issue, specifically from Germany and the US.
The first edition of the SJPS was applauded by elite cultural figures and entities, including Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. He tweeted the issue announcement, adding: “Such a great step to enrich Saudi philosophical content.”

Such a great step to enrich Saudi philosophical content. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan
Saudi culture minister

Al-Rajhi, in turn, expressed her gratitude for the support that the Saudi cultural community received from the ministry.
“With your continuing encouragement and support to the knowledge and cultural movement in Saudi Arabia, the future will even be brighter with more and more steps,” she replied.
She said that some of the journal’s articles were free to access for readers on the Mana platform and that issues would also be sent to Saudi and Arab universities.
Al-Rajhi, who is the co-founder of Mana, said the journal could contribute to strengthening the Kingdom’s philosophical movement and that the encouragement of academic publishing in the field of philosophy was the pinnacle of this movement.
“To write a philosophical paper in a systematic way that adheres to the accuracy and academic standards in writing, and for the scientific community to read what you write, is a great thing and a beginning that can be both built and expanded upon. Moreover, we believe that the international character of the SJPS allows Saudi researchers to learn about the research output of their colleagues around the world.”
Al-Rajhi explained what distinguished the SJPS from other Arab and international refereed journals. It did not just present research papers, but a variety of content.
“This content included an introductory essay on a philosophical topic, an introductory essay about a philosopher, an introduction to a research project, translations of two valuable texts from English into Arabic, and finally a statistical analysis of the publications of the most important international publishing houses in the second half of 2020.”
She said there was a clear philosophical activity in Saudi Arabia that nobody could ignore and that it was part of the country’s general cultural activity, adding that had it not been for the “official institutions’ support of this activity, it would not have appeared this way.”
The next desired step within the Saudi philosophy community was to teach the subject in the country’s universities as an independent academic discipline, she said.
“We have tried to create a kind of intersection between philosophy and academia, and we are hopeful that it will be a step that paves the way toward establishing the first departments of philosophical studies in Saudi universities.”
Among the open access articles are a paper from the US-Lebanese philosopher Raja Halwani, who is a philosophy professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In his abstract for the “Virtue of Integrity,” Halwani writes there is a powerful argument that integrity is not a virtue because it would be a redundant virtue, or what he calls the “redundancy objection.”
He said that integrity was usually tested when the agent was under pressure or tempted to act against their values. A virtuous person was someone who had virtues, including wisdom, and was able to act properly whenever the situation called for it.
Another article is from Mohamed Mohamed Madian, philosophy professor at the University of Cairo’s Faculty of Art.
He discusses Cornel Ronald West, a prominent left-wing African-American thinker, and his writing focuses on three levels expressing the West’s philosophy: Prophetic pragmatism, the philosopher’s concept of democracy, and the problem of racial discrimination.


Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir
Updated 41 min 57 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
During the call, Sheikh Tamim congratulated the crown prince on the advent of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Prince Mohammed also exchanged well wishes on the occasion.


Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 608 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 389

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded eight new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,773.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 951 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 400,228 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 8,820 remain active and 962 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 389, followed by Makkah with 212, the Eastern Province with 144, Asir recorded 38 and Madinah confirmed 32 cases.

The ministry also announced that 608 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 361,813.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 137 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 2.95 million.


Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen
Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber and Yemeni Electricity Minister Anwar Mohammed Kalshat finalize an oil grant deal in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 27 min 57 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen
  • Kalshat thanked the Kingdom for its continuous support to his country and people

RIYADH: Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber, who is also the chief of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY), signed an agreement with Yemeni Electricity Minister Anwar Mohammed Kalshat, to supply oil derivates to operate more than 80 power stations in Yemen in collaboration with the country’s government.
The Saudi oil derivates grant worth $422 million will help support Yemen’s economy and develop the country’s infrastructure.
Kalshat thanked the Kingdom for its continuous support to his country and people.  Al-Jaber said the grant aims to support the Yemeni government overcome energy crisis and create job opportunities.