Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’

Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Security officers assist an elderly pilgrim in performing the "Stoning of the Devil" ritual at the Jamrat bridge in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Pilgrims gather around the Jamrat to perform the "Stoning of the Devil" ritual in Mina on Friday. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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A toddler goes in deep slumber as pilgrims perform the "Stoning of Satan" ritual at the Jamrat Bridge in Mina on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Security officers stand guard at the Jamrat Bridge in Mina as the "Stoning of Satan" is in progress. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’
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Updated 02 September 2017

Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’

Muslim pilgrims mark final Hajj rite with ‘Stoning of Devil’

MINA, Saudi Arabia: In stifling heat, a Saudi security guard sprayed Muslim pilgrims with water as they advanced through Mina for the final rite of the Hajj, the “Stoning of the Devil”.
Saudi Arabia reported no major health or safety upsets at the Jamrat Bridge, as the Muslim faithful made their way through the last leg of the five-day pilgrimage.
For many, the pilgrimage, which all Muslims must perform at least once if physically and financially able, has been a lifelong dream.
Amin Hashkir, a 26-year-old from Casablanca in Morocco, traveled to western Saudi Arabia, home of the holiest sites in Islam, together with his sister and mother, who was unable to physically perform the stoning rite herself.
“My father passed away in 2011, and we’ve been trying to make it here ever since to perform Hajj for him,” Hashkir explained on a sidewalk in Mina, near Makkah. “It was what he felt was missing from his life.”
Hashkir’s mother was also counting on her son to fulfil her dream of Hajj. “My mother is sick, so I offered to throw the stones for her.”
The 2015 stampede was the deadliest disaster ever to strike the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. Hundreds more lives have been lost in several stampedes during the stoning ritual over the past 20 years.
Saudi Arabia says it has deployed more than 100,000 security personnel to keep pilgrims safe this year.
The state-run SPA news agency on Thursday reported more than 2.35 million people were participating in the Hajj this year, including 1.75 million from outside the kingdom.
Authorities said on Friday there had been no major health or safety upsets in Mina this year.
Col. Sami Al-Shweirekh, head of outreach at Saudi Arabia’s General Security, hailed the “success” of the intensified security measures at a press conference.
Hours earlier, huge crowds dotted with colorful umbrellas to shield pilgrims from the sun took part in the stoning rite under strict surveillance, with police tape guiding the flow of pilgrims, cameras everywhere and helicopters hovering overhead.
“It’s different every year,” said Najat Malik, 45, a Sudanese Red Crescent employee who traveled from Khartoum for the Hajj.
“Some years there are less pilgrims because of fears and warnings of disease. But this year, I feel like there are a lot more people here.”
Traditionally, seven pebbles are thrown at a post representing the devil, emulating the actions of the biblical prophet Abraham.
Since 2004, it has been replaced by walls to accommodate the rising numbers of pilgrims.
By Friday afternoon, temperatures had reached 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit), with many suffering from dehydration or heat exhaustion.
“Two pilgrims fainted right in front of me this morning,” said Almas Khattak, a Pakistani volunteer in Mina.
At the bridge, an elderly woman had collapsed onto a stretcher as her relatives tried to revive her, splashing her face with water before calling for assistance.
The shadow of the 2015 stampede still looms large over the ritual.
Iran, which with 464 dead reported the largest number of victims in the disaster, did not send its pilgrims last year to the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, as authorities in the two countries failed to agree on logistics.
Iranian authorities say more than 86,000 Iranian pilgrims are taking part this year, each equipped with an identity bracelet in case of any accident.
The stoning ritual, which lasts until Sunday, marks the first day of the Eid Al-Adha feast, or the feast of sacrifice, which commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.
The holiday is marked by the sacrifice of sheep instead by Muslim communities around the world.


Saudi Arabia announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 387,020
  • A total of 6,801 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 10 deaths from COVID-19 and 964 new infections on Friday.
Of the new cases, 402 were recorded in Riyadh, 215 in Makkah, 157 in the the Eastern Province, 39 in Madinah, 36 in Asir, 19 in Tabuk, 18 in Hail, 15 in Jazan, 12 in the Northern Borders region, 10 in Najran and seven in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 387,020 after 918 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,801 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 6.7 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saudi Arabia to date.


Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert

Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert
Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert

Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert
  • The Arab coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis toward Jazan on Thursday.

JEDDAH: The international community bears responsibility for prolonging the crisis in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia should not simply wait for the Iran-backed Houthis to cause a disaster, according to a Saudi expert in international relations.

Political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri said on Thursday that although a number of proposals had been put forward to put an end to Yemen’s ongoing conflict, there had been a lack of will from the international community to implement those initiatives.

“If the international community was honest, it would have (acted on) UNSC Resolution 2216, demanding the Houthis relinquish the arms they seized from military and security institutions and cease all violence. The international community is delaying taking action against the Houthis for its own interests,” Al-Shehri told Arab News.

“The international community’s regional interests are its top priority, not Yemen or the Yemenis,” he added.

Al-Shehri believes that, in the face of continued silence from the international community, Saudi Arabia should ‘confront power with power’ when dealing with Houthi attacks.

“We should not wait until the Houthis (cause) a disaster. We count on the Arab coalition and the Yemeni army, especially after the UN’s leniency with regard to putting pressure on the Houthis to accept diplomatic solutions,” Al-Shehri said.

He added that if attacks on the Kingdom continue, then Saudi Arabia should take military action. “The Houthis are using power and this power should be confronted with power. We have tried the international community for seven years, but unfortunately (nothing has been done).”

The Arab coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis toward Jazan, Al-Ekhbariya reported on Thursday.

Those attacks were the latest in a long line of hostile actions against the Kingdom by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

Jazan University was one of the targets, as well as other civilian sites protected under international humanitarian law, coalition spokesman Turki Al-Malki said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, adding that such actions amount to war crimes. He also said that the attacks originated from Yemen’s Saadah governorate and were a “continuation of the Houthis’ systematic and intentional hostile attempts to target civilians.”

The Houthis, who took over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in 2014, have been widely condemned for their actions against the Kingdom.


62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches

62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches
Updated 16 April 2021

62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches

62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches

JEDDAH: Authorities in Jeddah have shut down 62 commercial outlets for breaching coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols.
Municipalities in the Kingdom have stepped up their efforts to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety measures designed to protect public health.
The municipality of Jeddah governorate carried out 4,219 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities and identified 166 violations for issues related to overcrowding and the failure to effectively use the Tawakkalna app.
Officials urged people to report any suspected breaches of COVID-19 regulations to the 940 call-center number.


Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad
Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia ranked 16th of 55 countries in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO), which ended on Thursday, rising 10 places from last year and winning four medals.
Each country involved in the competition is represented by a team of four female mathematicians of school age, This year’s EGMO was hosted by Georgia, but held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi Arabia was represented by four students who have all been members of programs run by the King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) and have received thousands of training hours and attended several training camps.
In the past, Saudi teams have won 20 medals at the EGMO. This year, Rafaa Qanash from Jeddah won a silver medal, while Lara Munqal from Jeddah, Joud Bahwini from Yanbu, and Fatima Al-Ghanam from Al-Ahsa all won bronze medals.
All four students have been members of Mawhiba’s Program for International Olympiads and have received thousands of training hours and attended several training camps.
Mawhiba works in partnership with the Ministry of Education to qualify Saudis to compete in scientific Olympiads. Over 1,300 hours of training are provided annually to prepare students to participate.
The EGMO — launched by the UK in 2012, when 19 countries participated — seeks to encourage female students to compete in mathematics tournaments and to increase female representation in international Olympiads. Currently, only 10 percent of participants in math-based Olympiads are female.


Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about

Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about
Updated 16 April 2021

Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about

Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about
  • Saudi Arabia reported 10 more COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced the procedures for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom to follow to perform the rituals.
Pilgrims need to go to a care center in Makkah six hours before performing Umrah to check the inoculation status according to the type of approved vaccines.
They will be handed their bracelet, which they must put on at the center. They will then be directed to the Al-Shubaikha gathering center. There, the pilgrims must present their bracelet to verify their data and their permit.
The ministry noted the need for the pilgrims to abide by the Umrah date and time period allocated to them.
The Kingdom began receiving pilgrims from abroad in mid-March, in accordance with requirements and controls set by the Ministry of Health as part of the precautionary measures set to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had previously confirmed the launch of the two updated versions of the apps “Eatmarna” and “Tawakkalna,” in cooperation with the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence.
Through these apps, Saudis and expats can reserve Umrah and visit and prayer permits inside the Grand Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, with permits being displayed only on the Tawakkalna app.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah emphasized the need to adhere to the precautionary and preventive measures, and to reserve permits through the approved official platforms.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported 10 more COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. The death toll now stands at 6,791.
The Ministry of Health reported 985 new cases, meaning that 402,142 people have now contracted the disease, of which 9,249 remain active.
It said 463 of the new cases were in Riyadh, 164 in Makkah, 140 in the Eastern Province and 30 in Madinah. In addition, 661 patients recovered from the disease, bringing the total to 386,102 recoveries.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 16 million PCR tests, with 45,843 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those testing hubs are Taakad (make sure) centers and Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while the Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms, such as fever, loss of taste and smell and breathing difficulties.
Appointments to either services can also be made through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Saudis and expats in the Kingdom continue to receive their jabs of the coronavirus vaccine, with 6,607,384 people having been inoculated so far.