Janadriyah festival attracts thousands of local, foreign visitors

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Visitors at the the annual Janadriyah national heritage and culture festival. (SPA)
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Dancers at the Janadriyah festival. (SPA)
Updated 23 February 2018

Janadriyah festival attracts thousands of local, foreign visitors

RIYADH: Janadriyah, the annual national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, is busy celebrating the Saudi lifestyle as well as symbols of its identity, unity and integrity. The festival also offers a balanced view and a flashback to Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage.
India is the guest of honor country this year. The annual heritage festival, which runs for 18 days, will conclude on Feb. 24.
Every year the festival attracts a remarkable turnout of local and expatriate visitors, including school children and families, as well as visitors from outside the Kingdom.
This year the festival has launched a free application for smartphones, called “Janadriyah,” to guide visitors around the event and keep them updated on entertainment and cultural programs.
Nazaha participates in Janadriyah festival
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) is partaking in the 32nd Janadriyah National Heritage and Culture Festival for the sixth consecutive year.
Specialists in integrity protection and anti-corruption programs, as well as in public relations and media, are present at Nazaha’s pavilion to answer visitors’ inquiries and receive their feedback.
Through its participation, Nazaha aims to introduce the public to efforts exerted to combat corruption in the Kingdom.
The pavilion features signboards about programs, initiatives, events, studies, workshops, conferences and research implemented by Nazaha regarding integrity protection and fighting corruption.
The pavilion also contains screens with videos games, and a drawing workshop with coloring books for children.
Big turnout for UAE pavilion
The UAE pavilion at the festival is impressing visitors with 45 different cultural events and folk shows reflecting the history of the Emirates.
The pavilion has seen a big turnout by visitors, who are received with drums and folk songs. Visitors are invited to take part in folk dances to learn more about Emirati cultural and musical heritage dating back hundreds of years.
The pavilion also features a collection of UAE cultural films that shed light on special elements of the country such as traditional architecture. Generous Arab hospitality is represented in a corner that offers Emirati-made coffee as well as live shows depicting how it was made.
The popular souk at the UAE pavilion, which offers Emirati-made products, is introducing a new generation to the material heritage and culture of UAE’s different towns and environments. The souk celebrates the rich and diversified heritage of the people and its rich and ancient roots.
Three photographic exhibitions portray important historical events.
The first one focuses on the traditionally strong Saudi-Emirati relations. The second exhibition is a collection of cultural photographs of UAE’s renaissance under the rule of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. The third exhibition is about tourism, with images of the best sites for visitors to experience the UAE.
The pavilion is made entirely of traditional natural heritage materials, featuring mud architecture for 80 percent of the design, over an area of 6,500 square meters. The design aims to embody UAE’s authentic heritage and its close connection with the local environment, and the country’s commitment to sustainability, including heritage items and traditional arts.


Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

Updated 08 December 2019

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

  • The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
  • The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people

From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.

The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely  stressed. 

For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors. 

Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.

“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”

“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.

Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.

“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”

The attack at the US naval station in Pensacola, Florida, was the second incident at an American military base in this week, following another shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday. (
Josh Brasted / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.

“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.

Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.

In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home. 

Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter. 

“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.

“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”

She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?” 

“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.” 

Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”


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 Florida shooting ‘nothing to do with gunman’s family, tribe’


“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.

“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”

Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime. 

Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.