Watch: Christian expats celebrating festive season in Saudi Arabia

Photo of happy Santa Claus waving at children in a private celebration in Jeddah. (Screenshot)
Updated 24 December 2018

Watch: Christian expats celebrating festive season in Saudi Arabia

  • Santa Claus sat around a pile of gifts where each present had a child’s name written across it to be given to them individually for the Christian annual celebration

JEDDAH: Images showing Santa Claus giving out presents to happy children could have been shot anywhere in the world, possibly except in Saudi Arabia. This is why when a recent Snapchat video emerged showing a festive season celebration occurring in the Saudi city of Jeddah it immediately went viral and raised questions.
However, it is true… Santa Claus did come to town and the private celebration took place in Jeddah on Saturday as a group of Christians came together to celebrate this religious occasion before they went on annual leave.
The small gathering portrayed the Christmas spirit, where children were sitting happily as they anticipated a smiling Santa’s calling. Santa Claus sat around a pile of gifts where each present had a child’s name written across it to be given to them individually for the Christian annual celebration.
The video was shot by a Saudi presenter Hashim Abdullah, who was invited to MC the event. His Snapchat account is dedicated to covering events across the Kingdom. The Kingdom has been encouraging peaceful coexistence and interfaith tolerance as of late, especially after King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman initiated interfaith dialogue with Lebanese Maronite Christian Patriarch in November 2017.
The visit was followed by many; the king met with the chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican earlier in April, while Crown Prince Mohammed met with Archbishop of Canterbury during his UK visit.
As the video of the Christmas celebration went viral, a minority misunderstood the contents of the video and criticized it, causing Saudis to step up to defend the celebration, calling it a normal occurrence and stating that it makes them happy to see celebrations of other faiths.


Moath Al-Naeem, chief investment officer of Alpha Capital

Updated 35 min 28 sec ago

Moath Al-Naeem, chief investment officer of Alpha Capital

Moath Al-Naeem has been chief investment officer of Alpha Capital since its establishment in March 2018.

Alpha Capital is a rapidly growing company licensed by the Capital Market Authority and with assets well above SR1 billion ($267 million).

Before joining the company, Al-Naeem worked for almost a decade in Saudi Aramco’s investment department, which handled the oil giant’s multibillion-dollar pension and savings plans.

Al-Naeem began his career as a financial analyst in fixed income and public equity desks. Afterwards, he led the international real estate desk, where he conducted an on-site investment review and due diligence on several funds to build the global real assets portfolio.

He worked on the restructuring of Aramco’s thrift savings plan and was part of a team that led the successful spin-off of the investment department to a standalone entity, Wisayah Investment Co.

Al-Naeem, a CFA charter holder, earned his MBA from Imperial College London, and attended executive programs in real estate and private equity at Harvard and London Business School, respectively.

He is a board member of Dammam Airport Co. and Siporex Lightweight Construction Co., and a member of the Investment and Financial Papers Committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was also a board member of the CFA Society in Saudi Arabia.