Saudi anti-harassment law put to test

Saudi anti-harassment law put to test
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With the Saudi anti-sexual harassment law put into effect, sexual offenders should not have to think many times before attacking their prey. (Shutterstock image)
Saudi anti-harassment law put to test
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The alleged harasser in Alkhobar. (Screen grab from YouTube video)
Updated 13 May 2019

Saudi anti-harassment law put to test

Saudi anti-harassment law put to test
  • Videos that went viral on social media resulted in the arrest of two men in 24 hours

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s relatively new anti-harassment law was put to the test in the past week, with two separate incidents that were publicized online, resulting in the arrests of the offenders, both in their 20s, within a 24-hour period. 

The first took place on Wednesday night in Alkhobar, where a woman was sexually and verbally harassed as she was driving her car. 

The woman recorded the incident as the man threatened to open the car door if she did not get out. “I want you, get out,” he said as he made various lewd gestures. 

 

The woman posted the video on social media but has not officially filed a report. She reportedly wanted the video to go viral to push for the man’s arrest.

“The government didn’t disappoint,” she said, as the public prosecutor issued an order to arrest the man.

In Dammam, a woman was sexually assaulted from behind as she was leaving a grocery store on Saturday. The incident was captured on CCTV.

 

 

Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Saud Al-Moajab ordered the immediate arrest of the man after the incident was brought to his attention.

Police spokesman Col. Ziyad Al-Riqaiti did not identify the man, but said he was a Saudi in his 20s.

Social media lit up in reaction as the videos of both perpetrators were widely circulated. An overwhelming majority of Saudis expressed disdain, saying the perpetrators’ actions contradicted Islamic teachings. There were some who justified the acts of the perpetrators.

“Defamation, defamation, defamation. How will the likes of him deter from their ways if we don’t slander him?” @MAloamari tweeted. “The public prosecutor’s quick actions are praised by all in the community.”

@adnanalhassani said of the grocery store incident: “Thank God for CCTV cameras.”

@m7md1433 tweeted: “The most important thing is they brought him in. We’ll surely hear of the severe punishment shortly.”

@TARQ2012 tweeted: “Defamation is the best solution for harassers.” @abood7562 said of the harasser in Dammam: “Let them put an end to this aggressor. I wish that the most severe of penalties is applied.”




Two Saudi men, both in their 30s, were arrested for sexually harassing women in the eastern cities of Alkhobar and Dammam. (YouTube image)

Shoura Council member Noura Shaaban said: “We live in the reign of King Salman, who has ensured that women must work in a safe environment.”

She added: “He has issued laws to combat harassment. The Human Rights Commission commended the adoption of this system and its importance in maintaining the individual’s privacy and dignity, guaranteed by the provisions of Islamic law and regulations.”

Shaaban said: “We as women shall continue to exercise all our daily activities and errands with the support of our leadership.”

Al-Riqaiti said police throughout the Kingdom are keen to ensure the safety of all citizens and residents.

He issued a stern warning against anyone wishing to harm the security, safety and stability of Saudi society.

In a statement posted on its Twitter page, the public prosecution emphasized that sexual harassment is defined as words or actions that hint at sexuality, coming from one person to another, that harm the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way, including through the use of modern technology. 




The law provides for penalties of up to two years in prison and fines of up to SR100,000 ($26,664.5).

In 2017, a royal decree stated that “considering the dangers sexual harassment poses and its negative impact on the individual, the family and society along with its contradiction of Islamic principles, our customs and traditions,” the Interior Ministry “shall prepare a draft law to tackle sexual harassment.” The decree came days after the ban on women driving was lifted.

In May 2018, the Shoura Council and Cabinet approved legislation, drafted by the ministry and instructed by King Salman, that criminalized sexual harassment.

Decoder

Penalty for sexual harassment

Last year, Saudi Arabia brought in a law criminalizing sexual harassment. Offenders may be imprisoned for up to two years and/or fined up to SR100,000 ($26,664.5). If the crime is repeated, offenders face five years in prison and/or a fine of SR300,000.


Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief
Updated 7 min 27 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, received Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Prince Khalid said in a Tweet, early on Friday, that the pair had discussed “defense relations and affirm our two countries’ goal to preserve regional peace and stability.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will begin a three-day visit to the Kingdom on Friday.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are expected to sign a landmark climate deal during the visit, according to Pakistan’s climate minister.
In meetings with the Saudi leadership, Khan will cover all areas of bilateral cooperation including economics, trade, investment, environment, energy, job opportunities for the Pakistani workforce, and the welfare of the diaspora in the Kingdom.


Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end
Updated 40 min 40 sec ago

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

JEDDAH: The culture of volunteer work is an important part of Muslim society throughout the year but especially during Ramadan. This is a time of deep faith during which positive behavior and selfless acts are encouraged.

Nowhere is this more evident during the holy month than in the halls of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, where volunteers from the public and private sectors and charities work tirelessly to maintain it and serve pilgrims from around the world.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the General Administration for the Coordination of Voluntary Work, said it has been working to recruit these volunteers and provide them and staff at the mosque with the training they need to ensure that their work is carried out in accordance with all the precautions that are in place protect the health and safety of pilgrims.

It has made efforts to spread the culture of volunteer work, improve its effectiveness and increase volunteer opportunities by adopting the latest methods and best supportive practices. By the beginning of Ramadan, 132 volunteers were working at the mosque each day.

The presidency said that some of the most important volunteer activities include helping elderly and disabled people to move through the mosque, organizing prayer rooms and corridors, monitoring security cameras at the entrances, and ensuring that social distancing rules are followed.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has also stepped up its voluntary activities during Ramadan, and has deployed throughout the mosque medical and emergency teams equipped with the latest medical equipment and supplies.

The authority revealed that 500 of its volunteers are working at the mosque during Ramadan, and added that during the last 10 days of the holy month it aims to increase the number of hours of voluntary work. It also provides buses to transport volunteers from Jeddah and within Makkah to the Grand Mosque.


PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’

PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’
Updated 07 May 2021

PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’

PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’
  • We share a history of cordial relations with Saudi Arabia: Imran Khan

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long-standing and historic fraternal relations, rooted deep in common faith, shared history and mutual support.
The people of Pakistan hold the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the highest esteem. Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields and we look forward to further strengthen this equation especially our economic ties for our mutual benefit.
Being home to the two holiest cities for the Muslims across the world, Saudi Arabia has a key role in unifying the Muslim Ummah.
Pakistan highly values this role that Saudi Arabia has consistently been playing. One of the key challenges faced by Muslims today is Islamophobia.
It is imperative that the Muslim world takes a united stance against the rising tide of Islamophobia and we all make concerted efforts to sensitize the West about our deep respect for our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and our sensitivities about our religion being linked with terrorism.
I take this opportunity to appreciate various landmark initiatives taken by the visionary leadership of Saudi Arabia. One that requires a special mention is One that requires a special mention is “Saudi Green Initiative” and “Green Middle East Initiative.”
The threat that climate change poses to this planet and our region is real and it is high time for action. Pakistan has already initiated “Clean and Green Pakistan” and “Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.”
We believe that our priorities and goals in this regard are aligned and we can therefore learn a lot by sharing experiences. Pakistan will extend every possible support toward the success of the Green Initiative.
I look forward to my visit to Saudi Arabia and hope my interaction with the Saudi leadership will further strengthen our bilateral relations and will open further avenues for building a strong economic partnership as well as promoting people to people contacts.
I take this opportunity to pay my best regards to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the royal family and the great people of Saudi Arabia.
Long live Pak-Saudi friendship!

• Imran Khan is the prime minister of Pakistan.


The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah
Updated 07 May 2021

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah
  • Hussein bin Salameh ordered the construction of two paths — one for camels and one for pedestrians — to facilitate the exchange and trade of goods in the Kingdom.

JEDDAH: The ancient stone road known as the “caravan route” linking Taif and Makkah is a cultural legacy of great historical value. It was constructed more than 1,000 years ago and was used regularly by pedestrians up to the 1960s.

At the time the road was built, movement between Taif and Makkah was restricted by Al-Qarah Mountain, researcher Hammad Al-Salimi explained. So Hussein bin Salameh ordered the construction of two paths — one for camels and one for pedestrians — to facilitate the exchange and trade of goods in the Kingdom.

The winding road made it possible to cross the mountain and was a remarkable feat of engineering, considering the limited technology available at the time of its creation.

“The roads were paved with stones, which made them resemble staircases winding between the top of the mountain in Al-Hada, the Karr below Al-Qarah Mountain, Shaddad and then Wadi Noman,” Al-Salimi said, adding that a third road, for cars, was built in the mid-1960s, during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.

Al-Salimi said that the two original paths are “important monuments, which should be preserved and maintained because they are part of the Al-Qarah Mountain system and complement the beautiful image of this mountain.”

Historian and writer Saleh Al-Judi explained that — before cars were common in the Kingdom — people would use the route to travel between the two cities, a journey taking around three days. The passage through the mountain, he said, is around six kilometers. In the middle of the route, he added, is a well-known site called Al-Rukb.

He said the route is mentioned in histories from the fifth Hijri century (1009-1106 CE), which say that it had room for pedestrians and animals alike. Al-Qathami stressed the importance of preserving the road as an historical landmark, as it is an important artery linking Taif and Makkah.


Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims

Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims
Updated 06 May 2021

Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims

Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for those killed in torrential rains and floods that hit several Algerian states.
The king said: “We learned of the news of the torrential rains and floods in several Algerian states, and the resulting deaths, and we send to Your Excellency, the families of the deceased, and the Algerian people our warmest condolences and the most sincere sympathy,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Algerian president.RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for those killed in torrential rains and floods that hit several Algerian states.
The king said: “We learned of the news of the torrential rains and floods in several Algerian states, and the resulting deaths, and we send to Your Excellency, the families of the deceased, and the Algerian people our warmest condolences and the most sincere sympathy,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Algerian president.