Hajj pilgrims praise Saudi support at Dhaka airport

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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
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Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours. (AN photo/Shehab Sumon)
Updated 17 July 2019

Hajj pilgrims praise Saudi support at Dhaka airport

  • Seventy immigration officials from Saudi Arabia are currently in Dhaka to accomplish pilgrims’ immigration tasks
  • At the airport, Saudi authorities have established 15 booths to serve pilgrims, who have to record 10-finger impressions in the Kingdom’s immigration database

DHAKA: Pre-immigration facilities provided by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims in Bangladesh have helped reduce waiting times by several hours after their arrival at airports in the Kingdom, several of them said on Wednesday.
The program is part of Saudi Arabia’s Road to Makkah initiative, whereby pilgrims can complete immigration at airports in their home country instead of doing it on arrival in the Kingdom.
From this year, Bangladeshi pilgrims are enjoying pre-immigration facilities at Dhaka airport.
“Among the 127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims, this year 60,500 of them will have the opportunity to complete the immigration formalities at Dhaka airport,” Bangladeshi Religious Affairs Secretary Anisur Rahman told Arab News.
“From next year, all Bangladeshi pilgrims will enjoy this pre-immigration system at Dhaka airport.”
Seventy immigration officials from Saudi Arabia are currently in Dhaka to accomplish pilgrims’ immigration tasks. Three Saudi organizations are working at Dhaka airport to accomplish these tasks.
At the airport, Saudi authorities have established 15 booths to serve pilgrims, who have to record 10-finger impressions in the Kingdom’s immigration database.
In addition, at the immigration counter officials take photographs of the pilgrims, Rahman said.
“The pre-immigration system was supposed to be launched from the first Hajj flight on July 4, but due to technical issues we couldn’t do that on the first day. However, things are now running very smoothly,” he added.
Abdul Kayum Bepari, a Bangladeshi pilgrim who completed his Saudi immigration formalities at Dhaka airport, told Arab News: “It’s an amazing experience. All immigration formalities were completed within a minute. When I performed Hajj in 2011, it took more than four hours for me to complete the immigration formalities at the Saudi airport.”
Bangladeshi pilgrim Sadek Ali told Arab News: “Everything is very disciplined. This pre-immigration system has truly eased the hassle of thousands of Bangladeshi pilgrims.”
Pilgrim Bulbuli Begum told Arab News: “My Saudi immigration formalities took only a few seconds to be completed.”
Pre-immigration support for Bangladeshi pilgrims will continue until the last Hajj flight, which is scheduled on Aug. 5.
“We’re trying to ensure maximum support and comfort to the pilgrims,” said a Saudi immigration official at Dhaka airport.
“They don’t even need to worry about luggage. Once the pilgrims land at a Saudi airport, they’ll immediately board hotel-bound buses and will receive their luggage at the hotel.”


Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

Updated 2 min 57 sec ago

Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

RIYADH: The Stan Lee Super Con kick-started at the Riyadh Front, providing a place for comic book fans to express themselves.

The conventions were divided into two parts — Anime Con and the Stan Lee Super Con. The Super Con was a comic nerd’s dream come true, bringing together everything from the Batmobile, the Delorian from “Back to the Future” and the time-traveling Tardis from “Doctor Who.”

The convention also brought together a variety of celebrities, including actors, creators and famous artists.

The comic book artist Bob Layton, best known for his work in Marvel Comics’ “Iron Man” and “Hercules” sat in a booth to give autographs to star-struck fans.

“I am looking forward to seeing Saudi Arabia very much — because of work I haven’t seen much. When I travel, I am more interested in where culture is than where it has been, especially in Saudi Arabia because this country is opening up and it is very exciting,” Layton told Arab News.

“I am very glad to be meeting so many Saudis here, since they come here to see me. Americans have a very warped perception of Muslim countries and I don’t share that because once you get to meet the people you see that we are very much alike.”

He shared his story of how he got into comics, which tells of how useful of a tool comic books can be: He learned how to read by reading comics.

“All the pictures made sense to me and as a child it made me want to understand what was in the text balloons, so I became a reader at the age of four. If they can teach a four-year-old how to read, they can teach a lot of things to a lot of people.

“Part of my achievement as a comic artist is that my work has transcended comics and became global. So, now wherever I go in the world I see that comics have become universal.”

The actor Sam J. Jones, who played the infamous “Flash Gordon” in the 1980 film, was also present.

He said he was thrilled to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time, and was deeply moved by the positive attitude of the Saudi people.

“Even before I stepped in Saudi Arabia I traveled with Saudi Airlines, and even in Los Angeles when I arrived at the ticket counter everybody was smiling, and people haven’t stopped since.

“I did the panel and met people afterward and the fans have been amazing. It is a blessing to be here in Riyadh for the first time, I am used to doing comic cons but this being my first time in Saudi Arabia is amazing and hopefully, there will be more to come.”

Melinda Jean, a cosplayer, walked among the crowd with a magnificent cape, dressed up as the popular villain Hela from “Thor: Ragnarok.” She was extremely excited to be a part of the Super Con, she said.

“I am so excited — it is my first time being in Saudi Arabia. It is so surreal that we are here, and we get to do this. I will be sharing my tips and tricks on how to become a cosplayer and get into cosplay so I will be here all weekend.”