New Zealand terror victims’ families arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj

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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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James Munro, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, speaks with the families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, upon their arrival at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2019

New Zealand terror victims’ families arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj

  • King Salman last month directed that the families of the attack on two mosques that killed 51 people, are hosted for this year’s pilgrimage
  • The reception was attended by New Zealand ambassador to the Kingdom James Monro and other officials

JEDDAH: Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack have arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
The pilgrims flew into King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Friday.
King Salman last month directed that the families of the attack on two mosques that killed 51 people, are hosted for this year’s pilgrimage.
They were received by the director of passports at the airport, Col. Sulaiman Al-Yousef.
The reception was attended by New Zealand ambassador to the Kingdom James Monro and other officials.
Monro said the invitation from King Salman was an “exceptionally noble gesture.”
“This move was highly appreciated by the people of New Zealand, not only by the visiting pilgrims,” he said.
The attack on worshippers at Al-Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch during Friday prayers in March sparked a global outcry.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, also wounded 49 people when he opened fire on the mosques. His trial is due to begin next year.
About 6,000 pilgrims will perform Hajj this year as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ guests program for Hajj and Umrah, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
King Salman has issued directives to host 2,000 family members of Yemeni soldiers, 1,000 pilgrims from Sudan, 200 family members of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, and 1,000 family members of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
The total number of beneficiaries of the program since its inauguration has reached 53,747 pilgrims from around the world.
Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said that hosting the families during the Hajj season was part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all its forms.
Earlier, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin reiterated the Kingdom’s call to pilgrims to dedicate their time to performing Hajj rituals, and to be considerate of their fellow pilgrims.
They must focus on feeling the spirituality of the journey and distance themselves from distractions, such as sectarian or political slogans, the minister said.
“The Kingdom will not tolerate conduct that disturbs Hajj rituals, and the authorities will take the necessary measures to prevent them.”


Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

Updated 17 October 2019

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

  • Intellectuals, diplomats discuss challenge of blending cultures, faiths and values

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The European envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.

Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.

Organized by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), the event gathered together top intellectuals, diplomats and scholars to debate the issues of tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of others.

Opening the lecture at the King Faisal Foundation building in Riyadh, d’Urso spoke about tolerance and how it was core to the transformation of societies, especially in Europe which had become more diverse.

“Today’s European society is a mixture of cultures, faiths, values, ideas, and habits. The challenge is to make sure our society is more inclusive, enhance mutual understanding and promote tolerance and respect,” the envoy said.

He pointed to the UN’s blossoming partnership with the KFCRIS and the importance of the lecture as key building blocks in the process of bridging cultural and religious gaps between societies.

“I think there are few more teams that are exchanging on the Saudi and European perspectives of religious tolerance and diversity. All of us know that the KFCRIS builds from the legacy of the late King Faisal and has been a pillar in promoting Islam,” d’Urso added.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.
  • Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.
  • The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

He noted that in Europe there were many people of faith that had respect for coexistence. 

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.

He said a state that respected others, human existence and brotherhood could not exist “unless there is respect for diversity and differences as a universal norm that no one can collide.”

According to Al-Issa, the Charter of Madinah (regarded as the first Islamic state constitution) was considered one of the best achievements of civil legislation in human history. “This document was held by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the Jews and represented binding legislation for Muslims toward religious minorities.”

The MWL chief noted that the document included the protection of civil and religious rights. “The document cannot be absorbed by extremism, it is clear. These rights and freedoms have been preserved by this legislation. And the Prophet Muhammad coexisted with everyone and understood these differences and diversity.”

In his speech, Al-Issa explained how the Qur’an gave Jews and Christians a special name to celebrate their religious origins where they were called “people of the book,” in reference to the Torah and the Gospel. The history of Christians and Jews was also never omitted.

Addressing the event, director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

“We encounter such a diversity of ways of being Muslim from a theoretical, cultural, philosophical, ideological point of view. Any single Muslim group or community is represented somewhere in Europe and this situation puts European Muslims in a very unique environment which is different from any other Islamic majority society in the world,” said Privot.

He pointed out that for the first time in history Muslim groups from Uzbekistan and Senegal were living together and trying to become a community in European societies.

“Societies, which have completely liberalized the market of religions, believe all faiths are accepted,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, an MWL forum in Makkah recommended that Islamic discourse should adhere to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslims’ uppermost legislative sources, which are also known as the Two Divine Revelations.

The forum, titled “The Service of the Two Revelations,” called upon concerned authorities in the Muslim world to regulate Islamic fatwas in a way that prevented extremism and stopped producing any misguided explanations of the divinely revealed texts.

The participants also encouraged the use of modern technology, especially social media, to better serve the Qur’an and Sunnah to help link Muslim youths with the two revelations.

In addition, the gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the MWL.

Al-Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and said there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7,500 students were studying the Qur’an.

“Some 61,275 Qur’an readers have graduated from these institutes, with 5,055 reciters having obtained authentic reading certificates. The IOQAS (International Organization of Qitab and Sunnah) has also carried out 193 training courses and provided nearly 3,000 scholarships,” he said.