Saudi Hajj ministry launches Twitter awareness campaign in 13 languages including Urdu

Ministry official Ayman Al-Arfaj said two additional Twitter accounts, @mohu_En and @mohu_INTL, were launched to reach a wider audience. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 August 2019
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Saudi Hajj ministry launches Twitter awareness campaign in 13 languages including Urdu

  •  The service started with hundreds of tweets accompanied by the Arabic hashtag #Your_Hajj_in_your_Own_Language
  •  The Arafat Sermon app also offers live translation of the sermon in Urdu

MINA: Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry has launched a Twitter service to help answer pilgrims’ frequently asked questions.
The service started with hundreds of tweets - accompanied by the Arabic hashtag #Your_Hajj_in_your_Own_Language - that were translated into 13 languages, including Chinese, French, Russian, Thai and Urdu.
The account covers all Hajj procedures for pilgrims, from registering with authorized Hajj service providers to the time of their departure. Ministry official Ayman Al-Arfaj said two additional Twitter accounts, @mohu_En and @mohu_INTL, were launched to reach a wider audience as well as increase engagement through technology.
“It is also meant to spread reassurance and harmony among the guests of Allah,” he told Arab News. “Around 60 people were deployed to achieve this work. These include researchers, translators, editors, content managers and graphic designers. We have started distributing hundreds of thousands of (pages) of printed material among pilgrims for the same purpose. The Hajj and Umrah minister, Dr. Mohammed Saleh Benten and his Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, are always keen to provide pilgrims with reliable and authentic information. This can help eliminate illegal Hajj campaigns. It can also lend a hand in promoting awareness and help pilgrims make their rituals in the right way.
Al-Arfaj said the initiative aimed to expand global communication with Muslims through social media. “This initiative can help us spread Hajj-related information that pilgrims need before their arrival and during their journey of faith.”
Another technological development is the Arafat Sermon app, which will offer a live translation of the sermon in the Chinese language for the first time this year.  The app was launched in 2018 and initially offered translations of the sermon in English, Farsi, French, Malay and Urdu.
The day of Arafat marks the culmination of Hajj and it is where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered his final sermon.  A sermon is given at Masjid-e-Nimra, Mount Arafat, every year.


Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

Updated 16 September 2019

Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

  • The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: A crowd in Pakistan ransacked a school and Hindu temple after a Hindu principal was accused of blasphemy, police said on Monday, the latest case to raise concern about the fate of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.
The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy in comments about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The enraged crowd ransacked the school and damaged a nearby temple, a district police chief said.
The principal had been taken into protective custody and police were investigating both the alleged blasphemy and the rioters, he added.
“It seems the principal had not done anything intentionally,” the district police chief, Furrukh Ali, told Reuters.
Insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.
No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but enraged mobs sometimes kill people accused of it.
Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often exploited by religious hard-liners as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle scores.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the weekend violence, footage of which was recorded in a video and circulated on social media. It called on authorities should take prompt action.
“The video ... is chilling: mob violence against a member of a religious minority is barbaric, unacceptable,” the commission said in a post on Twitter.
Hindus make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian women who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in a case that had drawn alarm from religious and human rights advocates.
In March, Pakistan’s government sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus as tension between Pakistan and Hindu-majority neighbor India ran high after a militant attack in the Indian-controlled portion of the contested Kashmir region.