Hajj minister hails royal decree on Saudi visas

Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in Makkah Sept. 22, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 11 September 2019

Hajj minister hails royal decree on Saudi visas

  • The decree canceled repeat Umrah fees
  • The royal decree aims to facilitate the arrival of Muslims to perform Hajj and Umrah

JEDDAH: The Saudi minister for Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Mohammad Salih Bentin, thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for issuing a royal decree canceling repeat Umrah fees.

Bentin said: “The royal decree is part of the leadership’s keenness to facilitate the arrival of Muslims from all over the world to perform Hajj and Umrah.”

He added that the decree reflects the Kingdom’s readiness to receive the increasing number of pilgrims due to huge infrastructure projects and the development of services in Makkah, Madinah and the holy places.

Bentin said the decree supports efforts to achieve one of the most important objectives of the Vision 2030 reform plan, which is to receive 30 million Umrah pilgrims by that year, and to provide them with great services so they can perform their rituals in comfort and tranquility.


Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

  • Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation (IPDC) on Wednesday launched the Dialogue Program 2020 among religious leaders and organizations in the Arab world.

KAICIID secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, said the center aims to enhance the culture of dialogue and coexistence, and highlight the value of human diversity.

He said the center also lays the foundations of understanding and collaboration among all religions and cultures, and highlights the importance of building a diverse culture.

The center provides sustainable solutions for today’s challenges, he added.

“Serious dialogue can enhance the role of interreligious institutions, helping to promote a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance in society,” he said. “The message of the center addresses all humankind and not a specific society.”

The terrorist events that ripped through the region were the result of fanaticism and hatred, he said, noting that people of all diverse and multiple backgrounds can coexist peacefully in society.

“Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions. The Document of Madinah included a comprehensive constitution that guides people of different religious backgrounds on how to live together peacefully and practice their religion freely, and, most importantly, enhance the values of coexistence, justice, security and peace among one another,” he added.

Bin Muaammar called on those who have the capability to fight the discourse of extremism, saying that dialogue can enhance “human principles and values such as mercy, respect, tolerance, peace and social solidarity.”

He also urged religious leaders and institutions, as well as policymakers, to promote such values and strengthen comprehensive citizenship.

“Those leaders and institutions can fight and confront the threats facing peaceful coexistence and tolerance, threats that are posed by extreme groups,” he said. “Religious institutions should enhance the culture of common citizenship, each in their society.”

KAICIID contributes to such efforts through its experience and collaboration with relevant institutions around the world.

The Dialogue Program 2020 promotes dialogue, common citizenship and coexistence in the Arab world through cooperation in a range of projects. It also challenges messages of hate locally, nationally and regionally.