Egyptians pay tribute to Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel

Egyptians pay tribute to Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel
Saudi businessman Saleh Abdullah Kamel (L), chairman and founder of the Dallah al Baraka Group (DBG) and also the chairman of the General Council for Islamic Banks, arrives for the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 14, 2015. (REUTERS)
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Updated 20 May 2020

Egyptians pay tribute to Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel

Egyptians pay tribute to Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel
  • Egyptian member of parliament, Mohamed Abou El-Enein, said Kamel was one of the pioneers of the Arab economy

CAIRO: Egyptians have been paying tribute to Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel who died in Jeddah on Monday after suffering a heart attack.

Members of the country’s business, political, religious, and entertainment communities joined in mourning the passing of the prominent figure.

Offering condolences to his family, Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb described Kamel, who was 79, as “a pioneer in charity activities.”

Billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris said he had lost a father and a brother, and added: “Arab nations, and Egypt especially, have lost a man who was a great philanthropist.”

Kamel, who was the chairman and founder of the Dallah Al-Baraka Group, one of the Middle East’s largest conglomerates, established part of his economic empire in Egypt including Arab Radio and Television (ART), and Al-Baraka Bank. He also used the ART Institution to fund charity projects throughout Egypt.

Egyptian actor Mohamed Sobhy recalled Kamel’s role in producing his most famous TV series, “Wanees’s Diaries,” describing him as a friend, father, and mentor.

Posting on Facebook, Sobhy said: “You were a loving person. I tell you how much I love you and give you credit for producing the best Arab family series that was broadcast on ART. You loved Egypt and you gave it a lot of devotion.”

Egyptian member of parliament, Mohamed Abou El-Enein, said Kamel was one of the pioneers of the Arab economy. “He shouldered the responsibility of spreading the multi-investment approach and opening economic borders among Arab states.

“His investments brought good and welfare to the Arab world at large and contributed in creating international partnerships on the private-sector level.

“His investments further paved the way for more fruitful cooperation between businessmen in all investment fields,” he added.


Members of Egypt’s business, political, religious, and entertainment communities joined in mourning the passing of the prominent figure.

He pointed out that Kamel was also the pioneer of Arab media in its modern form through his ART project. “He was the first to bring Arab peoples to watch one screen that melted languages and cultural differences as well as sports fanaticism.

“He unified Arabs on one goal, joint ambitions, and rich cultures. The Arab nation will never forget the good deeds of Sheikh Saleh Kamel and he will always be remembered.”

Abou El-Enein noted that Kamel started out as an entrepreneur “who utilized his study of commerce as a way toward brilliance and success,” and said his journey should be highlighted in business and economic studies. He added that the Arab youth should follow his lead in order to achieve success.

He also praised Kamel’s charity activities which he said had left a scientific legacy for students from around the world to benefit from.

He established the Saleh Kamel Center for Islamic Economics at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, the Jeddah Science and Technology Center, and the Center for Islamic Economics Research at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz University.

“His charity activities were not only in Saudi Arabia but in all Arab countries. He was known for his love of pure Arab nationalism and his passion for his second country Egypt,” added Abou El-Enein.

Kamel had always been a strong supporter of Egypt and in March 2015 headed a delegation of 100 businessmen and investors at a major conference in Sharm El-Sheikh aimed at boosting the Egyptian economy.

In one of his most famous quotes about Egypt, Kamel said: “If Egypt was infected with the flu, Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would sneeze.”

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

Updated 04 December 2020

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

BAJET KANDALA CAMP, Iraq: For half a decade, Zedan suffered recurring nightmares about militants overrunning his hometown in northern Iraq. The 21-year-old Yazidi was just starting to recover when COVID-19 revived his trauma.
Zedan had lost several relatives when Daesh stormed into Sinjar, the rugged heartland of the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq’s northwest.
The militants killed Yazidi men, took the boys as child soldiers and forced the women into sexual slavery.
Zedan and the surviving members of his family fled, finding refuge in the Bajet Kandala camp near the Syrian border where they still live today.
“We used to be farmers living a good life. Then IS (Daesh) came,” he said, wringing his hands.
In a pre-fabricated building hosting the camp’s mental health clinic, Zedan shared his traumas with Bayda Othman, a psychologist for international NGO Premiere Urgence. Zedan refers to the violence of 2014 vaguely as “the events.”
The UN says they may constitute something much more serious: Genocide.
“I started having nightmares every night. I would see men in black coming to kill us,” Zedan said, telling Othman that he had attempted suicide several times. He has been seeing her for years, learning how to cope with his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through breathing exercises that she taught him.
Earlier this year, his nightly panic attacks stopped. Finally, he could sleep again. But only for a few months.
In March, Iraq declared a nationwide lockdown to try to contain the spread of Covid-19. Zedan broke down.
“I fear that my family could catch the virus or give it to me,” he said. “It obsesses me.”
As lockdown dragged on, Zedan’s brother lost his job at a stationery shop on the edge of the camp.
“There’s no more money coming into the family now. Just thinking about it gives me a panic attack,” he said.
“The nightmares returned, and so did my desire to die.”
Out of Iraq’s 40 million citizens, one in four is mentally vulnerable, the World Health Organization says.
But the country is in dire shortage of mental health specialists, with only three per 1 million people.


The Daesh extremists killed Yazidi men, took the boys as child soldiers and forced the women into sexual slavery.

Speaking about trauma or psychological problems is widely considered taboo, and patients who spoke to AFP agreed to do so on the condition that only their first names would be used.
In camps across Iraq, which still host some 200,000 people displaced by violence, the pandemic has pushed many people with psychological problems into remission, Othman said.
“We noticed a resurgence of PTSD cases, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts,” she told AFP.
In October, there were three attempted suicides in Bajet Kandala alone by displaced people, who said their movements outside the camp were restricted by the lockdown, or whose economic situation had deteriorated even further.
A tissue factory who fired people en masse, a potato farm that shut down, a haberdashery in growing debt: Unemployment is a common thread among Othman’s patients.
“It leads to financial problems, but also a loss of self-confidence, which rekindles trauma,” she said.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about a quarter of Iraqis who were employed prior to lockdown have been permanently laid off.
Youth were particularly hard hit: 36 percent of 18-24 years old who had been employed were dismissed, the ILO said.
A new patient in her forties walked toward the clinic, her hair covered in a sky-blue veil.
Once settled in a faux-leather chair, Jamila revealed that she, too, feels destabilized by the pandemic.
The Yazidi survivor lives in a one-room tent with her son and four daughters. But she doesn’t feel at home.
“I have totally abandoned my children. I feel all alone even though they’re always at home. I hit them during my panic attacks — I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.
Othman tried to soothe Jamila, telling her: “Hatred is the result of untreated sadness. We take it out on relatives, especially when we feel devalued — men prey on women, and women on children.”
But the trauma is not just an issue for the displaced, specialists warn.
“With the isolation and lack of access to care, children who have lived a genocide develop difficulties as they become adults,” said Lina Villa, the head of the mental health unit at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in northern Iraq.
“We fear suicide rates will go up in the years to come.”