The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel

The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel
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Saleh Abdullah Kamel. (Supplied)
The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel
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Sheikh Saleh was the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, an international organization part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which was the sole representative of the private sector in 57 Islamic countries. (Supplied)
The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel
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A philanthropist and an advocate for Islamic finance and education, Sheikh Saleh Kamel was a believer in the value of education and volunteerism. (Supplied)
The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel
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Updated 20 May 2020

The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel

The legacy of Saudi tycoon Saleh Kamel
  • Memories from some of those who knew him best of a man who from humble beginnings achieved great things

RIYADH: Saleh Kamel, the Saudi billionaire who rose from humble beginnings to achieve great success as a businessman, media tycoon and philanthropist, died on Monday and has been buried in Makkah — but his legacy is sure to endure.
Even at the age of 79, despite suffering from age-related health issues, Kamel remained active and busy. Turki Al-Dakhil, the Saudi ambassador to the UAE, said in a message posted on Twitter that Kamel, also known as Sheikh Saleh, had called him to share Ramadan greetings.
“He then contacted me throughout the first two weeks (of Ramadan) to facilitate the evacuation of two (Saudi) men who were suffering from chronic diseases,” Al-Dakhil added. “He sponsored their travel through a private jet.”
Kamel was born in Makkah in 1941 to a middle-class family. His father worked in the government sector and was appointed general manager of the Saudi cabinet office.
Abdul Aziz Khoja, a former minister of media and Saudi ambassador to Lebanon and Morocco, met Kamel in high school and their friendship endured for more than 60 years.

Saleh Kamel was a thinker and a Samaritan, who devoted his time and energy to the greater good. We lost a good man.

Abdul Aziz Khoja, Former minister of media and Saudi ambassador to Lebanon and Morocco

“He was my childhood friend,” said Khoja. “He served the Arab and Islamic community throughout his life. He made huge efforts to establish Islamic banks and financing.
“He was a thinker and a Samaritan, who devoted his time and energy to the greater good. We lost a good man.”
Kamel’s professional career began early in life, at the age of eight.
“One of the first businesses I launched was when I asked my mother to make me balela (a traditional chickpea soup), and I sold it to my friends in the street,” Kamel said during an interview with the Success Makers TV show.
After attending elementary and middle school in Makkah and Taif, and high school in Jeddah, he graduated from King Saud University in Riyadh in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
While in college, he started a small business called “Dar and Maktab Al-Kashaf Al-Saudi” that sold printed copies of his notes to fellow students. After graduating, he worked at the Saudi Ministry of Finance.
“I joined the ministry to learn and gain knowledge,” Kamel said. “I never dreamed of getting a higher position at the ministry. I used to work as a financial representative at the ministry and had to work with all the ministries in Riyadh, Taif, Jeddah and Madinah. In this job, I gained experience in all sectors and fields.”
After 10 years with the ministry, Kamel moved to the private sector. He founded his flagship Dallah Al-Baraka Holding Company in 1969 in Riyadh, and expanded its activities through Dallah Al-Baraka Group to include financial and banking services, health care, manufacturing, real estate, tourism, trading and more. Dallah Al-Baraka Group also has the honor of being chosen to clean and sterilize the Two Holy Mosques.
Kamel said that the Dallah in the company name came from the nickname for Abdullah that is common in the Saudi western region.
“My grandmother used to call my father Dallah, so I used the name for my big company,” he said.
Kamel was also a well-known investor in the media and satellite television production. He established Arab Radio and Television and formed a partnership with the Arab MBC channel.
Dubbed “the father of contemporary Islamic finance,” he received Malaysia’s Royal Award for Islamic Finance in November 2010. The tycoon’s wealth was estimated to be about $2.3 billion. The businessman’s life and career was based on change, he once said in an interview.
“If I start a business and it becomes a routine, I lose interest in it,” he said. “I am not a daily manager. So after the work settles, I lose my interest in it and I make a new project.”
Kamel believed that all people should have dignity and that all lives are precious and deserve to be honored. He said that he aspired to creating jobs.
“My ambition is to have a strong Saudi economy and a strong foundation, and secondly to create jobs for the unemployed,” he said.
As the chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it was his hope that every chamber in the Kingdom would focus on reducing unemployment, saying: “If we eliminate unemployment, we eliminate terrorism.”
Mowafaq Al-Nowaiser, the editor-in-chief of Makkah newspaper, said that he will remember Kamel fondly.
“The first time I met him was in his home in 2013, at the meeting that was the birth of Makkah newspaper,” he said.
Al-Nowaiser said that when Kamel founded Makkah newspaper, he wanted in particular to highlight the obituary section, to give the families of the deceased a platform to mourn their loved ones.
“He told me: (The deceased) might not be known around the world; however, they mean the world to their family and loved ones,” said Al-Nowaiser.
Although he ran several successful companies, Kamel still made time for culture. He was an avid reader and culturally engaged on an international scale.
For all his success and accomplishments, Kamel never forgot his roots and one place meant more to him than any other.
“The city of Makkah was very dear to him. He wanted to serve it and everything that has to do with it. It had a very special place in his heart,” said Al-Nowaiser. “He was an intellect. Whether in economy or finance, he spoke in numbers and conversations with him were deep.”


OIC to hold emergency meeting to discuss Jerusalem and Gaza, at request of Saudi Arabia

Palestinians react in front of the remains of destroyed building after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP)
Palestinians react in front of the remains of destroyed building after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP)
Updated 16 min 31 sec ago

OIC to hold emergency meeting to discuss Jerusalem and Gaza, at request of Saudi Arabia

Palestinians react in front of the remains of destroyed building after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP)
  • The meeting between foreign ministers of member nations will address continuing Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories

RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem and Gaza, at the request of Saudi Arabia, it was reported on Thursday.

The meeting between foreign ministers of OIC member nations will address continuing Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories, which have escalated since Monday.

Israeli troops were massing at the Gaza border on Thursday, while Hamas hit Israel with rockets in intense hostilities that have caused international concern and touched off clashes between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

As fears grow that violence could spiral out of control into a full-blown war, the US announced Wednesday it was sending an envoy, Hady Amr, to the region.


Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia

Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia
Updated 13 May 2021

Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia

Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia
  • An Nasim is the first Acheulean site to be dated in the Nefud Desert, say researchers
  • Evidence of diverse species of small-to-large mammals can be found at the sites of these palaeolakes in the Nefud

RIYADH: An important archaeological site showing signs of ancient human activity dating back 350,000 years has been discovered in the Hail region of northern Saudi Arabia.

According to a scientific report published in the journal Nature, An Nasim is the first Acheulean site to be dated in the Nefud Desert. Acheulean technology refers to the distinctive style of oval and pear-shaped stone tools believed to have been developed about 1.7 million years ago by the archaic humans that preceded modern homo sapiens. It is thought these “hand axes” remained in use until as recently as 130,000 years ago.

The report — titled “The Expansion of Acheulean Hominins into the Nefud Desert of Arabia” — notes that until now, detailed knowledge of the Acheulean in the region was limited to a single, well-documented site: Saffaqah, in central Saudi Arabia.

However, tools were also found in the Nefud Desert. Researchers at An Nasim discovered evidence of what was once a deep lake, probably freshwater, as well as features associated with the Middle Pleistocene era, which covers the period from about 780,000 to 130,000 years ago.

Jasir Al-Harbash, CEO of the Kingdom’s Heritage Commission, told Arab News: “Many sites have been discovered and are under study.”

HIGHLIGHT

According to a scientific report published in the journal Nature, An Nasim is the first Acheulean site to be dated in the Nefud Desert. Acheulean technology refers to the distinctive style of oval and pear-shaped stone tools believed to have been developed about 1.7 million years ago by the archaic humans that preceded modern homo sapiens. It is thought these ‘hand axes’ remained in use until as recently as 130,000 years ago.

However the discovery in the Nefud Desert is particularly important, he added, because it is “the oldest dated site of the Acheulean period in Saudi Arabia.”

Surveys by the Green Arabian Project (GAP) in the past 10 years have confirmed that the Arabian Peninsula experienced climate changes during the Pleistocene era that produced wetter conditions, which affected the movement and distribution of humans within and between continents. This is particularly true of Acheulean communities, who appear to have been more tethered to water sources than others.

An Nasim offers insights into the diverse stone tool assemblages used by Middle Pleistocene humans in the region, probably indicating their repeated return to the peninsula during the wetter “Green Arabia” climate phases.

The site includes a deep, narrow basin with outcrops in the central part, where several artifacts from the early Palaeolithic era were discovered. About 354 items were collected, primarily hand axes and stone “flakes” cut from a rock core. The survey found that the archaeological materials are closely associated with the lake. The report notes that the tools are similar to those found elsewhere in the Nefud Desert. The presence of some of the flaked pieces suggest that the raw materials were brought to the site and some discarded after testing. Other pieces had been partly shaped before being abandoned.

Broader surveys of the Nefud Desert have found that local quartzite rock was frequently used in undated Acheulean assemblages, including diverse sizes and shapes of hand axes.

The Acheulean tools at An Nasim have been dated to the late Middle Pleistocene era, about 350,000 to 250,000 years ago, when the formation of lakes was seemingly widespread in the Nefud Desert. In comparison tools found at the site at Saffaqah are more recent, dating back about 240,000 to 190,000 years.

The similarities between the Acheulean materials found at An Nasim and other undated Acheulean sites in the Nefud Desert indicates that the lakes that once existed in this region provided an important resource for the expansion of humans in the region, and a viable habitation environment for them and other mammals.

Evidence of diverse species of small-to-large mammals can be found at the sites of these palaeolakes in the Nefud, indicating the migration of animals to the region during wet phases and suggesting the availability of fauna as food sources at watering holes.

With the participation of Saudi experts, the Kingdom’s Heritage Commission has been working on the GAP scientific program in collaboration with counterparts from the Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for Human Development. It focuses on studying climate changes in the Arabian Peninsula over time, and the immigration of ancient humans into Arabia and their settlement there.

Previous GAP studies have found evidence of hundreds of paleolakes, rivers and forests, and the animals they helped to sustain, around which successive civilizations emerged thanks to the mild climate at that time.

Late last year, the Heritage Commission announced that the footprints of humans, elephants, camels and predatory animals had been found at the site of what was once lake, dating back more than 120,000 years, in Tabuk. They are believed to be the oldest footprints of man and animals found in the Arabian Peninsula.

Through the GAP, the Heritage Commission carries out intensive surveys and systematic excavations to identify and gain insight into ancient climatic conditions and the nature of the prevailing environment in Arabia’s past, as well as the movement of humans. This is part of the Commission’s efforts to excavate, preserve and promote archaeological sites in the Kingdom as part of Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Harbash highlighted the importance of cooperation between local and international teams in excavating and researching antiquities in the Arabian Peninsula. He added that joint projects are in progress with more than 20 of the most prestigious international institutes and universities involved in archaeological research and excavation.


Saudi air defenses intercept 8 UAVs and 3 ballistic missiles launched by Houthis from Yemen

Saudi air defenses intercept 8 UAVs and 3 ballistic missiles launched by Houthis from Yemen
Updated 13 May 2021

Saudi air defenses intercept 8 UAVs and 3 ballistic missiles launched by Houthis from Yemen

Saudi air defenses intercept 8 UAVs and 3 ballistic missiles launched by Houthis from Yemen

RIYADH:  Saudi air defenses have intercepted and destroyed eight drones and three ballistic missiles targetting Saudi Arabia, the Arab Coalition supporting  supporting Yemen's legitimate government said on Thursday.

In a statement announced on Twitter, the Coalition said the UAVs and missiles were launched by the Iran-back Houthi militia in Yemen.

The new attacks came as fighting for Yemen’s strategic Marib city continued and despite calls by the UN for the Houthis to halt the violence.


Diverse Eid celebrations return to Saudi Arabia

Diverse Eid celebrations return to Saudi Arabia
Updated 13 May 2021

Diverse Eid celebrations return to Saudi Arabia

Diverse Eid celebrations return to Saudi Arabia
  • After a month of fasting and performing religious rituals, many gearing up for breakfast feasts with close family

KHAFJI/JEDDAH/MAKKAH: Last year’s Eid was limited to small celebrations at home due to the 24-hour curfew imposed across the Kingdom during the five-day holiday to tackle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, the situation has transformed this year, as people are more reassured and eager to celebrate the occasion with their families.

After a month of fasting and performing religious rituals, many are gearing up for Eid with morning prayers with their neighbors and breakfast feasts with close family.

The Hijazi feast, for example, is always full of traditional sweet and savory dishes such as the ta’ateemah, dibyaza, harees, ma’asoup, and fatoot bread.

All of these dishes are well known in the Hijaz region, where they are commonly prepared and served by grandmothers, to ensure that the whole family gathers on the first day.

Haneen Fahad, a mother in her 40s, said that Eid prayers are dear to many Saudis as it is the occasion’s first social gathering, where they meet and greet those living around them.

“One of the things I really admire is preparing some giveaway gifts for my kids to distribute to other kids at the mosque after Eid prayers,” she told Arab News.

She added that nothing can be compared to the spiritual, thrilling feeling of the first day. “There is so much fun. Once the whole family is gathered, a lot of activities start, where elder relatives start to distribute Eidiya money to kids and adults, families start to exchange gifts, and everyone looks neat, fresh and happy.”

After a morning full of food, money, gifts, new clothes, and fancy chocolates, Jeddawies tend to revive before the evening with what is colloquially referred to as the “Eid sleeping coma.” 

Although the pandemic disrupted many celebrations, the Eid rituals remain unforgettable in the hearts of the people. They long for the smallest details of Eid, with its social legacies and many customs that have been passed down for generations and remain in their memories. (Supplied)

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Hijazi feast is always full of traditional sweet and savory dishes such as the ta’ateemah, dibyaza, harees, ma’asoup, and fatoot bread. All of these dishes are well known in the Hijaz region, where they are commonly prepared and served by grandmothers, to ensure that the whole family gathers on the first day.

• In the southern part of the Kingdom, specifically in the Jazan region, people start to prepare for Eid two weeks earlier. The region is famous for its popular traditional dishes that are nutritionally rich, such as stews, fish, ghee, honey, pickles and others.

• Although the pandemic disrupted many celebrations in Makkah and Taif, the Eid rituals remain unforgettable in the hearts of the people. They long for the smallest details of Eid, with its social legacies and many customs that have been passed down for generations and remain in their memories.

Shatha Bukhari, a student at Dar Al-Hekmah, told Arab News: “After everyone has been up all morning until noon, the city gets quieter in the afternoon as everyone enjoys their Eid ‘sleeping coma’ to recharge for the night.”

Jeddawis usually have a second round of feasting in the evening, enjoying a barbecue dinner at home. On the second day, however, they prefer to dine in a fine restaurant, said Bukhari.

From west to south

In the southern part of the Kingdom, specifically in the Jazan region, people start to prepare for Eid two weeks earlier.

Nahla Zameem, a Jazani mother of four who has a family house located in Jazan city, gave Arab News some insight into the region’s traditions. She said that Jazani Eid is more of a big wedding to its people.

The ladies like to celebrate Eid the traditional way, using jasmine flowers, henna dye, and wearing traditional jalabiya as a way to express happiness, beauty and elegance.

The jasmine flowers are made into crowns and wrapped around the hair, and some choose to wear big jasmine necklaces up to 1-meter long. 

Although the pandemic disrupted many celebrations, the Eid rituals remain unforgettable in the hearts of the people. They long for the smallest details of Eid, with its social legacies and many customs that have been passed down for generations and remain in their memories. (Supplied)

The region’s ladies also book appointments with henna artists to decorate their arms and legs with temporary tattoos of different patterns. Henna is well-known in the Muslim world and is a reddish-brown dye made from the powdered leaves of a tropical shrub, used to color the hair and decorate the body.

The region is famous for its popular traditional dishes that are nutritionally rich, such as stews, fish, ghee, honey, pickles and others.

“Around 8 a.m. every Eid, all of the men in the neighborhood start to gather at my father’s house, where a huge breakfast is held, consisting of rows of popular food that may reach a length of a few meters, all of which is served in clay pots to give a wonderful authentic vibe,” Zameem added.

One of the things I really admire is preparing some giveaway gifts for my kids to distribute to other kids at the mosque after Eid prayers.

Haneen Fahad

One of the most essential traditional Jazani dishes for Eid breakfast is the salt fish, also common among Egyptians and Palestinians during the religious festival. 

“We prepare salt fish almost a month earlier, where we clean the fish and stuff it with salt and preserve it by hanging it to dry under the sunlight. During Eid, we deep fry it for breakfast.”

Fireworks and folklore dances are also a big part of Eid celebrations in Jazan. Some of the famous dances are Jazani Ardha, or as Jazani people call it “Zlaf.”

Eastern Province corniche

In the Eastern Province, the corniche is a popular destination during Eid, with many having complete family visits and gatherings.

Mohammad Meshal, a young Saudi from Khafji, loves to spend the Eid among his family and relatives in his home, a small border town near Kuwait.

Before the COVID-19 situation, Meshal used to travel to Kuwait to go for walks and visit relatives, but precautions taken by the government put an end to his trips. But he is optimistic that despite the restrictions, “ traveling is not completely restricted, as I may travel again after May 17.”

Abdullah Al-Ayaf, a government employee, told Arab News that his family is used to corniche visits after the round of family gatherings are done. “I spend the first day of Eid somewhat officially, but on the second and third days, my family goes to the corniche, or we rent a small resort.”

DECODER

• Eidiya: Money that is usually given to children by elderly relatives, family, and friends as part of the celebration. The amount of money mostly varies from SR1 to SR500.

• Dibyaza: A dish made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peaches and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread.

• Ta’ateemah: The name of the breakfast feast that Hijazis enjoy on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. It is derived from the Arabic word ‘itmah,’ meaning darkness, because the dishes served are light, just like midnight snacks.

• Harees: Mashed wheat mixed with chunks of meat.

Saudi child Abdul Malik Al-Mofadhali said that his Eid starts off with his mother calling him to wake up for breakfast with the family. She is keen to dress him in white, especially if the holiday coincides with spring or summer.

Al-Mofadhali said that eating sweets and nuts of all kinds is his favorite part about Eid, shortly followed by the corniche. “We shop from the grocery store for water, juice, ice cream and baked goods prior to going to the corniche. I love this day.”

Eid in Makkah and Taif

Although the pandemic disrupted many celebrations in Makkah and Taif, the Eid rituals remain unforgettable in the hearts of the people. They long for the smallest details of Eid, with its social legacies and many customs that have been passed down for generations and remain in their memories. 

Although the pandemic disrupted many celebrations, the Eid rituals remain unforgettable in the hearts of the people. They long for the smallest details of Eid, with its social legacies and many customs that have been passed down for generations and remain in their memories. (Supplied)

Fahad Al-Harbi, mayor of Ray Zakhir in Makkah, said that Meccans get dressed up to the nines, reminiscing over their favorite memories about Eid celebrations in the city.

“They distribute lawziyeh (almond shortbread cookies), laymouniyeh and mushabbak. They would also exchange gifts and give chocolate to children,” he said, adding: “Families get artistic in their celebrations to preserve the remaining heritage, customs and traditions.”

He said that Makkah consists of a mixture of peoples and tribes that have blended together, where cultures have harmonized, highlighting the city’s beautiful unity. “Families under the same roof would find a variety of dishes, which underlines the beautiful tapestry that is Makkah.”

In Taif, not far away, markets are usually overcrowded before the arrival of Eid, especially the popular ones such as Souk Al-Balad.

Abdul Hadi Al-Mansouri, a resident of Taif, said that the best moments of Eid occur when the celebration coincides with the rainy and the blooming season, when the aroma of roses adorns clothes.

He added that activities usually take place at the famous Al-Rudaf Park and Al-Faisaliah garden, bringing joy to the hearts of the people, creating cheerful Eid celebrations.

Decoder

Eid celebrations

Eidiya: Money that is usually given to children by elderly relatives, family, and friends as part of the celebration. The amount of money mostly varies from SR1 to SR500.


Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission

Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission
Updated 13 May 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission

Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission

Dr. Mohammed Saud Al-Tamimi has been governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) since October 2019.

Al-Tamimi, who was recently awarded the King Abdulaziz Medal of the First Class following a royal order, has also been a deputy chair of a research group at the International Telecommunication Union since 2016.

He has also been a member of the Arbitration Committee at the European Telecommunication Networks Innovation Forum.

Al-Tamimi received his bachelor’s degree in telecommunication engineering in 2003 from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran.

He also received a master’s degree in communication technologies and policy in 2005 from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

In 2014, he obtained a doctorate in telecommunication regulation economics from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also attended a one-year leadership development program at Harvard University in 2018.

Al-Tamimi joined CITC in 2003 as a regulation specialist and from 2006 until August 2009 worked as a licensing specialist.

For 15 months, beginning in August 2018, he served as the acting deputy governor for consumer protection and partnership at CITC. Prior to that, he worked as a deputy governor for regulation and competition until his appointment as governor.

During the last annual Information and Communications Technology Indicators Forum, held in March, Al-Tamimi described the telecommunications market in the Kingdom as the most developed in the Middle East and North Africa region.