Saudi Arabia reopens mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown

Saudi Arabia reopens mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown
1 / 3
Worshipers have been ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia reopens mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown
2 / 3
Worshipers have been ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia reopens mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown
3 / 3
Worshipers have been ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 04 June 2020

Saudi Arabia reopens mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown

Saudi Arabia reopens mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown
  • The government has asked people to keep a distance of two meters between rows, wear face masks and to bring their own prayer mats
  • The Friday sermon prayer should not exceed 15 minutes, authorities warned

Across Saudi Arabia 90,000 mosques have reopened for the first time in more than two months, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

Worshipers have been ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

The government has asked people to keep a distance of two meters between rows, wear face masks and to bring their own prayer mats.

Mosques were cleaned and sterilized by local authorities, including Qurans and Quran holders. Precaution has also been taken when opening doors and windows during prayer times and when worshipers enter the mosques.

Mosques will be opened 15 minutes before the call to prayer and will close 10 minutes after prayer.

The first call to prayer on Fridays will start 20 minutes before prayer time, and mosques will be opened 20 minutes before and will close 20 minutes after. The Friday sermon prayer should not exceed 15 minutes, authorities warned.

The new measures come as Saudi Arabia and other countries around the world begin to loosen restrictions following weeks of curfews and lockdowns.

Also Sunday, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that had been closed since mid-March reopened for prayers. Worshipers waited outside the gates, many wearing surgical masks. As they entered, they were stopped to have their temperature taken.


Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail

Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail
Former reporter and jazz and blues singer, Loulwa Al-Sharif has been singing for seven years. The larger-than-life singer has been the talk of the town for years, delivering high and low notes with passion. (Supplied)
Updated 37 min 16 sec ago

Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail

Soul sisters: Meet the Saudi women blazing a musical trail
  • Social reforms open doors for female musicians in traditional male field

JEDDAH: Saudi female musicians and performers are hitting the high notes and creating crowd-pleasing beats for Saudi fans.

Jazz and blues, rock, rap and many other genres have been explored by Saudis, but now more Saudi women are making their way to the performance stage, thanks to social reforms that mean career choices that once were taboo are now supported by many.
Saudi electronic music producer and DJ Nouf Sufyani, known as Cosmicat, told Arab News that has been obsessed with music since childhood.
“My love for music was overwhelming and kept leading me back until I started making my own,” the 27-year-old said.
In 2017, Sufyani began gaining attention in the male-dominated field because of her unique style.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dental medicine and surgery, and worked as a dentist for a while before pursuing her music career.
“It’s a struggle proving myself in a male-dominated industry, and there is also the fear of being a social outcast for what I do since it’s not a traditional job and the style of music I play is not really mainstream,” said Sufyani.
Music is “the motivation that keeps me going every day — it’s a form of art that I keep rediscovering over and over.”
Sufyani taught herself to DJ. “I do electronic music, I love to use my voice and some Arabic poetry or spoken word or even a capella. I make music that can be enjoyed on the dance floor; my flavor is more underground and very personal.”

Saudi electronic music producer and DJ Nouf Sufyani, known as Cosmicat, told Arab News that has been obsessed with music since childhood.

Her music is available on major platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Anghami, Deezer and Soundcloud, and is also played on the flight entertainment system of Saudi Airlines.
Lamya Nasser, a 33-year-old facility and travel management officer, developed an interest in rock and metal at the age of nine, and began recording her music in 2008, long before the social reforms, as part of the first Saudi female rock band the Accolade.
“What got me started is my love and passion for rock music, how much I can relate to a lot of its messages and how it shaped my character along the way,” she told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Jazz and blues, rock, rap and many other genres have been explored by Saudis, but now more Saudi women are making their way to the performance stage, thanks to social reforms that mean career choices that once were taboo are now supported by many.

“I started my journey with the Accolade back when I was 21 and a student at King Abdul Aziz University. I got to know a very talented guitar player named Dina and along with her sister we formed the band.”
In that year, the band visited Khaled Abdulmanan, a music producer in Jeddah at Red Sand Production. They have recorded three songs: “Pinocchio” (2008), “Destiny” (2009) and her favorite, “This is not me” (2010).
After the women graduated, they went their separate ways. “Sadly, we weren’t able to gather for rehearsals like we used to, and each one of us started her own career.”
In 2018, Nasser went solo and continues to share her performances on Instagram @Lamya.K.Nasser. She recently joined a new recording studio under the name of Wall of Sound.

Lamya Nasser, a 33-year-old facility and travel management officer, developed an interest in rock and metal at the age of nine, and began recording her music in 2008.

“Music can be the fuel to our soul and regenerate our energy. We can translate our pain and express ourselves through music,” she said.
Nasser said that the song “Pinocchio” had more than 19,000 listens on Soundcloud. “It made me truly happy and proud. Even now I still messages on my Instagram account from time to time from beautiful souls sharing their admiration for Accolade’s music,” she said.
Former reporter and jazz and blues singer, 33-year-old Loulwa Al-Sharif (@loulwa_music) has been singing for seven years. The larger-than-life singer has been the talk of the town for years, delivering high and low notes with passion.

Music is the motivation that keeps me going every day — it’s a form of art that I keep rediscovering over and over.
Cosmicat

“I tried working in different fields since I was 17, and decided to leave journalism three years ago to work on what I’m passionate about,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.
“I was one of very few women performing six years ago. It was a little difficult. There were talented females, but no one was singing live in front of an audience. I was maybe the first or second,” she said. “It was hard, but a lot of people were supporting me.” She described music as raw emotion.
“Blues is real emotion and jazz is unpredictable, I love how unpredictable it is from the sound of the piano — there are no rules, and the lyrics from blues music are so real.”
Al-Sharif hopes to educate the new generation on jazz and blues through her performances.
“I chose to sing it back then because not many from the new generation listen to jazz and blues, so I really wanted to bring it back and for people to enjoy it.”


5.6 million arrested for residency, labor, border violations across Saudi Arabia

5.6 million arrested for residency, labor, border violations across Saudi Arabia
More than 5.6 million violators arrested in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 3 min 33 sec ago

5.6 million arrested for residency, labor, border violations across Saudi Arabia

5.6 million arrested for residency, labor, border violations across Saudi Arabia
  • The report said that 116,908 people were arrested while trying to cross the border into Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: More than 5.6 million violators of residency, work and border security systems have been arrested in the Kingdom, according to an official report.

Since the campaign began on Nov. 15, 2017 — and up to June 16, 2021 — there have been 5,615,884 offenders, including 4,304,206 for violating residency regulations, 802,125 for labor violations and 509,553 for border violations.

The report said that 116,908 people were arrested while trying to cross the border into the Kingdom: 43 percent were Yemeni citizens, 54 percent were Ethiopians and 3 percent were from other nationalities.

In addition, 9,508 people were arrested for trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 8,222 were arrested for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

Some 2,766 Saudis were arrested for harboring violators against local laws, of whom five were being detained pending the completion of procedures.

The total number of violators being subjected to procedures was 53,916, including 49,954 men and 3,962 women.

Immediate penalties were imposed against 714,208 offenders, 901,700 were transferred to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents, 1,047,340 were transferred to complete their travel reservations, and 1,553,667 were deported.

 


Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020

Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020
A Saudi money exchanger wears gloves as he counts Saudi riyal currency at a currency exchange shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 12 min 48 sec ago

Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020

Saudi customs seize $24 million illegal cash since early 2020
  • Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (GAZT) prevented the smuggling of more than 290 kilograms of gold jewelry and almost SR90 million ($24 million) in cash from crossing out of the Kingdom over the span of 18 months since the beginning of 2020.
As part of efforts to combat smuggling through its facilities in Saudi Arabia, GAZT officers were able to foil an attempt on Friday to smuggle SR2.76 million in cash hidden inside a truck leaving through the Al-Batha Border Port.
GAZT officials said that the money was “stashed in the cavity of the rear axles of the truck,” adding that legal measures were taken against the smuggler.
In another smuggling operation foiled on May 27, inspectors were alerted to a suspicious female passenger arriving at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport. She was found to have ingested 60 capsules, or 683.5 grams of cocaine. Similarly, a male passenger had ingested 80 capsules, containing 918.5 grams of cocaine.

FASTFACT

Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare the items electronically through the GAZT application or website.

Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare the items electronically through the GAZT application or website by filling out the designated form electronically, and submitting the reference number to customs authorities upon departure or arrival.
GAZT said that in the event of a false or nondeclaration, a fine of 25 percent of the value of the seized items will be imposed.
If a violation is repeated, a fine of 50 percent of the value of the seized items will be handed down. This is applicable only if there is no suspicion of the incident being linked to a predicate crime or money laundering crime, but should there be any suspicion, the entire amount shall be withheld and the violator shall be referred to The Kingdom’s Public Prosecution.


Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term
Updated 50 min 13 sec ago

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

NEW YORK: Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, congratulated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on securing a second term.

Al-Mouallimi expressed the aspiration of the Saudi mission to continue working with the secretary-general in promoting peace and security around the world as well as ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, Al-Mouallimi chaired the virtual meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Contact Group with the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

The meeting tackled the latest political developments in Myanmar and the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

 


Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia

Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia
Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines and jail in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 58 min 26 sec ago

Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia

Fraudulent ad promoters on social media could face hefty fines, jail in Saudi Arabia
  • Ibrahim provides an alternate method for consumers to be informed about a product and avoid being fooled by influencers

JEDDAH: Those who promote and advertise fraudulent goods on social media sites have been warned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution that they could face up to three years in prison or a SR1 million ($267,000) fine, or both.
Victims of such misselling told Arab News of the emotional and financial costs of falling prey to such schemes.
Noaf Abdulaziz from Jeddah said that she had been deceived into purchasing products that were counterfeit. “There is this one very well-known influencer at a high caliber of fame who was promoting her own makeup brand. Due to her status and constant promotion of her products on social media, I figured they must be legit. I bought them (the products) and threw them out the same day. They weren’t anything like how she had described or promised. I felt like I was fooled.”
This is not an isolated incident for Abdulaziz. She said she wasted SR400 on a travel kit for women that was promoted on social media. “When I came to use it, everything fell apart and nothing worked. I paid for nothing. It was a waste,” she said. “I got tired of all the fakeness and money-hungry people who kept lying to us.” 
It is not only counterfeit beauty products that are being promoted.
Kawthar Ali, a mother of two, revealed how the nature of social media’s promotions of fraudulent products could affect a married couple. “A famous and admired influencer gave birth exactly four months after I did. Naturally, I followed her every move and saw the high-standard products she bought and advised to buy for our babies. I could not afford most of the mothercare products she promoted but I still insisted that my husband pay for them because as a mother you want the best of the best for your children,” she told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

When the fines were first announced in 2017, the Consumer Protection Association urged consumers to be aware of the exaggerated language that influencers can use to promote products or services and to remind themselves that influencers are being paid.

“This created a rift between my husband and I when the products were not up to par with how she promoted them.”
When the fines were first announced in 2017, the Consumer Protection Association urged consumers to be aware of the exaggerated language that influencers can use to promote products or services and to remind themselves that influencers are being paid.
“I’ve witnessed too many people I know being affected by promotions. I think people need to remember that these are all paid promotions and everything is exaggerated; they are being robbed of their time, effort and money by individuals who are profiting from lying to their viewers. It’s like a betrayal or a break of trust,” Manal Ibrahim, a designer in Jeddah, told Arab News.
Ibrahim also provides an alternate method for consumers to be informed about a product and avoid being fooled by influencers. “Certain brands have promotional pages on Instagram. This way a person can go to the page of the company, research the products themselves and read reviews on them before deciding to pay.”