Malaysia presents award to MWL secretary-general

Secretary General of the Muslim World League Mohammad Abdulkarim al-Issa gives a speech during a visit to the Nozyk Synagogue on January 24, 2020 in Warsaw. (AFP)
Secretary General of the Muslim World League Mohammad Abdulkarim al-Issa gives a speech during a visit to the Nozyk Synagogue on January 24, 2020 in Warsaw. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 August 2021

Malaysia presents award to MWL secretary-general

Secretary General of the Muslim World League Mohammad Abdulkarim al-Issa gives a speech during a visit to the Nozyk Synagogue on January 24, 2020 in Warsaw. (AFP)
  • The award is granted annually by the Malaysian government at the start of a new Hijri year to prominent international figures who play a key role in serving Islam and humanity

KULALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has granted Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General and Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa the Hijra of the Prophet award — the most prestigious award granted to Muslim scholars in the world.
The award was presented to Al-Issa as the most influential international Islamic figure in acknowledgment of his efforts in highlighting the truth and humanitarian message of Islam, promoting harmony among followers of different religions and spreading peace.
Al-Issa was honored for his efforts during a ceremony held by the Malaysian government to celebrate the new Islamic year. The ceremony was held in the presence of Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, government members and representatives of Islamic and non-Islamic states in the country.
The award is granted annually by the Malaysian government at the start of a new Hijri year to prominent international figures who play a key role in serving Islam and humanity.
Based in Makkah, the core activities of the MWL include holding conferences, seminars and meetings around the world, with participation from scholars, intellectuals and opinion leaders to debate and discuss topics of interest to Muslims and others. 


Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet condemns Houthi attack on UAE

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers held its weekly meeting that was chaired remotely by King Salman from the capital, Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers held its weekly meeting that was chaired remotely by King Salman from the capital, Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 18 January 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet condemns Houthi attack on UAE

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers held its weekly meeting that was chaired remotely by King Salman from the capital, Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The Kingdom emphasized its full support for the UAE against all threats to its security and stability
  • The ministers discussed several regional and international developments and approved a number of agreements

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reiterated its condemnation of a deadly attack that targeted an oil facility in the UAE capital a day earlier killing three people.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen launched a number of drones and ballistic missiles, causing three tankers to explode near storage facilities owned by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., and another fire also struck Abu Dhabi International Airport. Two Indians and a Pakistani were killed and seven were injured.
The Kingdom emphasized its full support for the UAE against all threats to its security and stability, and vowed to continue — through its leadership of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen — confronting the Houthis and the threat they pose to regional and international security and peace.
The statement came following a weekly Council of Ministers meeting that was chaired remotely by King Salman from the capital, Riyadh.


At the beginning of the session, the Council of Ministers was briefed on the content of a letter to the king from Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune
The ministers were also briefed on the overall talks and exchanged visits between officials in the Kingdom and a number of countries, aimed at consolidating areas of joint cooperation and teamwork to further boost relations and support regional and international security and stability.
The Cabinet reviewed the outcome of the international Future Minerals Forum, which was held in Riyadh last week, in which several agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed, and the most important future directions of the sector were discussed.
The forum also tackled the Kingdom’s role in developing this sector, in light of the Vision 2030’s aims to diversify the economy, make the mining sector a third pillar of national industries, and work to increase its GDP contribution from $17 billion to $64 billion by 2030.
Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, acting minister of information, said that the Cabinet dealt with a number of reports on various regional and international developments.
The ministers reviewed a report by the UN Financial Tracking Platform that placed the Kingdom among the top five donors of humanitarian aid globally, and the largest supporter of Yemen.


“This reflects the firm values ​​and principles of this country and its people in doing good and providing aid to the needy wherever they are, and embodies its high global position in this field,” Al-Qasabi said.
The Cabinet said it appreciated the efforts to combat drug smuggling into the Kingdom after the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, in coordination with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control, were able to thwart two attempts to smuggle more than 8.3 million Captagon pills and arrest the recipients.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet authorized the sports minister to sign a draft agreement for cooperation in the field of sports with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and authorized the interior and justice ministers to sign a draft Arab agreement to ban and combat human cloning.
The ministers approved a guidance model for a cooperation agreement for exchanging and protecting personal data and information for security purposes between the Saudi government and the governments of member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and authorized the minister of interior to sign a cooperation agreement with his Gulf counterparts.
The Council of Ministers also authorized the minister of tourism to sign a draft MoU with the Seychelles in tourism, and approved another MoU between the Saudi Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in Kenya.
It also authorized the finance minister and chairman of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority to sign a draft agreement with Japan on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs issues, and approved a memorandum of cooperation between the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation and its UAE counterpart in civil aviation security.
The Cabinet also set Feb. 10 of every year as Arabian Leopard Day, to spread awareness, preserve it from extinction and support the objectives of the Arab Leopard Fund.
The Cabinet also reviewed a number of general topics on its agenda, including annual reports of the Oil Fund.


‘Saudi Picasso’ thinks outside the box

Faisal Al-Kheriji prefers cubism and surrealism ‘because cubism paints different shapes, while surrealism is about painting strange characters.’ (Supplied)
Faisal Al-Kheriji prefers cubism and surrealism ‘because cubism paints different shapes, while surrealism is about painting strange characters.’ (Supplied)
Updated 18 January 2022

‘Saudi Picasso’ thinks outside the box

Faisal Al-Kheriji prefers cubism and surrealism ‘because cubism paints different shapes, while surrealism is about painting strange characters.’ (Supplied)
  • Culture and cubism meet in Jeddah-based artist Faisal Al-Kheriji’s distinctive portraits

JEDDAH: Saudi artist Faisal Al-Kheriji is keeping one eye on the past and the other on the future as he sets out to explore the rapid cultural changes transforming the Kingdom.

The 27-year-old artist draws on cubism and surrealism — art styles that originated more than a century ago — to create distinctive portraits showing how Saudi Arabia is modernizing and adapting to change.
Al-Kheriji’s artworks deal with subjects ranging from social customs to hospitality and styles of dress.
“I get inspired by my culture and by other artists, both globally and locally,” he said.
Al-Kheriji, who was born and raised in Jeddah, began to paint at the age of six and soon began attending art classes.
“Painting grew with me as a hobby, but I was self-taught after that. But my real journey began when I studied abroad. That’s when I started spending more time on painting, and trying new techniques and styles,” he said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Faisal Al-Kheriji draws on cubism and surrealism — art styles that originated more than a century ago — to create distinctive portraits showing how Saudi Arabia is modernizing and adapting to change.

• Al-Kheriji’s artworks deal with subjects ranging from social customs to hospitality and styles of dress. Al-Kheriji began to paint at the age of six and soon began attending art classes.

Al-Kheriji is widely known for his figurative paintings and prints featuring fragmented portraits.
Recontextualizing paintings from the “old masters” and adding references to contemporary culture, he produces work that is heavily influenced by artists from the past, notably Pablo Picasso and his cubist figures.
For instance, his “Reema Lisa” depicts a Saudi woman dressed in traditional Hijazi dress, while “The Men of Saudi Arabia” shows Saudi men camping in a tent in the desert.
“I prefer cubism and surrealism because cubism paints different shapes, while surrealism is about painting strange characters that you don’t see in real life. My paintings are a mixture of both,” he said.
Al-Kheriji also includes patterns, fashion, traditional practices, and other elements from Saudi and Arab culture in his artworks.
Although he pursued a degree in management and marketing, and is currently a marketing manager at Unilever, the artist is committed to his artistic practice.
“Art for me is a hobby and I enjoy every minute of it.”
Al-Kheriji’s work has gone through many stages in recent years.
“If you look at my artwork in 2018 and now, you will notice a big difference. My identity is showing more and my style is becoming more obvious. In 2018, you will find some mixed art styles in my paintings. As I grew up, however, my focus shifted to creating paintings that introduce my culture to the world, as well as honoring the Kingdom’s rich history.”
Al-Kheriji said that he draws inspiration from artists ranging from Picasso to contemporary American painter George Condo, as well as the natural environment.
“I am most inspired by Pablo Picasso and George Condo because of their unique painting style that stands out from that of many other artists.”
Al-Kheriji’s work has been shown in galleries in London, Boston and Jeddah, and he plans to expand his exhibits in order to reach a wider audience and share his culture’s rich heritage.
“In 2015, I organized my first solo exhibition in Boston and, in 2017, I also showcased my artwork in London. In Saudi Arabia, I have been able to show my paintings many times, but since 2018 everything has been more digital.”
Al-Kheriji’s love of his own culture has been a constant throughout his career.
“When it comes to art, I am an Arab Muslim who is regionally focused,” he said.
“My art is focused on the region, whether it is Muslim, Saudi or Arab cultures. The only difference, I would say, is that Boston had an impact on me when I started taking art very seriously; you could say it was my turning point with art.”
Al-Kheriji encourages other artists to keep culture alive in their artwork. “I believe that art reflects culture and can build bridges between nations.”
He added: “Nowadays artists mistakenly try to learn and do whatever they consider other people will like.”
The artist is currently working on a collection exploring fashions and traditional clothing in regions of the Kingdom.
Over the past year, Saudi Arabia’s art scene has been expanding as more of the Kingdom’s young contemporary artists make a name for themselves.
“It’s definitely gaining more attention and becoming more popular,” Al-Kheriji said. “But I still think there is a long way to go. Recently, the Ministry of Culture organized great exhibitions around the  Kingdom. That’s a good step and they are outdoing the private sector.”
Al-Kheriji hopes that new emerging artists will be able to show their artworks at various galleries.


New program to boost Saudi crafting skills

Preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by ‘paying attention to reviving traditional and industrial crafts.’ (SPA)
Preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by ‘paying attention to reviving traditional and industrial crafts.’ (SPA)
Updated 19 January 2022

New program to boost Saudi crafting skills

Preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by ‘paying attention to reviving traditional and industrial crafts.’ (SPA)
  • Initial phase will focus on the Bedouin style of weaving

JEDDAH: The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts has launched an apprenticeship program for traditional crafts.

The first phase of the initiative will focus on the Bedouin style of weaving known as Al-Sadu, and traditional mud-brick construction techniques.
The aim of the program is to revive and preserve traditional arts and crafts by transferring knowledge from master artisans to a new generation.
Prince Bader bin Farhan, the minister of culture and governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, announced the initiative in a message posted on Twitter: “To keep it a #Living_Identity, the #Royal_Institute_of_Traditional_Arts launched the Apprenticeship Program in traditional Al-Sadu and mud construction tracks. #saudivision2030.”
Suzan Al-Yahya, the director-general of RITA, also highlighted the initiative on Twitter, writing: “We are honored to revive our traditional arts through the establishment and implementation of #Apprenticeship Programs over the course of 30 weeks, which depend on transferring skills and knowledge from senior artisans to apprentices through a unique relationship … while learning the craft, ensuring experience is exchanged in its authentic form.”

The availability of new markets for craft products is one of the country’s tourism opportunities.

Laila Al-Bassam

Prince Bader said traditional crafts are part of the history of the Saudi community and must be preserved, developed and passed on to future generations, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The launch of the apprenticeship program marks an important step in the efforts to achieve this, he added, and will create job opportunities and support the plans of the Ministry of Culture in line with goals of Vision 2030.
Laila Al-Bassam, a professor at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh who specializes in the history of Saudi clothing, told Arab News that preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by “paying attention to reviving and developing traditional and industrial crafts, raising awareness among citizens about the national and economic importance of the country’s heritage, as these crafts can also be one of the tributaries of human development that could accomplish self-sufficiency in some fields.”
She added: “Spreading awareness about the importance of traditional crafts is one of the requirements to revive them. It is also important to transfer them to the new generation as the availability of new markets for craft products is one of the country’s tourism opportunities.”

Other crafts will be added to the apprenticeship program over time, including binding and gilding, metalworking, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri (a type of interior wall decoration traditionally practiced by women in the Kingdom’s Asir region) and embroidery.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture announced on Twitter the launch of a related initiative that seeks the help of educators to safeguard Saudi intangible cultural heritage.
The ministry wrote: “The intangible cultural heritage initiative is an invitation to all teachers and lecturers in the Kingdom to participate in documenting and preserving the Saudi intangible cultural heritage.”
RITA is dedicated to the preservation and promotion, locally and internationally, of traditional arts as part of the Saudi national identity. It was established in Riyadh last year as part of the Quality of Life Program, in line with the aims and initiatives of Saudi Vision 2030.
The traditional Saudi craft of Al-Sadu weaving was added to the UNESCO intangible heritage list in 2020.It is described as a traditional form of weaving practiced by Bedouin women. Al-Sadu translates as weaving in a horizontal style.


Gulf states keen to strengthen Europe ties

Nayef al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). (AFP)
Nayef al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2022

Gulf states keen to strengthen Europe ties

Nayef al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). (AFP)
  • Al-Hajraf expressed his hope that the visit would contribute to strengthening Gulf-Chinese relations, in light of the framework agreement for economic, investment and technical cooperation signed between the two sides in June 2004

BRUSSELS: The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf on Tuesday called for a strengthening of links between the organization and Europe.
During official talks in Brussels with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, the GCC leader highlighted the importance of existing relations with Europe and said council member states were keen to further cement ties. The GCC is a regional union that consists of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE.
Earlier this month, Al-Hajraf stressed the importance of strengthening Gulf-Chinese relations to serve common interests, and the necessity of intensifying cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
This came during his visit to China at the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Al-Hajraf expressed his hope that the visit would contribute to strengthening Gulf-Chinese relations, in light of the framework agreement for economic, investment and technical cooperation signed between the two sides in June 2004, as well as the memorandum of understanding signed in 2010.

 


Who’s Who: Bandar Almobark, general manager of King Abdulaziz Public Library

Bandar Almobark. (Supplied)
Bandar Almobark. (Supplied)
Updated 19 January 2022

Who’s Who: Bandar Almobark, general manager of King Abdulaziz Public Library

Bandar Almobark. (Supplied)

Bandar Almobark is the general manager of King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh, a position he has held since 2020.
At the public library, Almobark is assigned to manage all the projects for the library, like King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Award for Translation, Prince Mohammad bin Salman Award for Cultural Communication between Saudi Arabia and China, and the Arab Union Catalog.
Prior to his current position, Almobark was dean of Giftedness, Creativity, and Excellence at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University from 2018-2019.
From 2016 to 2018, Almobark held the position of vice dean of library affairs for administration, finance, quality, and development affairs at the same university.
Almobark was deputy general supervisor of the Saudi Digital Library at the Ministry of Education from 2013 to 2015.
He was a director of the Saudi Digital Library Development Project at the Ministry of Education from 2012 to 2013. He also held the position of deputy general supervisor of the information technology department at Al-Yamamah Press from 2010 to 2012.
He was the deputy general supervisor of the Riyadh Center for Information and Consulting Studies at Al-Yamamah Press from 2008 to 2012.
He earned his Ph.D. in Libraries and Information from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.
In 2002, he took his Master’s in Library and Information Science from the North Carolina Central University in the US.
He obtained bachelor’s degree in libraries and information from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in 1997.
Almobarak became a member of the National Center for Documents and Archives in 2021.