New electronic Qur’an to help blind and visually impaired at Makkah’s Grand Mosque

New electronic Qur’an to help blind and visually impaired at Makkah’s Grand Mosque
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Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais handing out the Haramain electronic Qur’an to a blind man. (Supplied)
New electronic Qur’an to help blind and visually impaired at Makkah’s Grand Mosque
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The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques (GPH) will soon provide digital versions of the Holy Qur’an, designed and assigned for the blind who visit the Makkah’s Grand Mosque. (Supplied)
New electronic Qur’an to help blind and visually impaired at Makkah’s Grand Mosque
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Haramain electronic Qur’an for blinds. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 December 2021

New electronic Qur’an to help blind and visually impaired at Makkah’s Grand Mosque

New electronic Qur’an to help blind and visually impaired at Makkah’s Grand Mosque
  • Nearly 6 inches long and 4 inches wide device enables users to smoothly move pages using high-quality Braille cells
  • First phase of project took nearly 10 months

JEDDAH: An electronic Qur’an is being introduced at Makkah’s Grand Mosque to help blind and visually impaired Muslims.

Advanced braille-based technology is being used to create the Haramain electronic Qur’an, allowing blind and visually impaired visitors and pilgrims to read and access the verses of Islam’s holy book more easily.

Ghazi Al-Thubyani, from the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said special shelves were being prepared for the 100 electronic braille devices that had been designed for the visually impaired.

The device, which is nearly six inches long and four inches wide, means users can move smoothly between pages using high-quality braille cells.

“Each cell can accommodate six dotted points, as well as 10 digital keys that allow the users to enter the page number for swift navigation, as well as rotation buttons. They can also scroll the lines on each side of the texts in braille,” Al-Thubyani told Arab News. “This service will be provided very soon. We are nearly finished with preparing shelves for these devices to be at the reach of the sightless worshippers who visit the holy mosque.”

He added that the Grand Mosque offered paper copies of the Qur’an in Braille in addition to the new devices. “Each mus’haf (Qur’an copy) consists of six volumes. We also have booklets in braille tailored for blind children to help them learn about monotheism and the basics of Islam.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• As part of its plans to digitalize the services provided, the presidency has been making every effort to facilitate people’s experience when visiting the Two Holy Mosques.

• Misha’al Al-Harasani, who led the team that created the new device, previously described his invention as an electronic board with 28 characters.

Blind and visually impaired Muslims experience challenges when reading Qur’an copies available in braille. They need to have up to six paper volumes to read the sacred 600-page book. As part of its plans to digitalize the services provided, the presidency has been making every effort to facilitate people’s experience when visiting the Two Holy Mosques.

Al-Thubyani said that the project’s first phase, which took nearly 10 months, focused on the Qur’an. There will be another phase in which the elucidations and explanations of the Holy Qur’an will be added using the same technology.

The presidency was keen to utilize technology in all its services at the Two Holy Mosques and that their plans complied with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, he added.

The visually impaired can read the Qur’an easily and navigate through the pages the same way as the entire Qur’an is registered on the board.

Misha’al Al-Harasani

The project began when a meeting at the presidency concluded that the help of inventors should be sought to come up with a device that could spare the exertions and time of the blind and visually impaired when they were reading paper copies of the Qur’an in braille.

Misha’al Al-Harasani, who led the team that created the new device, previously described his invention as an electronic board with 28 characters. Each character had six braille letters, and the board page contained 28 rows.

“The visually impaired can read the Qur’an easily and navigate through the pages the same way as the entire Qur’an is registered on the board,” Al-Harasani told Arab News in an earlier interview.

He explained how the digital mus’haf would ease the process of reading the Qur’an for the visually impaired, compared with the regular version of the Qur’an in braille.

“The visually impaired read the Qur’an in braille in six large volumes that make it difficult for them to reach the page, passage, or surah. Carrying them and storing them is difficult, too, because of the size.”

He was inspired to create the digital mus’haf when he visited the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah to participate in a Qur’an teaching seminar for those with special needs.

“With the help of my team, I researched on the reading of the Qur’an for those with special needs, especially for the visually impaired. And from there, the idea of creating a digital mus’haf for the visually impaired came to be.”

Al-Harasani, whose previous inventions for the visually impaired include a mobile phone, a currency, and a plane passenger seat, said that part of the team he was working with were visually impaired individuals.


Saudi water agency wins global award at Madrid summit

Saudi water agency wins global award at Madrid summit
Updated 58 min 30 sec ago

Saudi water agency wins global award at Madrid summit

Saudi water agency wins global award at Madrid summit
  • MEWA won the Public Water Agency of the Year Award at the Global Water Summit in Madrid
  • DM for Economic Affairs and Privatization Abdulrahman Alzughaibi and DM for Water Abdul Aziz Al-Shaibani accepted the award

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has gained international recognition by winning the Public Water Agency of the Year Award, announced during the Global Water Summit in Madrid.

Deputy Minister for Water Abdul Aziz Al-Shaibani and Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs and Privatization Abdulrahman Alzughaibi accepted the award on Wednesday.

Al-Shaibani told Arab News that the award was given in recognition of the Kingdom’s efforts in implementing a national water strategy, reforming the sector, enacting a new water law, integrating management of water resources, and engaging the private sector.

The Global Water Summit in Spain allows leaders and decision-makers to exchange ideas, and share information on progress and trends in the industry.

Industry leaders and investors from around the world, as well as government representatives, took part in the forum, considered among the most prominent events for the water industry worldwide.

Since 2006, the UK-based consultancy Global Water Intelligence has presented awards at the summit, recognizing achievements by water companies, high-tech firms, public agencies and project developers.

During the conference, leaders of the Kingdom’s water sector highlighted its initiatives and solutions in support of innovation and development in the industry.

They also discussed the summit themes aimed at achieving zero carbon emissions, ensuring the sustainability and reliability of freshwater resources worldwide, mitigating the impact of climate change, and increasing job opportunities and growth in the industry.

Conference sessions included extensive discussions on global best practices for ensuring efficient water use, the latest technologies for desalinating and reusing water, and the role of artificial intelligence in the sustainability of the water sector.

The conference also shed light on the next generation of water technologies and how to accelerate the reuse of treated wastewater to contribute to global water security.


Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session

Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session

Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session
  • Prince Faisal was hosted by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the El Mouradia Palace
  • Algerian FM hosted a dinner in honor of the Kingdom’s FM and his accompanying delegation on Wednesday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Algerian counterpart chaired the third session of the Saudi-Algerian Political Consultation Committee in Algiers on Thursday.

Prince Faisal and Ramtane Lamamra also noted the consensus of their views on regional and international issues of common concern, and reviewed bilateral relations, Arab, regional and international issues, and ways to support security, stability and prosperity.

They also discussed ways to confront challenges in order to achieve progress in their countries and support international peace and security.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune hosts Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the El-Mouradia Palace in Algiers on Thursday. (SPA)

Later, Prince Faisal was hosted by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the El-Mouradia Palace and the two officials reviewed the close relations between the Kingdom and Algeria and ways to strengthen them in all fields.

They also discussed current Arab and regional issues.

Prince Faisal conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Tebboune, and the Algerian president in turn sent his greetings to the Saudi leadership.

Lamamra hosted a dinner in honor of the Kingdom’s foreign minister and his accompanying delegation on Wednesday.


Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji said the KSA’s foreign policy attaches great importance to enhancing security and stability

RIYADH: A Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed Wednesday that the Kingdom had taken crucial steps to enhance food security, put forward strategies to promote food growth and face climate change and water scarcity. 

Waleed Al-Khuraiji, Saudi deputy minister of foreign affairs, said these measures contributed to improving food security indicators in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the Global Food Security Call to Action meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday, Al-Khuraiji said that the food security challenge proves that sustainable recovery depends on international cooperation.

He said despite progress in the development process, achieving the 2030 SDG (social development goals) had become extremely difficult, as global expectations and indicators show a deviation in the path towards achieving the second goal of the program, which includes the eradication of hunger.

“Among the global health challenges are the spread of pandemics, as the spread of the COVID-19 revealed to us the fragility of the international system in combating a virus that is not visible to the naked eye, which led to severe consequences that affected societies and economies,” Al-Khuraiji said, adding  that this affected people’s lives, their livelihood and declining economic indicators.

He said Saudi Arabia led a global response to the pandemic that accompanied the Kingdom’s G20 presidency, as it supported global efforts to confront this pandemic with $500 million, in addition to providing $300 million to help countries’ efforts to address the pandemic.

“The Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 focused within sustainable development efforts on building a sustainable agricultural sector, strengthening sectors that support food systems, developing systems and improving agricultural productivity, and worked to strengthen research and innovation capabilities to ensure sustainable progress in food security,” Al-Khuraiji said.

In this regard, he said Saudi Arabia presented crucial initiatives to the region and the world, and had created a road map for facing environmental challenges. These intuitive include the Saudi Green Initiative the Middle East Green Initiative, and the circular carbon economy initiative.

Al-Khuraiji said the  Kingdom’s foreign policy attached great importance to enhancing security and stability, supporting dialogue and peaceful solutions, and providing conditions that support development and achieve people’s aspirations for a better tomorrow, weather in the Middle East or the world.

He added Saudi Arabia had always reiterated its commitment to helping the disadvantaged and countries hit by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

“The Kingdom is the largest donor of humanitarian and development aid at the Arab and Islamic levels, and is one of the top three donors at the international level,” he said. 


Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
  • Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid says the meeting was organized upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of defense, on Wednesday met the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pair reviewed the Saudi-US partnership, and ongoing and future strategic military and defense cooperation between the Kingdom and US.

Prince Khalid expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the close cooperation between the two countries' defense bodies to achieve the two sides’ common interests and enhance security and peace regionally and internationally.

 

 

He also said that the meeting was organized based on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives.

Prince Khalid and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, then, co-headed the Saudi-US joint strategic planning committee meeting.

The Saudi and US defense delegations join a photo session after their meeting in Washington on May 18, 2022. (SPA)

The meeting discussed regional and international developments, and a number of issues on defending common interests and global security and stability.

The meeting was attended by Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi Chief of General Staff, and other Saudi and US senior officials.


Saudi foreign minister meets Algerian counterpart during official visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi foreign minister meets Algerian counterpart during official visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra on Wednesday evening, during his official visit to Algeria.
During the meeting, they reviewed the solid historical relations linking the two countries and ways of developing them in all fields.
The two sides also discussed enhancing joint cooperation in many aspects, the latest regional and international developments, and issues of common interest.
Lamamra hosted a dinner in honor of Prince Faisal and his accompanying delegation.
The foreign minister had arrived in the Algerian capital earlier on Wednesday.