OIC, MWL praise UN adoption of International Day to Combat Islamophobia

The United Nations headquarters in New York on March 17, 2022. (AFP)
The United Nations headquarters in New York on March 17, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 19 March 2022

OIC, MWL praise UN adoption of International Day to Combat Islamophobia

The United Nations headquarters in New York on March 17, 2022. (AFP)
  • OIC says adoption is a concrete step towards tackling hate and protecting global freedoms

JEDDAH: The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha has commended the UN General Assembly for passing a resolution that sets March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

The secretary-general reiterated the OIC’s belief that this designation will consolidate global awareness of the threat of hatred and fanaticism against Muslims, while encouraging the international community to take concrete measures to combat the phenomenon and advance tolerance and peaceful coexistence throughout the world.

He underlined that incitement to hatred and intolerance on religious grounds can create conditions that pose a threat to global peace, security and stability, making it an antithesis to all freedoms.

The OIC said the adoption of the resolution by the UN General Assembly was a pivotal step towards concrete global actions needed to combat the menace of incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence based on one’s religion.

Taha also expressed the readiness of the OIC to cooperate with the UN as well as with all members of the international community to promote unity and harmony in order to achieve global peace and understanding.

The Muslim World League has also welcomed the UN General Assembly resolution.

MWL Secretary-General and Chairman of Muslim Scholars Association Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa praised the efforts of Islamic diplomacy and partners from all countries and international and religious organizations in achieving the unanimous adoption of this pivotal resolution by the UN member states.

He also stressed that this resolution establishes an important stage in confronting hate speech, racism, intolerance and extremism, and contributes constructively and effectively in supporting dialogue initiatives among the followers of religions and cultures as well as achieves greater security, stability and prosperity for all human communities.

 


Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program

Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program
Updated 13 min 29 sec ago

Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program

Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program
  • The king’s generous gesture comes in line with the Kingdom’s permanent efforts to serve pilgrims, build positive relations with other countries

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on Tuesday received 185 pilgrims at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport as part of the guest program of King Salman.

This year’s program enables representatives from the the 41 countries working in the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, along with relatives of martyrs and people injured in terrorist attacks, to perform their Hajj rituals.

The ministry is taking care of the guests to ensure that they will be provided with all the services they need throughout their Hajj journey.

Services include accommodation, transportation, meals and any other services they may need while performing their rituals.

The guest program also provides other services to the pilgrims, most notably securing travel tickets, obtaining visas, providing medical care, as well as providing round the clock buses from accommodation to the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The king’s generous gesture comes in line with the Kingdom’s permanent efforts to serve pilgrims, build positive relations with other countries and open wider horizons for strengthening ties in the Muslim world.


Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj

Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj
Updated 21 sec ago

Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj

Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj
  • Twenty qualified companies are operating in the West Bank to transport pilgrims

RAMALLAH: Walid Ghuneim, 59, from Bethlehem on the West Bank, was overwhelmed with joy when a lottery system chose him and his wife to perform Hajj four years ago.

However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of his Hajj performance, and he kept waiting until his name was chosen this year among 1,900 citizens of the West Bank.

Ghuneim, a building materials trader, did not sleep the night of his journey to Hajj, as his six sons, daughters, and their sons came to bid him farewell, with his brothers, sisters, relatives and friends also seeing him off.

In the early hours of the dawn, he and his wife were the first to arrive at the meeting point of pilgrims in Bethlehem set by the Hajj company. They took the bus to Jericho Crossing and then crossed the Israeli bridge linking the West Bank and Jordan on its way with 52 other passengers to Madinah, the first stop of the three-week pilgrimage.

“I did not sleep last night, and I am delighted and eager to see and visit the Prophet’s Mosque and the Holy Mosque in Makkah and perform Hajj with my wife,” Ghuneim, who is visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time in his life, told Arab News.

“All my bus colleagues and I are pleased with this great journey to perform Hajj,” he added.

Sameh Jbara, director of Palestinian Hajj and Umrah companies, told Arab News that the Saudi authorities had allowed 1,900 pilgrims from the West Bank and 600 from the Gaza Strip to perform the Hajj this year — after a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which constitutes 45 percent of the previous allocation for Palestinians before the outbreak.

The costs of Hajj amount to $3,920 (SR14,700) per person, as Palestinian sources told Arab News that there was a slight increase in costs associated with Hajj for this year.

Twenty qualified companies are operating in the West Bank to transport pilgrims. They manage their logistics during the Hajj period, while Palestinian pilgrims spend 21 trips back and forth and performing Hajj, spending the first four days of it in Madinah before heading to Makkah, while Palestinian pilgrims travel by buses from the West Bank via Israel and Jordan, through to Saudi Arabia, on a trip that takes 24 hours to Madinah.

The Palestinian Minister of Awqaf Hatem Al-Bakri told Arab News that his ministry submitted a request to the Saudi authorities to increase Palestine’s quota of pilgrims and received a promise that if there were an increase, it would be a small percentage.

“The arrangements and procedures for this year’s pilgrimage were carried out in full coordination and cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and us according to the protocols signed in this regard,” the minister said, adding: “We have taken into account the health protocols required by our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and they are fully compatible with the protocols of the World Health Organization.”

The Hajj mission is accompanied by an administrative, media, health and security delegation of 650 people.

Ibrahim Melhem, the spokesperson of the Palestinian government, told Arab News that the Palestinian government had been in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj for several months to ensure the necessary arrangements. He said that the Saudi authorities were highly organized and had conducted early planning for hotels, buses transporting pilgrims, and moving between the rites of Hajj.

“The country with the most experience in crowd management is Saudi Arabia,” Melhem told Arab News.

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Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Updated 59 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan
  • The Kingdom’s aid agency has agreed to sponsor Syrian and Jordanian orphans and their families in Irbid for a whole year

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center distributed Eid clothing and the fifth batch of monthly financial aid to Syrian refugees and host communities in Irbid, Jordan, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The financial aid was provided to 56 families, including 40 Syrian families and 16 Jordanian families, totaling 191 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are orphans and widows.

The financial aid aims to support the families in meeting their basic needs and bringing them joy during Eid Al-Adha.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 675,433 Syrian refugees are registered in Jordan, with 136,104 of them residing in Irbid.

Around 80 percent of Jordan’s Syrian refugees fall below the poverty line, and 60 percent of families are in extreme poverty, UNHCR also said.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s economy continues to struggle. According to the World Bank, Jordan’s GDP and employment growth have averaged 2.4 percent per year since 2011, failing to keep pace with its young workforce.

Thus, humanitarian aid from the international community is critical to supporting Jordan and its population.

KSrelief has agreed to sponsor orphans and their families in Irbid for a whole year, SPA reported.

A similar project has also been launched by the center for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

 


Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart

Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart
Updated 06 July 2022

Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart

Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday received a written message from his Bahraini counterpart King Hamad, regarding the strong and solid bilateral relations that bind the two countries, and ways to support and enhance them in various fields and on all levels.
The message was received on behalf of Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed Al-Khuraiji, during a meeting with Sheikh Ali bin Abdulrahman, Bahrain’s ambassador to the Kingdom.
During the reception, they discussed relations between the two countries, and ways of enhancing them in various fields.


Arab hip-hop culture takes center stage at BeatRoots in Riyadh

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. (Supplied)
BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. (Supplied)
Updated 06 July 2022

Arab hip-hop culture takes center stage at BeatRoots in Riyadh

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. (Supplied)
  • Hip-hop artist and rapper Dattune told Arab News: “We already had a hip-hop culture (in the Kingdom) but we didn’t have enough spaces to either perform or connect with each other

RIYADH: The Saudi hip-hop music scene was in the spotlight at the weekend when local talent took to the stage in Riyadh at BeatRoots, a special music event that took place on Friday at AlMashtal Creative Space, in collaboration with Bahraini record label Museland.

The event, inspired by New York-style block parties, featured live performances by six Saudi and Bahraini artists, plus graffiti artists, b-boy dancing, and a market selling sneakers, street fashion and vinyl records.

AlMashtal, a creative incubator, regularly hosts collaborations with creators of various kinds, including musicians, visual artists and fashion designers. Its goal is to provide a platform to help creative talents to develop their crafts, grow and showcase their work.

“We really like to focus on these local talents, these up-and-coming artists that need a space to express themselves, to have their own audience, a chance to showcase themselves in front of an intimate audience; the right type of audience, the right type of space,” Elham Ghanimah, AlMashtal’s creative labs curator, told Arab News.

The night began with a mellow performance by Bahraini musician and graffiti artist Du$t. His music is inspired by diverse elements such as B-boy dancing, graffiti and surrealist art. He explained that it is important for his craft that he thinks outside of the box when creating his music, and said that he is pleased to see his style of music building a following in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s amazing to see it growing here as well,” he told Arab News. “In Bahrain (we’ve done) the same event there, so to bring it here and to see that everyone is involved brings a nice feeling.”

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. It is already a regular event in Bahrain and now the label is expanding to other parts of the region.

“Everyone’s happy; the energy is really good, everything is positive, the crowd is really enjoying it,” Ghanimah said. “I think at the end, that’s really what matters.”

Many people assume the hip-hop scene is relatively new to Saudi Arabia but its origins can be traced back at least as far as the early 2000s, with interest in the genre fueled by the growth of the internet.

“In general, everyone focuses on hip-hop in English … It’s OK to get inspiration from the West but it’s also good to see what you have here, to connect with your own culture, with your roots,” Ghanimah said.

Hip-hop artist and rapper Dattune told Arab News: “We already had a hip-hop culture (in the Kingdom) but we didn’t have enough spaces to either perform or connect with each other. That’s what I love about these kinds of events. I’ve met a lot of people that I wouldn’t have met if we didn’t have these spaces. The talent is already there; all we need is a chance to perform.”

In addition to Dattune and Du$t, the BeatRoots lineup included Fizzy, Septemba, Str8tup Rkls, and hip-hop artist, rapper, and crowd-favorite Albakri, who gave a hardcore yet heartfelt performance that included two as-yet-unreleased songs.

Albakri said his inspiration comes from looking inward, citing his culture and personal identity as huge influences on his work.

“I’m a guy of mixed identity: I’m Jordanian, I’m Palestinian and I’m Saudi. I’m all of these. So it’s just about how I can connect with those three cultures,” he told Arab News.

When it comes to his unique sound, he said his main inspirations come from around Riyadh, in particular his producers Leo, Mufasa and Dice, as well as DJs and friends such as Bucky Grooves, Vinylmode and Baloo. The rapper said he hopes to establish his own record label one day.

“I’m very happy that someone from Bahrain looked into (Riyadh) and was digging for artists … Seeing people open up to the genre, seeing collaborations between the hip-hop genre, the dance/house/minimal genre … and having a space, being a collective — all of that matters to the genre and the music in general,” he said.

AlMashtal’s stated aim with cultural events such as BeatRoots is to open the doors for discussions, cultural and artistic exchanges, and the promotion of creative ventures across the Arab region.

“We wanna do more collaborations just to put everything forward in a positive way,” Ghanimah said.

“Not everyone gets a chance and if people do get a chance, not everyone gets the right chance and the right type of support.

“So, you’re getting to showcase yourself not just at any space but at a creative incubator where the whole goal is to nurture these creatives and help them reach their goals.”