Moroccan pilgrims return to Madinah after 2-year hiatus

Special Moroccan pilgrims return to Madinah after 2-year hiatus
Muslims perform afternoon prayers during a rare celestial phenomenon in which the sun shone directly over the Holy Kabaa, causing shadows to disappear, Grand Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, May 28, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 June 2022

Moroccan pilgrims return to Madinah after 2-year hiatus

Moroccan pilgrims return to Madinah after 2-year hiatus
  • First 250-person contingent left Sale on June 20
  • King Mohammed VI tells travelers: ‘We invite you to respect measures adopted by Saudi Arabia’

CASABLANCA: Moroccan Hajj pilgrims celebrated on June 20 at Rabat-Sale airport before departing for Madinah for the first time in more than two years.

The contingent, made up of 250 pilgrims, traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the first Hajj open to international pilgrims since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To celebrate the day, Moroccan Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq read a message by King Mohammed VI.

He called on pilgrims to “represent their country as they should by giving it an honorable image consistent with the strong adherence of its people to the values ​​of tolerance and moderation, its attachment to doctrinal unity and the principle of the middle ground and rejection of any hint of extremism.”

King Mohammed VI said that he had given instructions to the minister “so that he constantly sees to deploy all the means of care” and to “ensure all the conditions of comfort” so that the pilgrims can “perform rites in an exemplary manner.”

He added: “We also invite you to respect the measures and provisions adopted by the authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the organization of this sacred season of Hajj.”

There are 33 total flights scheduled by Moroccan authorities as part of this year’s pilgrimage. The last flight is scheduled to depart on July 3.

Fees for pilgrims, supervised by the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs for the 1443 season, have been set at 63,800 moroccan dirhams ($6,300). The figure was announced by the ministry in a press release on May 23.

To organize this year’s pilgrimage, the Royal Commission held a meeting to discuss the measures taken by Saudi authorities responsible for Hajj. Among other requirements, people authorized to perform the pilgrimage must be under the age of 65, fully vaccinated (three doses), and must present a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before departure.

The quota of Moroccan pilgrims is 45 percent of the normal amount. In total, 15,392 Moroccans will make the journey, of which 10,186 are supervised by the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, and 5,206 by travel agencies.

“Within the limit of the percentage mentioned, the Moroccan pilgrims will be chosen among those who were selected in the 2019 draw. In the event that the quota is not reached, we will resort to the waiting list while respecting the age requirement,” the ministry said.

Those excluded because of non-completion of the vaccination schedule will retain their right to be part of next year’s pilgrimage if the age criterion is in conformity and the vaccination is complete,” the ministry added.


Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s relief work for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan continues with the launch of a food security project for the displaced living outside camps

The Kingdom’s latest project, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), aims to help refugee families and the neediest people in the host community, and contributing to improving their living conditions, according to a report from state news agency SPA.

Among KSRelief’s efforts for refugees in Jordan includes a $1.33 million agreement with the King Hussein Cancer Foundation to treat Syrians diagnosed with cancer; a $2 million accord with the National Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition to boost food security for poor families as well as a pact with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization to provide housing and utilities support for 22 Syrian families involving 109 individuals.


Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 

Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 

Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thanked Uzbekistan for supporting Riyadh’s bid to host the World Expo 2030, during a meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported citing a joint statement. 

The meeting between the two leaders, held in Jeddah on Wednesday, reviewed the countries’ relations and ways to enhance bilateral ties, a joint statement between the two countries said. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Mirziyoyev also emphasized the importance of exploring investment opportunities between their two countries, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals and Uzbekistan’s development goals.


Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia

Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia
Updated 19 August 2022

Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia

Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia

MAKKAH: The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev performed the Umrah pilgrimage on Thursday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

The president was received by several officials from the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque and from the Special Force for the Security of the Grand Mosque upon his arrival. 

Mirziyoyev’s official press service shared photos from the president’s pilgrimage on Twitter. 

 

The Uzbek president had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday, where he was received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The pair held a meeting and discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, in addition to reviewing a number of issues of common interest. 


Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader

Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader

Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader
  • The pair discussed Saudi-Iraqi relations and issues of mutual interest

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received in Jeddah Iraq’s National Wisdom Movement leader Ammar Al-Hakim, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Friday.

The pair discussed Saudi-Iraqi relations and issues of mutual interest.

Al-Hakim arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday and was received by deputy minister of foreign affairs Waleed Al-Khuraiji.

Saudi and Iraqi senior officials attended the meeting. 


Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  

Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  
Updated 18 August 2022

Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  

Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  

RIYADH: Mansour Al-Mushaiti, deputy minister of environment, water and agriculture, stressed the importance of developing geospatial infrastructure during a meeting organized by the ministry at its headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday. 

Al-Mushaiti commended the ministry’s work on geospatial infrastructure and remote sensing over the past years and emphasized the need to develop leadership in this area. 

Bandar Al-Muslmani, general supervisor of the geospatial information and remote sensing department at the ministry, spoke about the significance of developing training programs in the field in order to bolster digital sectors through geospatial data, applications and spatial analytics.

Such training programs would lead to increased efficiency, improved services and location-based decisions.

According to the Unified National Platform, the availability of geospatial information is required to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.