Sports stars, celebrities performing Hajj share emotional journey on social media

Sports stars, celebrities performing Hajj share emotional journey on social media
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Sana Khan, an Indian actress who has quit the entertainment industry for religious reasons, in Makkah for Hajj with her husband Anas Saiyad. (Supplied)
Sports stars, celebrities performing Hajj share emotional journey on social media
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Pakistani legendary fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in Makkah. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 July 2022

Sports stars, celebrities performing Hajj share emotional journey on social media

Sports stars, celebrities performing Hajj share emotional journey on social media
  • Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar tweeted that he was invited by Saudi authorities to perform “honorary Hajj”
  • Cricketer Rashid has skipped England’s series against India to embark on the Hajj pilgrimage

RIYADH: Pakistan’s legendary bowler Shoaib Akhtar, England’s leg spinner Adil Rashid and former Indian actress Sana Khan shared snippets of their emotional Hajj journey on social media.

Akhtar, one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket who used to dominate the opposition batter with his sheer pace, said that the Saudi authorities had invited him to perform “honorary Hajj.”

“Going for honorary Hajj as a state guest of Saudi Arabia. I will also be addressing the Hajj Conference attended by leaders of the Muslim world in Makkah,” the cricketer-turned-commentator tweeted, showing pictures of himself in Ihram clothing.

In another tweet, he posted a photo with the caption: “At the Grand Hajj Symposium 2022 representing Pakistan in the Holy land of Makkah Mukarramah.”

The Pakistani cricket star also expressed gratitude to the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for this honor.

In a series of tweets documenting his “beautiful journey from Makkah to Madinah,” he shared videos from the two holy cities, including a unique view of the Holy Kaaba from the top of the Makkah Clock Tower, the Haramain High-Speed Railway Station in Makkah, the Quba Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Akhtar, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup, became popular for his aggressive pace attack during his career. His fans called him the “Rawalpindi Express” since he bowled at 100 miles per hour at least twice during his heyday, making him the fastest bowler.

Cricketer Rashid, meanwhile, has skipped England’s series against India to embark on the Hajj pilgrimage.

 

 

Rashid said earlier this year that he had “reached the right time in his life” to make the pilgrimage to Makkah.

He was granted leave by the England and Wales Cricket Board and his club Yorkshire to perform Hajj and is expected to return in mid-July before England’s white-ball series against South Africa.

“I’ve been wanting to do it for a little while, but I’ve found it pretty difficult with the timings,” Rashid told ESPNcricinfo. “This year, I felt as though it was something that I had to do and something I wanted to do as well.”

He added: “I spoke to the ECB and to Yorkshire about it, and they were very understanding and encouraging, like: ‘Yes, you do what you’ve got to do and then come back when you can.’ Me and the missus are going and I’ll be there for a couple of weeks.

“It’s a massive moment: Each faith has got their own different thing, but for Islam and being a Muslim, this is one of the biggest ones. It’s a big thing for my faith and for myself. I knew that I needed to do it while I’m young, strong, and healthy. This is something that I really committed to myself that I would do.”

Congratulating Rashid and wishing him the best for his lifetime journey, England Cricket, the official Twitter account of the England cricket team, tweeted: “Hajj Mubarak, Rash. We all wish Adil well as he makes The Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah.”

Khan, a former Indian actress who quit the world of entertainment for religious reasons saying she wants to serve humanity, shared a video montage upon reaching Saudi Arabia for her first Hajj with her husband, Anas Saiyad.

Taking to Instagram, Khan was seen smiling and posing with Saiyad after she arrived in Makkah.

In the clip, both don Ihram clothing to begin their Hajj journey. A part of her caption reads: “Can’t wait to experience the most beautiful journey of my life of Hajj with my husband.”

In another post, she wrote: “I don’t have words to express my feelings. May the Almighty Allah accept our Hajj and make it easy.

“This whole vibe of coming to Allah’s house is so fulfilling. May Allah make it easy for everyone who are here performing their Umrah and Hajj,” she posted.

On Thursday, she tweeted: “Leaving for Mina today for Hajj. If I have hurt someone consciously or unconsciously, please forgive me, for God sake. I say it from the bottom of my heart to kindly forgive me. The Almighty Allah be kind to you.”


UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism

UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism
Updated 26 November 2022

UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism

UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism
  • Passing of resolution is first major step by Kingdom in its new position as Executive Council chair
  • Saudi-Spain-UNWTO working group to oversee significant changes to tourism industry in wake of pandemic

MARRAKECH: The 177th Executive Council of the UN World Trade Organization has passed a Saudi resolution to “redesign tourism” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As newly elected chair of the council, the Kingdom successfully lobbied for the creation of a Saudi-Spain-UNWTO working group to oversee and direct significant changes to the global tourism industry.  

The proposal had been promoted by the Kingdom since December 2021, with a Saudi host delegation reiterating its support for the creation of the working group during the Kingdom’s hosting of the 116th Executive Council in Jeddah earlier this year.

This week’s three-day event in Marrakech, attended by Arab News, saw the passing of a resolution to push forward with the creation of the working group, which has been supported from the outset by Spain.

The working group, which will comprise eight members of the organization according to the resolution, is slated to launch in spring next year, but will still require the formal endorsement of the UNWTO chief.

The eight members will work alongside the three working group co-chairs — Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UNWTO — to move forward with the vision to transform global tourism.

Of the council’s 36 member countries present at the event, 31 approved the resolution. The working group aims to represent every region of the world, and will include two member states for Africa and America, as well as single states to promote the tourism aspirations of Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and Pacific, and South Asia.

Once established, the working group will meet at least biannually and will run on a budget allocated voluntarily by member states of the Executive Council.

The move is expected to lead to a significant shake-up within the world’s premier tourism body, with the Kingdom calling to “revitalize” the UNWTO and “improve its operating methods.”

It comes on the back of enhanced Saudi-Spanish ties in investment and tourism, and is the result of months of work by the two countries to gather support for the proposal among council members.

The working group aims to make the UNWTO “more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable than ever,” said Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb.

The passing of the resolution was the first major step by the Kingdom in its position as council chair.

Al-Khateeb oversaw the handover from previous chair Cote D’Ivoire in Marrakech on Friday.

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Spain totals $3.5 billion annually. The two countries have made significant steps toward boosting economic ties throughout the year, with the Saudi-Spanish Investment Forum in June ahead of the Jeddah UNWTO event leading to a number of high-profile agreements.

The meeting in Marrakech also saw the admittance of several Saudi and Spanish affiliate members, including the Jeddah Central Development Co. and Spain’s Innovaris SL and Eturia CLM.


Saudi aid agency supports Chad to address malaria epidemic

Saudi aid agency supports Chad to address malaria epidemic
Updated 26 November 2022

Saudi aid agency supports Chad to address malaria epidemic

Saudi aid agency supports Chad to address malaria epidemic

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has delivered support to the Ministry of Public Health and National Solidarity in Chad to prevent and respond to the malaria epidemic, Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

The support was delivered in the presence of the Chadian Minister of Public Health and National Solidarity, Dr. Abdelmadjid Abderahim, the Kingdom’s ambassador to Chad, Amer bin Ali Al-Shehri, the KSrelief representative in the capital, N’Djamena, and a number of officials.

Abderahim expressed his thanks and gratitude for the support, which comes within the framework of the aid provided by the Kingdom through KSrelief for many relief projects, according to the humanitarian needs in all countries around the world and according to the highest standards.


Saudi rapper creates hip hop podcast in Arabic

 Saudi rapper creates hip hop podcast in Arabic
Updated 25 November 2022

Saudi rapper creates hip hop podcast in Arabic

 Saudi rapper creates hip hop podcast in Arabic
  • Al-Fahad told Arab News: 'I am a big supporter of the hip hop culture in Saudi Arabia'

RIYADH: Saudi music producer, rapper, and composer Bander Al-Fahad has started a podcast in Arabic to provide the latest updates on the Kingdom’s hip hop scene.

In his first podcast “Pure Hip Hop,” released on YouTube in August, other Saudi and Arab rappers shed light on the hip hop culture in the country, its relationship with Saudi society, and the history of the music genre.

Al-Fahad told Arab News: “I am a big supporter of the hip hop culture in the Kingdom. I wish to have a unique style. I am keen for hip hop to appear with Saudi rhythms that distinguish it as Saudi music.”

He first discovered his passion for music while pursuing an undergraduate degree in media communication and revealed that he would soon be dropping two more episodes.

SPEEDREAD

• Bander Al-Fahad first discovered his passion for music while pursuing an undergraduate degree in media communication and revealed that he would soon be dropping two more episodes.

• He collaborates with other Saudi YouTubers such as Ibrahim Basha, Dyler, Faisal Tiger, and Fahad Al- Dokhei to create music and jingles for local organizations. And he also aims to create a go-to platform for the genre.

“Podcasting is the way that I think is best to deliver my message. I had many questions about hip hop, and that’s when I decided to deliver information on it to a Saudi audience,” he said.

Al-Fahad collaborates with other Saudi YouTubers such as Ibrahim Basha, Dyler, Faisal Tiger, and Fahad Al-Dokhei to create music and jingles for local organizations. And he also aims to create a go-to platform for the genre.

“When I receive a campaign, I use their idea and begin creating the music and beats. If they don’t have a specific idea, we begin the creative process, and I initially draw the idea on a piano keyboard before transferring it to the studio, where we can use live instruments and musicians,” he added.

The musician said he was thankful that the Kingdom was placing increased focus on the music industry, especially via the recently established Music Commission.

“With the help of education services in the field of music, the young generation can now turn their passion for music into a career. Musicians can now learn, produce, and have people hear their voice,” he added.

Al-Fahad, who at first could only perform for friends and family, would like to have a lasting impact on the Kingdom’s music scene.

“My future projects include working on my company about content and music production. I’m also working on three singles and a mini album.”

He is also among the cast of “Rise of the Witches,” a Saudi fantasy series being filmed in AlUla.

 


Saudi energy minister receives Iraqi counterpart in Riyadh

Saudi energy minister receives Iraqi counterpart in Riyadh
Updated 26 November 2022

Saudi energy minister receives Iraqi counterpart in Riyadh

Saudi energy minister receives Iraqi counterpart in Riyadh
  • The two sides discussed matters of common interest in the field of energy and agreed to continue to carry out important projects in gas, petrochemicals, electricity and renewables

RIYADH: Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs and Minister of Oil Hayan Abdul Ghani Al-Swad visited the Kingdom after receiving an invitation from Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed matters of common interest in the field of energy and agreed to continue to carry out important projects in gas, petrochemicals, electricity and renewables. They also reviewed ways to enhance communication between Riyadh and Baghdad to further explore shared opportunities in these fields and transform them into tangible partnerships.

 

 


Riyadh’s Qariat Zaman brings the past back to life

Riyadh’s Qariat Zaman brings the past back to life
Updated 25 November 2022

Riyadh’s Qariat Zaman brings the past back to life

Riyadh’s Qariat Zaman brings the past back to life
  • Qariat Zaman, or “the old village”, launched on Nov. 24 as a living record of the country’s history for Riyadh Season 2022
  • The zone is a time machine that transports visitors back to the glory of the past

RIYADH: Old school books, telephones without touchscreens and classic cars are the kind of things that you will find at Riyadh’s tribute to how we once lived.
Qariat Zaman, or “the old village”, launched on Nov. 24 as a living record of the country’s history for Riyadh Season 2022. The zone is a time machine that transports visitors back to the glory of the past and the significant events through stalls, traditional markets, and demonstrations of the old lifestyles.
Visitors can explore Dakakin Al-Awwalin, Al-Meydan, Saudia Channel 1, Wadi Al-Masaqil, Al-Taybeen Theatre, Al-Hosh Playground, and Beit Muzna.
Qariat Zaman is an example of how the past is mixed with the present. It is a place where people can learn about old times while listening to traditional music and buying antiques.
Its activities bring together a wide range of talented people in the theater and arts. Visitors can learn old stories and tales related to Saudi traditions and heritage.
The zone recreates the life of the older generation, with workers dressed in traditional clothing and living in mudbrick houses. There are displays of traditional artworks, old crafts and dance shows.
During the previous seasons, the village garnered great admiration from visitors and received wide interest in its various recreational activities, which were enjoyed by the artistic, musical, and interactive atmosphere in an area that highlighted the Saudi heritage and its traditional elements and revived the past with excellence.