Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences

Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences
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Children listening attentively to an informative talk as part of the Eid celebration at Ithra. (Ahmed Al-Thani)
Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences
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Little girls in Eid dresses watch as a Bahraini band performs traditional Eid songs. (Jasmine Bager)
Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences
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Children enjoying the Eid festivities at Ithra (Ahmed Al-Thani)
Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences
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Visitors, young and old, made crafts with a representative from Suq Majaz, a local store from Al-Ahsa that specializes in traditional Saudi heritage crafts (Ahmed Al-Thani)
Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences
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Local artist Sara Aljoughiman sketching on the window at Ithra as part of the Eid celebration activities (Jasmine Bager)
Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences
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Entrance at Ithra welcomes visitors (Jasmine Bager)
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Updated 13 July 2022

Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences

Ithra lights up Eid with spectacular experiences

DHAHRAN: Ithra celebrated Eid Al-Adha by offering interactive activities, live performances, inspiring talks and dining options.

The iconic building was illuminated with festive lights, while inside there was live music, the aroma of fresh Saudi gahwa or coffee, bottled Zamzam water, and children skipping about in their best thobes and dresses.

As part of the Eid celebration, award-winning Kuwaiti artist Humood Al-Khudher performed his first concert at the Ithra Theater as an enthusiastic audience sang along.

Inspired by gold embroidery from the holiest places in Islam, Suq Majaz, a shop from Al-Ahsa, offered free craft options at the Ithra Museum, helping visitors make their own bisht-inspired gold necklaces and bracelets. The bisht is a traditional cloak typically worn by men on celebratory occasions.




Closeup of the bisht-inspired necklaces donated by Suq Majaz, a local store from Al-Ahsa that specializes in traditional Saudi heritage crafts (Jasmine Bager)

Other mosque-related content could be viewed at Enigma at the Ithra Cinema, where families solved puzzles and joined a grand quest to help the Tamim family (introduced during the event) to continue their journey into Makkah.

The library hosted a talk about the Grand Mosque and how it felt to be a pilgrim performing Hajj, while offering insights on the different traditions centered around the holy site.

Photos could be taken at the Ithra Tower with the backdrop giving participants the illusion they were standing at Al-Haram in Makkah.

The Energy Exhibit also offered the chance for science-loving children to perform experiments, and offered an interactive show that bridged science and storytelling.

The Children’s Museum at Ithra was bustling with an extra burst of excitement for Eid. Short talks were given by expert staff who discussed the various stones in Al-Haram in Makkah to help deepen everyone’s understanding about the area.




Families and friends enjoying the outdoor Eid celebrations at Ithra. (Ahmed Al-Thani)

For curious and creative youngsters who struggle to sit still, the museum offered plenty of interactive activities throughout the different spaces, which encouraged children of all ages to fully engage while learning.

Along the windows at Ithra, a selection of local artists were asked to draw their interpretation of the holiday.

Sara Aljoughiman, a self-taught artist, said: “I’m one of the group artists participating right now in Ithra to do some sketches related to Hajj and Eid Al-Adha in general. The idea for this sketch came from a scene that happened here. I saw a kid following a pigeon in the outside area and the idea came from that scene that I saw. We usually see a lot of pigeons in Al-Haram; it’s a symbol of peace usually, and that’s why I thought of drawing it with the minaret and some Islamic designs.”

For those willing to venture outside the window and into the sweltering summer heat, the Ithra Market was modeled after the markets in Makkah. Food trucks were lined up with offerings from crispy fried chicken via the popular Al-Baik to cold fresh juices. A cluster of independent local vendors also sold other goods.




Eid at the Children’s Museum at Ithra. (Ahmed Al-Thani)

One vendor, Bodour Amer, said that her shop, Dan Store, specializes in “pretty products that are good for the environment.”

The shop is one of several selling goods for last-minute Eid gifts.

“We are a curated online shop that selects environmentally-friendly goods from abroad. We have handmade soy candles, ceramic mugs, 100 percent organic cotton tote bags, and notebooks — made from 100 percent recycled paper with eco-friendly ink,” Amer told Arab News.




(Jasmine Bager)

“This is our second time participating at Ithra’s Eid celebration and we are so happy to offer this opportunity for locals to buy from us directly during Eid, before, hopefully, checking out the full selection at our online store.”

Myrna Madrideo, an overseas Filipino worker, decided to check out the Eid festivities at Ithra in order to deepen her knowledge of Saudi and Muslim culture — and to just have some fun.

 “I wanted to come to Ithra’s Eid celebration to experience Saudi culture and to experience Eid. When I came to Ithra, I was amazed— it’s beautiful and interesting. I loved the bookstore,” she said.

“I came to Saudi five years now, and this Eid at Ithra, I learned more about Muslims and about the culture. I feel happy to know about this, about them, about here inside Saudi. It’s all very beautiful.”


Saudi tour guides shine at NEOM’s The Line exhibition

Saudi tour guides shine at NEOM’s The Line exhibition
Updated 12 August 2022

Saudi tour guides shine at NEOM’s The Line exhibition

Saudi tour guides shine at NEOM’s The Line exhibition
  • Details of NEOM project on full display at the exhibition
  • About 49 tours are organised per day, allowing visitors to grasp the scope and complexity of the project’s designs

JEDDAH: An exhibition exploring Saudi Arabia’s ambitious The Line project is leaving visitors enthralled thanks to the work of specialist tour guides.

The details of the NEOM project are on full display at the exhibition, hosted at the Jeddah Superdome. Visitors of all age groups will get first-hand insights with the help of the Saudi tour guides, who explain visual displays in both Arabic and English.

The guides are bringing the exhibition to life with about 49 tours per day, allowing visitors to grasp the scope and complexity of the project’s designs, architectural concepts and engineering capabilities.  

Speaking to Arab News, several tour guides expressed their enthusiasm at taking part in the exhibition and playing a small but important role in NEOM. 

One of the guides, Ragad Seit, said: “The experience is beyond wonderful. I love the excitement on the people’s faces while we explain the details of The Line. It is amazing to see the excitement they have for this revolutionary project and watching that makes me feel that it’s worth being a part of this exhibition. I am sure this will be a great movement for the future and we can’t wait to see the completion of The Line.”

Another young guide, Ghalya Faisal Alsahhaf, said: “My job here is to explain the unique and rare NEOM flora that will be grown in The Line. The experience is definitely one of a kind where I get to educate people on the vegetation aspect.

“The look on the people when they learn about the different kinds of flora is incredible. Also, I get to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds where I interact with them about the exhibition, and have discussions. The enthusiasm of the visitors is unimaginable.”

Abdulaziz Salmin said: “Although I am here as a tour guide, I am very proud to be a part of NEOM and work on this project.

“I work on sections one and two where I explain to the people what The Line is all about. The thrill and anticipation that the public show is very similar to my excitement. I am eagerly waiting to see how the city will turn out, especially after learning a lot more about it through this exhibition,” Salmin added.

Apart from tour guides, NEOM officials are also present at the exhibition to assist those looking for in-depth answers. 

The Jeddah exhibition opens its doors from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. until Aug. 14, before moving to the Eastern Province and then staying in Riyadh.

“I learned about the project for the first time on social media and I was so excited to get my own first impression of the revolutionary model of The Line. I’m so excited to see this in reality,” Mohammad Ali, a visitor, said.

“Besides, we now understand more about the project with the help of the tour guides. It’s true that they can take the visitors on a whole different journey,” he added.

Another visitor, Raees Ali, said: “The tour guide turned my experience into a most pleasurable one by answering my questions and providing the information available in a clear and simple way.

“The project definitely looks futuristic and promising. After the tour, I did have many technical questions in my mind, but I am certain that they will be answered in the coming days. Hopefully, I would really like to relocate to this dreamy place.”

Saed H. was awestruck at The Line’s designs on display at the exhibition and is excited to see how the city will look after construction. 

“It is definitely a good idea to have a guide who gives some interesting details. I was surprised to learn about the football stadium in the city which will be embedded in a way where the city itself will turn towards the stadium and become the venue. All these details are so mind-blowing that the visitors were awe-inspired by this dreamy world. We really look forward to seeing it come to life,” said Saed.

Divided into different sections, the displays at the exhibition detail urban living plans being implemented in the city. The Line follows a human-first approach with health and well-being prioritized over transportation and infrastructure.

Free tickets can be booked through the Hala Yalla application for events.


Terrorist detonates suicide vest as Saudi security forces try to make arrest 

Terrorist detonates suicide vest as Saudi security forces try to make arrest 
Updated 12 August 2022

Terrorist detonates suicide vest as Saudi security forces try to make arrest 

Terrorist detonates suicide vest as Saudi security forces try to make arrest 
  • Abdullah bin Zayed Abdulrahman Al-Bakri Al-Shehri was listed as a wanted person by Saudi authorities

JEDDAH: The list of the nine wanted individuals involved in a terrorist operation that targeted a mosque for Saudi Arabia’s special emergency forces in the southwestern Asir region in 2015 has been reduced, after the Presidency of State Security announced the killing of Abdullah Al-Shehri, who has been number four on a wanted list.
The man detonated a suicide vest he was wearing when security forces attempted to arrest him in Jeddah on Friday.
The spokesman for the Presidency of State Security said that in addition to the statement issued in February 2016 regarding the announcement of a list of the nine wanted persons for the security authorities, and as an extension of the existing security follow-up, the authority was able to track down the number four on the wanted list, Abdullah bin Zayed Abdulrahman Al-Bakri Al-Shehri, during a security operation.
He had been approached by security personnel at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday in the Al-Samer neighborhood in Jeddah. He died at the scene and a Pakistani resident and three security men with various injuries were taken to hospital to receive the necessary treatment.
Al-Shehri has been listed as a wanted person by authorities in the Kingdom for the past seven years, according to the statement. 
Security forces had tracked down the location of the terrorist and launched an operation to arrest him when he set off his suicide vest. 

With this announcement, only one wanted person remained from the announced list, Majid bin Zayed Al-Bakri Al-Shehri, who has been in hiding so far. The list included:
1. Saeed Aaidh Al-Dair Al-Shahrani, who was killed during a raid in Makkah in May 2016.
2. Taya Salem Eslam Al-Saiari was killed in a raid on his house in the Al-Yasmeen neighborhood in Riyadh in 2017.
3. Mutee Salem Islaam Al-Saiari was killed by a terrorist organization and it is believed that Taya’s sister beheaded him in a house in Al-Harazat neighborhood in Jeddah following orders from Daesh leaders after they doubted his intention to surrender to the security authorities in November 2016.
4. Abdulaziz Ahmed Mohammed Al-Bakri Al-Shehri was killed during a siege with another wanted man in the Barah area in Bisha governorate in April 2016.
5. Aqab Moajab Fazaan Al-Otaibi, who was arrested in Bisha in May 2016.
6. Mohammed Suleiman Rahyan Al-Saqri Al-Anzi was killed in a raid in Wadi Numan in Makkah in May 2016.
7. Mubarak Abdullah Fahad Al-Dosari was killed in a raid in Wadi Numan in Makkah in May 2016
8. Majid bin Zayed Al-Bakri Al-Shehri is still in hiding.
The nine terrorists affiliated with Daesh were involved in a terrorist attack that targeted worshipers at the Special Emergency Forces Command Mosque in Asir on Aug. 6, which killed 11 security officials and four Bangladeshi workers on the site, while 33 other people were injured.
The Presidency of State Security said the operation confirms the Kingdom’s determination to crack down on terrorists and ensure the safety of all citizens and residents. 


Racer Falah Al-Jarba talks to ‘Mayman Show’ about personal journey, Saudi strides in motorsports

Racer Falah Al-Jarba talks to ‘Mayman Show’ about personal journey, Saudi strides in motorsports
Updated 12 August 2022

Racer Falah Al-Jarba talks to ‘Mayman Show’ about personal journey, Saudi strides in motorsports

Racer Falah Al-Jarba talks to ‘Mayman Show’ about personal journey, Saudi strides in motorsports

Riyadh: Saudi motorsports star Falah Al-Jarba said Saudi Arabia is holding events for motorsports on a scale that has never been seen before. Al-Jarba, the latest guest on the “Mayman Show,” said: “We’re now working on a big motor festival. You’ve seen the changes in Saudi, and now Saudi is having more than one international motorsports [event] in the same season, which didn’t happen anywhere else.”

The professional racer explained that changes to the Kingdom’s motorsports scene were years in the making, before 2018, when Formula E was held in Diriyah.

 

“People think that 2018 was the first change where we got Formula. But you know that this had to be cooked for two years, three years, minimum to have it.”

It all started with the Formula E event, he explained. Then came the Dakar Rally, which is the longest international rally — famous for also being the most difficult — and has now exclusively been held in Saudi Arabia for 10 years.

Al-Jarba and his team have worked on various aspects in motorsports, from racing to influencing the sport at the grassroots level. He began as a racer, expanding to team owner and further broadening his experience as a championship organizer.

 

Addressing the difficulties in securing sponsors, he talked about the public misconception that sponsors line up to knock at racers’ doors if they win a race. 

“Corporates would never go just for the winner if you couldn’t fulfill their [key performance indicators] at the end…It always comes back to numbers,” he said.

 

Regarding the Kingdom’s strides in the field, Al-Jarba said that Saudi Arabia was now in a “golden age” for motorsports.

“The first electric rally…started in early NEOM. This is the first rally to be ever held in the world that started from Saudi,” he said.

 


Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish

Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish
Updated 12 August 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish

Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish
  • Plant Cafe opened its doors to Jazan residents seven months ago

The sleepy southwestern city of Abu Arish in Jazan province is known for producing and exporting salt and, more recently, for a cafe that combines the perfect blend of salty and sweet.

Seven months ago, Plant Cafe opened its doors to residents of the area, and Jazan city should take notice.

One recent evening, Plant Cafe was full of coffee enthusiasts, sipping cold drinks on the velvety green chairs and scrolling their phones at the terrazzo-patterned tables.

With strategically-placed full-length mirrors spread along the pathway to the seating areas, the photogenic cafe offers a variety of spots for the perfect mirror selfie.

In the back, colorful portraits of famous figures are hung on a wall. The wooden spiral stairs— with green plants draped along them — lead to the second floor seating area.

Limited seating is also available outdoors for those who dare to sit and sip in the searing heat.

With the sound of the steaming espresso machine and soft music piped into the space, the cute coffee cups illustrated with farmers gathering flowers and plants are always being filled.

The must-try items include the cold lemon strawberry trifle in a jar. With bits of rich cheesecake, a drizzling of tart strawberry sauce, smooth cream and a bit of fresh lemon on top, it is layered decadence to be enjoyed with a spoon, and conveniently offered in a sealed portable jar — the perfect portion for a late-night sweet tooth craving or afternoon pick-me-up.

The cafe opens bright and early until late night six days of the week, from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. On Fridays, it is open from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.


Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities
Updated 12 August 2022

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities
  • An investigation into the assault has been launched and the Public Prosecution will be taking the necessary legal measures against him, an official source confirms

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested an expat for assaulting a child with disabilities after video footage of the incident was circulated online, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday. 

Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujeb issued an arrest warrant for the Egyptian resident who was seen beating a child on CCTV footage in a neighborhood in the town Wadi ad-Dawasir in Najd. 

An investigation into the assault has been launched and the Public Prosecution will be taking the necessary legal measures against him, an official source confirmed to SPA. 

The Kingdom’s penal code protects children from abuse, the source said, adding that the victim would be receiving counseling in line with the child protection law.