OIC chief discusses women’s empowerment, Islamic solidarity in Jeddah meetings

OIC chief discusses women’s empowerment, Islamic solidarity in Jeddah meetings
Cadi Seidi, minister of women, family and social protection of Guinea-Bissau (Supplied)
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Updated 08 November 2023
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OIC chief discusses women’s empowerment, Islamic solidarity in Jeddah meetings

OIC chief discusses women’s empowerment, Islamic solidarity in Jeddah meetings
  • Forum organized by the OIC under the patronage of King Salman, aim to shed light on the successes of Muslim women, and highlight their role and contributions

Riyadh : Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha met a number of Muslim women leaders on the sidelines of the International Conference on Women in Islam: Status and Empowerment, held in Jeddah.

The three-day forum, organized by the OIC under the patronage of King Salman, concluded on Wednesday. It aimed to shed light on the successes of Muslim women, highlight their role and contribution to development, and counter the negative propaganda that portrays Islamic religion as an obstacle to women obtaining their rights.

Taha met with Cadi Seidi, minister of women, family and social protection of Guinea-Bissau, for discussions on bilateral relations between the OIC and Guinea-Bissau, and the prospects for enhancing cooperation between the two sides, especially with regard to improving the conditions of women, children and people with special needs.

The OIC chief commended Guinea-Bissau’s efforts to address women’s and children’s issues, and its support for efforts aimed at strengthening joint Islamic action.

Seidi expressed her gratitude to Taha for the OIC’s support for her country, and reviewed the efforts made by the government of Guinea-Bissau to promote the rights of women and children.

Taha also held talks with Ensieh Khazali, Iran’s vice president for women and family affairs, on bilateral relations between the OIC and Iran, and the prospects for further cooperation, especially in terms of empowering women and enhancing their status in OIC member states.

Khazali expressed her condemnation of the crimes carried out against the Palestinian people and their property, especially in the Gaza Strip, and stressed her country’s continued support for the Palestinian cause.

She also underlined the importance of empowering women in all fields, saying that her country stands ready to contribute to providing the needed support to women entrepreneurs in Muslim societies within the framework of the OIC, especially in the areas of education, creativity development, artificial intelligence for women, and family funds.

The OIC chief commended the role of Iran in supporting the OIC’s programs and activities, and its contributions to strengthening inter-Islamic solidarity and promoting joint Islamic action.

He called for increasing cooperation between Iran and the OIC, especially in terms of women’s empowerment and family support.

Khazali thanked Taha for his efforts in leading the work of the organization and expressed appreciation for the prominent role played by the OIC in enhancing the status of women in Muslim societies in all fields.

The OIC chief also held talks with Olivia Rwamba, Burkina Faso’s minister of foreign affairs and regional cooperation.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations, and reviewed the efforts of the Burkina Faso’s government to combat terrorism, establish security and stability, and advance development in the country.

Taha praised Burkina Burkina Faso’s efforts in supporting women and youth issues, praising its contributions to strengthening joint Islamic action.


Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj
Updated 34 min 3 sec ago
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Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj
  • The procedure is meant to keep the cover, known as kiswa, free from getting soiled and tampered with as pilgrims performing Hajj circumabulate the Kaaba

RIYADH: In keeping with the annual tradition, officials raised the lower part of the kiswa — the elaborately designed black cloth covering the Kaaba — in Makkah on Wednesday ahead of this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

As approved by the General Authority for the Care of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the exposed part was covered with a white cotton fabric, two-and-a-half meters wide and 54 meters long on all four sides, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Carrying out the procedure were 36 specialized technical personnel with the aid of 10 cranes.

As described in the SPA report, the kiswa is lifted in several stages: It starts with unscrewing the bottom of the cover from all sides, separating the corners, then untying the bottom rope and removing it from the fixing rings, after which the cloth is rolled upward. The lanterns are then dismantled and the white cloth are put in place, after which the lanterns are reinstalled over the white cloth until the final stage.

The procedure is repeated every year to protect the kiswa from getting soiled and damaged as pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba.

The annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia is considered the world's largest human gathering, with year 2012 marking the biggest number of participants at 3.16 million.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi authorities allowed only a symbolic observance of Hajj with just a thousand pilgrims. The numbers were gradually raised as the health crisis was placed under control worldwide. Last year, almost 1.84 million pilgrims performed the "once in a lifetime" journey and the figure is expected to go higher this year.

Every year, on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dul Hijjah, the black silk cloth is removed and a new kiswa is draped in its place.


Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders
Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior announced that visit visa holders are not allowed to enter or stay in Makkah during May 23-June 21 as access to the city will be limited to Hajj visa holders.

The ministry stressed that all types of visit visa are not a permit to perform Hajj, adding that violators will be subject to penalties according to Saudi laws and regulations.


Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death
Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

RIYADH: Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, conveyed the condolences of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to top Iranian officials in Tehran on Wednesday on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions.

Prince Mansour bin Muteb bin Abdulaziz, Adviser to King Salman and Minister of State, and Prince Faisal were received by Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs to Iran President Mohammad Jamshidi and Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani.

Saudi ambassador to Iran Abdullah Al-Enazi attended the reception.


Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’
Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’
  • Accreditation follows evaluation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve by the international organization Key Biodiversity Areas

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve has been granted accreditation as “the first major biodiversity site in the Kingdom.”

The organization Key Biodiversity Areas confirmed the accreditation, after an evaluation based on international standards, on its website on Wednesday. It said the reserve meets three global standards, including the presence of endangered species, and so qualifies for inclusion. The announcement coincided with International Day for Biological Diversity, which takes place on May 22 each year.

KBA works to monitor and preserve approved sites of great importance as part of its efforts to sustain biological diversity on a global level, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi reserve is managed by the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve Development Authority with the aim of protecting endangered species, developing natural habitats, raising environmental awareness among the public, and reducing natural and human threats to the area. It is considered the largest nature reserve in the Middle East, covering a total area of 130,700 square kilometers.


Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting
Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the UN World Tourism Organization’s 50th meeting of the regional committee for the Middle East, on Wednesday in Muscat.

During his speech, the Saudi minister stressed the Kingdom’s openness to cooperate with member states to adopt joint regional tourism projects to attract international visitors to the region. 

Al-Khateeb thanked the Omani Minister of Heritage and Tourism Salem Al-Mahrouqi for the hospitality and extended his appreciation to the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other officials for their efforts to advance the tourism sector globally.