Beware of rift creators, Islam image distorters

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais (L) and Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh. (SPA)
Updated 12 June 2016

Beware of rift creators, Islam image distorters

MAKKAH: Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh has warned against fueling the fires of sedition in Islamic societies and distorting the image of Islam as a religion of bloodshed and violence.

Similar views have been expressed by imam of the Grand Mosque Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, who urged Muslims not to follow lies and rumors spread by those working to fan terrorism and sectarianism and exploit religion for political ambitions.
Al-Asheikh said society should seek unity and reunification, and that the curse of God awaits those who attempt to encourage disorder. “All Muslims should seek to reform and reconcile their societies as per the words of God which call for making peace between two battling parties of believers.”
He said cooperation with the enemy to weaken the nation or incite bloodshed and violence is “criminal behavior.”
People of Islam and the Sunnah must collaborate with their rulers to maintain their identity, security and stability against all those who incite fitnah (evil), said the grand mufti.
Al-Sheikh said the danger of takfeer is that it is detrimental not only to the community, but to Islam in general as it instills enmity and hatred.
“Accusing someone of kufr before inviting them toward Islam may make them more resistant and unaccepting.”
Al-Sudais, meanwhile, urged media men and writers to abide by a professional ethical charter to safeguard the principles and values of Islam and counter the biased media campaigns against Islam and the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, and the Holy Qur’an.

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.