Haj sermon calls for unity as pilgrims fill Arafat

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Pilgrims gather on Mount Rahma in Arafat. (SPA)
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Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais
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Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al-Ashiekh
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Makkah Gov. Prince Kahlid Al-Faisal
Updated 11 September 2016

Haj sermon calls for unity as pilgrims fill Arafat

ARAFAT: Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque, led the multitude of pilgrims gathered in Arafat, in prayers after delivering the Haj sermon.
Delivering the wide-ranging sermon, Al-Sudais called on muslim leaders to work together to solve the many issues that are confronting the Ummah.
The imam said that “terrorism doesn’t belong to any religion or nation.” He also asked pilgrims to avoid politics during the Haj.
Al-Sudais gave the sermon this year instead of the Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al-Ashiekh after he opted out due to health reasons. Al-Ashiekh sat on a chair as he listened to Al-Sudais encourage pilgrims to benefit from their time at Arafat and the rest of their Haj.
He urged the unity of the muslims and warned about deviant ideologies reminding parents, teachers and scholars the responsibilities they have in nurturing the young away from deceptive messages.
Makkah Gov. Prince Kahlid Al-Faisal sat with worshipers as he listened to the sermon in which Al-Sudais thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the organizers of the Haj for their efforts in making the Haj easy for pilgrims.
The sheikh said that scholars are the inheritors of the prophets and that they should speak with truth and be a good example to the people.
Al-Sudais also asked those in the media to show responsible reporting by avoiding “sensationalism and rumours” and using their efforts to aid unity. 

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.