Vienna dialogue center opens Monday

Vienna dialogue center opens Monday
Updated 21 November 2012

Vienna dialogue center opens Monday

Vienna dialogue center opens Monday

The King Abdullah International Center for Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue in Vienna will be opened on Monday in the presence of Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other dignitaries.
More than 600 delegates including religious leaders from around the world are expected to attend the opening. The Vienna center was established on the initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, said Faisal bin Muammar, its secretary-general.
The center’s board of directors includes representatives of different religions and cultures, he said. “King Abdullah’s vision has now become an institution,” he said, adding that the king believed that dialogue is the ideal way to promote world peace.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Ahmed Tayeb, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s office in the Makkah region, commended King Abdullah’s interfaith initiative, saying it would be crowned with the Vienna center’s opening.
He made this comment while addressing a seminar at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah.
Tayeb commended OIC’s efforts to confront Islamophobia by setting up a center to monitor such anti-Islam activities around the world.
The seminar was attended by OIC Secretary-General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary-General Adnan Mandoura, Russian Consul General Sergei Kuznetsov and US Consul General Anne S. Casper.


Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission

Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global  post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission
Updated 17 min 53 sec ago

Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission

Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global  post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission

JEDDAH: Universal Islamic principles should be used as the basis for tackling world human rights issues in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a leading inter-governmental Muslim organization has recommended.

During a meeting to coincide with the 10th anniversary of world Islamic Human Rights and Human Dignity Day, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) called upon member states to adopt the approach in joint efforts to address post-pandemic global challenges.

Commission delegates pointed out that millions of people in countries around the world continued to face indignities including foreign occupation and oppression, hunger, preventable diseases, limited socioeconomic opportunities, and lack of access to basic needs, all of which seriously undermined their fundamental human rights.

The IPHRC gathering noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had only compounded the existing global human rights situation such as by doubling the number of people facing food crises, and children losing access to basic education and health services.

HIGHLIGHT

IPHRC members recommended that all states should cooperate with their political, religious, and community leaders to promote a better understanding of universal human rights values, collectively deal with the underlying causes of racism and religious intolerance, including islamophobia, and ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

Members highlighted a growing incidence of cases of hate speech, xenophobia, and racial and religious discrimination, issues they said were driving a wedge through multicultural societies and threatening global peace and security.

While stressing that the conceptual foundation of human rights in Islam placed a strong emphasis on the inherent dignity of human beings and their equality before the law, in harmony with universal human rights principles, the commission urged member countries to work alongside regional and international stakeholders to devise practical human rights-based, people-centered policies to help improve lives.

It also made an appeal for the international community to reinforce respect for diversity, multiculturalism, democracy, and the rule of law, which were at the core of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

IPHRC members recommended that all states should cooperate with their political, religious, and community leaders to promote a better understanding of universal human rights values, collectively deal with the underlying causes of racism and religious intolerance, including islamophobia, and ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

Welcoming the continued and growing importance placed on human rights issues within the OIC, the commission hailed the adoption of a revised version of the organization’s Cairo Declaration on Human Rights, which it said had helped to bridge the perceptional and legal gaps between the compatibility of universal human rights and Islamic laws.

An ongoing revision of the OIC Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam was also applauded as a route to further strengthening the organization’s normative and institutional human rights architecture.


Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah
Updated 58 min 53 sec ago

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Othman Gazzaz heads the research and media affairs department of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah.

Gazzaz holds a bachelor’s degree in media from Umm Al-Qura University. He also received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in media from the University of Leicester in England.

He published a number of scientific journals such as “The extent of pilgrims and Umrah performers’ reliance on the mobile exhibition using hologram technology to obtain information during the performance of the rituals” in the International Journal of Customer Relationship Marketing and Management earlier this year.

In 2015, Gazzaz published two articles in the Journal of Public Relations Research Middle East titled “Exposure to digital signage and message recall: Determining the effectiveness of the billboard outside the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque at Madinah Al-Munawwarah” and “Pilgrim problems and their communication patterns in the Hajj 1434 (H): A study of the communicative ecology of the pilgrim community from Egypt.”

At a conference in Langkawi, Malaysia in 2014, he presented his research “Communicative ecology of sojourners from Pakistan and its implications for public service campaigns.”

The academic also tackled sensitive issues in his research “Responding to the Western satellite TV’s image of Islam and Muslims: Theory & research-based policy challenges.”

Gazzaz was a member of the Association for Social Awareness and Rehabilitation between February 2016 and 2017, and the Association of Neighborhood Centers in Makkah between February 2016 and 2019.


KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh

KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh
Updated 06 August 2021

KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh

KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh

RIYADH: The supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, met Janet Alberda, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh on Thursday. 

During the meeting, the two sides discussed means of cooperation in humanitarian and relief work.

The ambassador praised Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts exerted through KSrelief to alleviate the suffering of peoples and countries around the world.

Also on Thursday, KSrelief and Almaarefa University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish cooperation and collaboration in various fields including voluntary medical work abroad, exchange of expertise, and the transmission of knowledge.

Both parties will also collaborate in conducting research and studies, building capabilities and joint training programs, and sharing information including reports, statistics, and spreading awareness about the role of KSrelief and its rescue and humanitarian activities.

The MoU was signed by Al-Rabeeah and Walid Al-Faraj, president of Almaarefa University. In addition, the MoU aims to strengthen activities, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions, and exchange visits to boost cooperation, as well as exchange consultancy services regarding rescue and humanitarian work.

 

 


Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia
Updated 06 August 2021

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia
  • Visitors from different parts of the community can participate and contribute their drawings
  • The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture on Thursday launched an event to draw Arabic calligraphy murals in ten regions in the Kingdom.
The tour falls, which ends in January under the umbrella of the “Year of Arabic Calligraphy” initiative that was launched by the ministry.
The event begins in the city of Arar in the Northern Borders Province for three days, and then will move to the city of Sakaka in Al-Jouf, followed by Tabuk, and then Qassim. The first phase concludes in the city of Abha in Asir.
The event will complete its second phase in September in Al-Baha, Hail, Madinah (AlUla), Al-Ahsa, and then Jazan.
A mural will be drawn in each area by a local calligrapher and a graffiti artist in an open space, where visitors from different parts of the community can participate and contribute their drawings and lines until the mural is completed.
The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.


How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship
Updated 06 August 2021

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship
  • Some 100 pieces of furniture and textiles have been recreated based on traditional Saudi techniques
  • Items have formed backdrop to high-profile meetings with dignitaries such as John Kerry

RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on June 16, there was something about the official photos that caught the eye.

Instead of the usual understated grandeur of a palace interior where such senior officials would usually meet, Kerry found himself surrounded by a splendid display of traditional Najdi decor.

Giant strings of bedouin beads hung on the walls above him and stunning hardwood tables, surrounded with colorful poufs, adorned the floor space.

Arab News can reveal that the interior design is part of a project requested by the crown prince to create more than 100 unique items that represent the heritage of Najd.

Cyma Azyz and Faisal Al-Saadaway were tasked with having the textiles, furniture and other items handcrafted using entirely Saudi tools and materials.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) meeting with the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (2nd-L) in the capital Riyadh in June. (AFP/Saudi Royal Palace/File Photo)

Azyz told Arab News that the crown prince requested that not a single nail from outside the Kingdom be used on the project.

Al-Saadaway is one of the most experienced collectors of Saudi antiquities in Riyadh and has expertise in the architecture and design of Najd, Saudi Arabia’s vast central region, while Azyz was a television anchor with a passion for the preservation of Najdi arts and culture.

The two were first approached for the private project in their outlet in Diriyah — called “Saadaway Najd” — by an interior designer for the crown prince.

The designer was intrigued by their collection and visited their main Arts and Antiques Gallery in Olaya in the summer of 2018. 

“The gentleman paid us a visit and was astonished at the eclectic quality of antiques and delighted to see our large selection of Najdi furniture, accessories, and textiles that were inspired by the Bedouin rugs for upholstery and curtains,” Azyz said.

From there, the construction began. The crown prince’s team wanted to ensure that traditional Najdi craftsmanship and design were represented in every piece of the project.

The most prominent part of the project became known as the “Majlis,” where political leaders and guests like John Kerry meet the crown prince. 

Cyma Azyz and Faisal Al-Saadaway were tasked with having the textiles, furniture and other items handcrafted using entirely Saudi tools and materials. (AN Photo/Lama Al-Hamawi)

The team first researched the authentic Najdi techniques of construction and furnishing that were available through the assistance of local sources and the government. 

They then visited traditional village homes to study the detailing and design of the furniture.

“The sheer quantity of the details and design in the data collection allowed us to create authentic designs efficiently, which is the reason behind the fast completion of the crown prince’s project,” Azyz said. 

“A project of this magnitude realistically cannot be completed in less than one year, but the timeline given was three months,” she said. 

The project included vintage leather water pouches, painted leather panels, armchairs, sofas, coffee tables, study tables, sideboards, chests, chairs, alabaster vases and more. 

The partners spent day and night crafting each piece to perfectly represent Saudi culture. 

There were numerous techniques used in the project including the detailing and hand carving of the side tables, the painting of the gold and copper nails, and the etching, burning and engraving of each piece.

The design of the project was established within the Olaya gallery, but the production of each piece was carried out in a workshop in Saniyah, Riyadh’s industrial area.

Instead of the usual understated grandeur of a palace interior where such senior officials would usually meet, John Kerry found himself surrounded by a splendid display of traditional Najdi decor while meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AN Photo/Lama Al-Hamawi)

“I personally oversaw the production of the pieces, from the early hours of the morning to past midnight, in a workshop in Saniyah,” Azyz said.

She was the only woman in the workshop, and her brothers would complete their workday in a bank and help her with the project.

“It is not an area where women are commonly seen, but this project, having such limited time constraints and so many details, called on us to join forces with our factory workers and carpenters.”

The delivery process was also very intricate because there were so many fragile pieces that took hours to create. 

“The classic Najdi furniture doesn’t come with loose screws and washers to be boxed and sent. Actually, it cannot be easily assembled on-site, so we had to send finished pieces, meaning larger truckloads,” Azyz said. 

Azyz and Al-Saadaway said they were passionate to take on the project because of its importance in preserving the local heritage.

“In this era of modernization, it is very important to keep the heritage and culture alive for younger generations to learn about their past and history,” Azyz stated. 

“I have personally met and worked with craftsmen from different parts of the Kingdom and was devastated to learn that most of them do not care about passing their handicrafts onto their children, as they want them to pursue brighter career prospects following education in big institutes and life in bigger cities,” Azyz said.

“Our crown prince is not only living by example but has taken it one step further with mega projects that are heralding the era of ‘made in Saudi Arabia’ for the revival and preservation of our folk arts.”