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#6091 [Permalink] Posted on 16th August 2018 09:17

Digital wave in holy cities 
as pilgrims become Internet-savvy


Wednesday August 15, 2018


JEDDAH — A digital wave is in full swing in the holy city of Makkah with the authorities ensuring high speed data transmission, keeping in mind the growing number of Internet-friendly Haj pilgrims who are keen on communicating with their near and dear ones back home in cyber space.


Pilgrims from across the world — from West Java in Indonesia to Kano in Nigeria — rely on digital communication during their stay in the holy cities. Besides serving pilgrims the telecom sector also supports security agencies in performing their job.


The networks play a vital role in curbing entry of unauthorized individuals and pilgrims without permits into the holy city during Haj.


From traditional voice and video calls to a range of mobile applications supporting vital state agencies, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) is making optimum use of technology to facilitate easy communication for the pilgrims.


The Kingdom is determined to provide high-speed data and best quality voice coverage for pilgrims from the moment they arrive at the airports up to the end of the Haj season.


The telecom infrastructure in Makkah is one of the most advanced in the world. "This Haj, we have increased signal towers in Makkah and Madinah to 16,000 from 13,000 in 2017," a statement from the CITC said.


The CITC further said that it had instructed mobile service operators to provide wireless Internet service via Wi-Fi technology to enhance the data traffic.


There are currently 3,000 Wi-Fi access points serving the pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah. In addition, a total of 920 sales outlets are run by various telecom operators in the two cities.


Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Ruwais, the governor of CITC, recently visited the holy sites in Makkah and security posts in Taif governorate to inspect the telecommunication infrastructure.


High-speed data traffic has also been helpful to navigate through the accommodation areas of pilgrims as many elderly pilgrims get lost during the Haj. With the help of digital maps volunteers and security officers take such pilgrims to their camps.


Also, many pilgrims tend to show the holy sites by video call module to their relatives back home, thus increasing the data usage.


http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...Internet-savvy

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#6092 [Permalink] Posted on 16th August 2018 09:20

Hajj pilgrims to try out
hotel rooms in a capsule
for the first time this season


12 August 2018 


JEDDAH: This Hajj season pilgrims will be able to try out the latest mobile hotel capsules — sleeping units that offer hotel room services and facilities in the smallest possible space, Hadiyah, the Hajji and Mu’tamer’s Gift Charitable Association has announced.


These capsules can be placed side-by-side or on top of each other, with a height of two units. When the capsules are stacked a three-step staircase gives access to the top capsule.


Capsules are fitted with a sliding door at the end that can be opened by a magnetic card for each user, to ensure privacy. 


Under trial


The door will open automatically if a blackout occurs. Separate toilets are provided with separate services so water basins or showers can be used at the same time. The capsules include external cabinets for storing luggage.


Mansour Al-Amer, director of the Hajji and Mu’tamer’s Gift Charitable Association, said the hotel capsule provides an ideal low-cost solution in crowded places such as airports, train stations, highway rest houses and holy sites. It provides a space in which pilgrims can change their clothes, take a shower as well providing as a store for luggage and valuables.


The capsules are to be tested by operating 24 capsules in selected locations, Al-Amer added.


“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research will conduct the required studies to inspect the success and feasibility of these capsules. The capsules will be deployed in Mina, targeting lost and elderly pilgrims who need rest and care to be able to continue to perform their rituals with ease and comfort,” Al-Amer continued. 


Results of the study will be announced after the end of the Hajj.


The capsules were first deployed near the squares of the Grand Mosque, in the last 10 days of Ramadan this year. A few issues were detected that will need to be worked on.


The mini hotel rooms, which are 220cm long, 120cm wide and 120cm high, are made of plastic and fiberglass. They can be deployed at the holy sites, pilgrims’ housing, accommodation complexes, and at the housing of workers and delegates.


http://www.arabnews.com/node/1354261/saudi-arabia











https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php...newsid=1796059

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#6093 [Permalink] Posted on 20th August 2018 01:40
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#6094 [Permalink] Posted on 24th August 2018 09:10

Saudi 'detains' Mecca imam who 'challenged mixed gatherings'

Sheikh Saleh al-Talib arrested after delivering sermon on duty in Islam to speak out against evil in public, group says.

Saudi Arabia has detained a prominent imam and preacher at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, activists said, after he reportedly delivered a sermon criticising mixed public gatherings.

The social media advocacy group Prisoners of Conscience, which monitors and documents arrests of Saudi preachers and religious scholars, said on Sunday that Sheikh Saleh al-Talib was arrested after he delivered a sermon on the duty in Islam to speak out against evil in public.

Khaleej Online reported that in his sermon, Talib, who also serves as a judge in Mecca, derided the mixing of unrelated men and women at concerts and other mixed entertainment events.

While there was no direct criticism of the Saudi royal family in his speech, the kingdom has in recent months relaxed laws on female attendance at public events.

Saudi Arabia has yet to issue an official statement on the issue.

Hours after his reported arrest, both of al-Talib's Engish and Arabic Twitter accounts were deactivated.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Yahya Assiri, a UK-based Saudi human rights activist, said the kingdom's "authorities are looking at everyone that's influential and has a presence on the scene".

He added: "Even those that have kept quiet or pledged allegiance to the state, even those that have been drumming up the authorities and their initiatives, even these are not safe."

Wave of arrests

Since Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, became the Saudi crown prince in June 2017, dozens of imams, women's rights activists and members of the ruling royal family have been detained.

Among those arrested are prominent Islamic preachers Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni, Farhan al-Malki, Mostafa Hassan and Safar al-Hawali.

Al-Awdah and al-Qarni, who have millions of followers on social media, were arrested last September and accused of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Saudi Arabia blacklisted as a "terror organisation".

Meanwhile, al-Hawali, 68, was detained after he published a 3,000-page book attacking bin Salman and the ruling family over their ties to Israel, calling it a "betrayal".

Earlier this year, bin Salman softened the kingdom's stance on Israel, telling the US-based Atlantic magazine that Israelis "have the right to their own land" and "there are a lot of interests we [Saudi Arabia] share with Israel."

In March, Riyadh granted India's national carrier permission to use its airspace to operate a direct flight between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

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#6095 [Permalink] Posted on 4th September 2018 09:34

New Umrah season advanced by a month


September 2, 2018 


MAKKAH — The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has started taking practical steps to implement the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aimed at ensuring the arrival of about 30 million Umrah pilgrims annually.


The ministry announced that the Umrah season for 2018-2019 has been advanced by 30 days to begin in Muharram (September) instead of Safar (October).


The Umrah season used to start in Safar, the second month of the Islamic calendar. However, this year Umrah pilgrims will start arriving in the Kingdom about eight days from now i.e. from Muharram 1.


The ministry said it will work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start issuing Umrah visas to pilgrims at its diplomatic and consular missions abroad.


According to the ministry, more than seven million pilgrims performed Umrah last season.


Deputy Minister Abdul Fattah Mashshat said 15 million pilgrims are expected to perform Umrah by 2022. The number will rise to about 30 million by the year 2030.


“We now have 1.8 million Haj pilgrims coming from outside. We plan to increase this number to five million by 2030,” he said.


The deputy minister said the arrival of pilgrims through the air, land and sea inlets has been made extremely easy and that the processing of passports of pilgrims will now take only a few minutes.


“In the just concluded Haj season we introduced the Makkah Road initiative under which pilgrims, especially from Malaysia and Indonesia, processed their passport procedures in their home countries,” he said.


Under the new initiative pilgrims will not have to wait for immigration on arrival in the Kingdom.


http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...ced-by-a-month

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#6096 [Permalink] Posted on 4th September 2018 17:18
abu mohammed wrote:
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Gangster Prince.
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#6097 [Permalink] Posted on 4th September 2018 18:41
wow. 1400 years ago our master said hajj and umrah will become business. here it is. did you guys see the 7* mina tents? there is a UK group advertising VIP tents as part of their USP. TVs buffets chefs leather sofas etc. no wonder why hajj doesnt have same affect on people as it did even recently as 20 30 yrs ago. its just become an expensive adventure/trekking trip in a dessert
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#6098 [Permalink] Posted on 4th September 2018 19:20
mkdon101 wrote:
View original post

Only for those who choose that route, otherwise there are still hardships for millions of others.

If the high spenders realised that with each hardship comes a reward, they would abandon their luxuries, yet at the same time, deep down, we all want a piece of that luxury, be it of the lowest form.

Somethings can't be avoided such as the plans to install pods in Mina to accommodate even more Hujjaj (to bring in even more money) or something as simple as doing Tawaf on a cool marble floor in the hottest of days.....something's are just going to be the norm unfortunately.

What you see in Hollywood will soon be seen in Hajj, a sci-fi Hajj!
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#6099 [Permalink] Posted on 4th September 2018 20:38
but why would anyone even want extreme luxuries during hajj? theres special hotels and places for all that. i agree we need some luxuries but mostly its basic comforts. last time i went haj the matteresses where useless and apart from 1st night the rest i slept in aziziye. it was literally width off your body and feet used to hang out and touching the mattressss of people on both sides so you can even turn. i dont think providing better beddings in mina and decent ac there constitutes as luxury.

issue with vip hajj is other cheaper ones will bump up their prices too so gap between vip and normal is smaller. 10k with darussalam you get vip but average uk package this yr was abt 6 to 8k
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#6100 [Permalink] Posted on 13th September 2018 09:19

Two Holy Mosques appoint 41 women
in leadership positions


September 11, 2018 


Jeddah — Close on the heels of the appointment of female chiefs in Jeddah Municipality and directors of health centers in Makkah, 41 women have been appointed in leadership positions at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.


The Presidency said in a statement that the appointments were made by President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais.


Shiekh Sudais said the Presidency works to ensure that women play a constructive and active role in improving the services offered in the Two Holy Mosques.


These appointments are in conformity with Kingdom’s Vision 2030 that supports empowering Saudi women and showing confidence in their abilities.


Three Saudi women were recently appointed as directors of health centers in Makkah.


They are the director of primary healthcare center in Hindawiyah, Dr. Shahad Muhammad Rummani, director of primary healthcare center in Al-Dhiyafa district Nahla Haddad, and director of primary healthcare center in Al-Iskan district Hatoon Bint Abdullah.


Recently a reshuffle in Jeddah Municipality by Mayor Saleh Al-Turki led to structural changes and more opportunities for women.


The mayor issued the reorganization of the municipality’s branches and redistributed over a dozen civil servants to various posts. Five were assigned to women, advancing women’s participation in leadership.


The changes and introduction of divisions such as an agency for hygiene services, community service, and a rain drainage project, among others, aim to increase productivity and performance, according to the mayor.


A newly created position called the supervisor of central municipalities is now taken up by Amani Mahmoud. She oversees the airport, Al-Sharafiyah, Al-Balad and Historical Jeddah and regularly meets with the mayor and his deputies.


http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...ship-positions

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#6101 [Permalink] Posted on 13th September 2018 20:15
the guys who did this were not extremist. what they did was fair enough wrong but they saw what ale salool were doing and now look were saudi is. wait till MBS becomes officially king and we will all be crying and regretting utaibah and his men didnt succeed.
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#6102 [Permalink] Posted on 17th September 2018 09:43

Photographers snap electrifying photos
of lightning strikes in Mecca


Monday, 10 September 2018


Last Saturday, stormy weather in the skies of Mecca meant many photographers were out with their lenses to capture the right moments when lightning struck.


One photographer, Youssef Bajjash, managed to take several photos of the lightening while it struck the tall clock tower in Mecca in a majestic scenery.


“I took many photos in the lightening night in Mecca. I chose a place in al-Khalidiya and stayed in a high altitude to take many photos for the lightening formations,” Bajjash told Al Arabiya English.


Bajaj has specialized in shooting portraits and landscapes of Mecca and its surroundings. He has prepared specific gadegets for such a mission which he carries with him whenever he sets out to photograph.


When lightening hit the holy mosque area, he immediately prepared his tools for the split-second chance of capturing a lighting strike.





“Shooting lightning needs certain camera settings, known for professional photographers like the shutter speed, the lens aperture and time-lapse shooting, to be able to capture the lightening in the desired speed,” Bajjash said.


“The lightening photos while it is implanted in the ground beside the central area, makes every photographer takes the photo from an angle according to his vision and his readiness for the shot,” he added.


The creative young Saudi photographer said he believes that shooting the lighting is sometimes a risk, especially if one stood too close.


The second photographer who captured photos for the lightening in the areas surrounding the Holy Mosque, Mohammed Ghazi, said: “I was in a very far place from the Holy Mosque, which allowed me to take a different photos that complement what Youssef Bajjash captured.”


Mohammed said he loves photography and capturing photos of lightning in Mecca after the thunderstorm and rain near Kaaba was a special achievement.


“I have been a photographer for three years now. I succeeded in capturing a lightening in the Holy Mosque in Mecca and have two photos that were published and have been shared by people.” Ghazi said.


https://english.alarabiya.net/en/lif...-in-Mecca.html








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#6103 [Permalink] Posted on 17th September 2018 09:47

Half of mosques in Saudi Arabia
without imams



Ministry of Islamic Affairs,
Call and Guidance

September 16, 2018 


RIYADH — More than half of the mosques in the Kingdom do not have permanent imams to lead regular prayers, according to a statistical report issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.


The report, covering the year 2017, said 51.5 percent of the mosques in the Kingdom were without formal imams, 63 percent did not have muezzins and 90.5 percent were without workers and cleaners to take care of them.


The report said the Northern Border Province was the only region with surplus imams. The region had 806 imams for 642 mosques.


It said no other region had imams in excess of the number of mosques. On the contrary, there was a shortage of imams in several regions, the report pointed out.


The report, carried by the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), said the total number of mosques in the Kingdom in 2017 was 98,800 while there were only 47,315 imams, 36,549 muezzins and 9,371 cleaners.


The report said this simply meant that 51.5 percent of mosques in the Kingdom were without official imams.


According to the report, there were 18,073 mosques, 13,330 imams, 10,354 muezzins and 3,097 cleaners in Riyadh, 17,263 mosques and 6,564 imams in Makkah, 6,681 mosques and 2,758 imams in Madinah and 7,341 mosques and 4,862 imams in Qassim.


http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...-without-imams

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#6104 [Permalink] Posted on 18th September 2018 09:06

Umrah season starts one month ahead

September 17, 2018


JEDDAH — The north and south terminals of King Abdulaziz International Airport Jeddah started receiving Umrah pilgrims well before the end of the Haj season.


Batches of Umrah pilgrims started arriving from Muharram 1 (Sept. 11).


It is expected that around 10 million pilgrims will perform Umrah in the new Umrah season, according to Essam Bin Fuad Noor, director general of the airport.


The Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced recently that the Umrah season for 2018-2019 has been advanced by 30 days to begin from Muharram 1 instead of Safar 1 (Oct. 10). According to the ministry, more than seven million pilgrims performed Umrah during the last season.


Speaking to the Saudi Press Agency, Noor said that the operational plan for the Umrah season will be implemented under the supervision of the General Authority of Civil Aviation and in cooperation with the government and private agencies at the airport.


Noor said that the Haj and Umrah terminal of Jeddah airport will be opened for the arrival and departure of Umrah pilgrims from Safar 1 until the end of the Umrah season on Shawwal 20, 1440.


http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...ne-month-ahead

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php...newsid=1814608

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#6105 [Permalink] Posted on 18th September 2018 09:07

Saudi Arabia allows pilgrims to visit
any city during their Umrah visit

Monday, 17 September 2018


Saudi authorities have confirmed that pilgrims and visitors from outside the kingdom can visit any city in the country during their 30-day Umrah visa, 15 days of which must be spent on visiting the Two Holy Mosques.


Abdulaziz Wazzan, Undersecretary of the Hajj Ministry for Umrah Affairs, said that more than 1,000 pilgrims from the world arrived in the Kingdom last week and over 25,000 Umrah visas have been issued over the last four days, Saudi daily newspaper al-Youm has reported.


He also pointed out that the programs dedicated to Umrah for pilgrims this year comes as a qualitative leap in enabling pilgrims and visitors from outside the Kingdom to visit any city in the country during their 30-day Umrah visa, including 15 days to visit the Two Holy Mosques.


Wazzan confirmed that he expects that the number of pilgrims this year will reach 8.5 million pilgrims until the end of the month of Shawwal, adding that the number of pilgrims last year exceeded seven million.


According to official statistics, the total number of pilgrims who arrived in Madinah after performing Hajj rituals has so far reached 770,704 pilgrims.


The daily statistics reported by Madinah-based Unit for Media and Social Communication of Hajj Committee said that the total number remaining in Madinah is 175,878 pilgrims.


https://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...rah-visit.html

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