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Friday 8 July 2016
RIYADH: A total of 23,164,319 pilgrims visited the Grand Mosque in Makkah in the holy month of Ramadan, according to the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
The statistics issued by the ministry also said that pilgrims were transported by 1,463,543 vehicles in visiting the Grand Mosque.
“The transfers were easy and convenient which complemented the efforts of the authorities under the Ministry of Interior,” the ministry said.
It added that “this illustrates the considerable efforts undertaken by the traffic police in Makkah to receive vehicles carrying pilgrims and visitors.”
It added that this was not easy since the traffic police also had to regulate the entry of cars, including public transport vehicles.
“Transport vehicles require special attention in terms of entry and proper the place for downloading and uploading of pilgrims with ease,” the ministry said.
It also said that traffic police were working around the clock to keep the roads leading to the Haram Al-Sharif free and ready to deal with any obstacle that could delay the arrival of vehicles.
“The traffic police were provided special equipment to remove any hindrance and ensure smooth traffic flow,” the ministry said.
The traffic police also had to deal with any vehicle that was not authorized to enter the premises of Haram Al-Sharif.
But the traffic police had a problem of dealing with motorcycle riders who were harassing pedestrians and worshippers and causing obstruction of vehicles.
But the ministry said that the traffic police performed well and expressed thanks to all government agencies which cooperated to ensure a smooth traffic flow for pilgrims performing their Islamic responsibilities during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Jul 9, 2016
MAKKAH/MADINAH – The Imams and Khateebs of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah lambasted terrorism and killing of innocent people, especially in the vicinity of Al-Haram Al-Nabawi at the end of Ramadan, Saudi Press Agency said.
In Makkah, the guests of Allah performed the first Friday prayer after the end of the holy month of Ramadan in the Grand Mosque amid integrated services and arrangements by the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
The presidency provided all services so that worshipers performed their prayers and rites with ease and devotion. The floors and courtyards of the Grand Mosque were full with worshipers who came early so as to find some space. Even the third Saudi expansion was full.
Meanwhile in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, worshipers and visitors performed the first Friday prayer after Ramadan in an atmosphere of spirituality and safety amid integrated services by all authorities including the Agency for the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque, the police, Traffic Department, Directorate of Health Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, branch of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Civil Defense and several private sector agencies.
The Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque Sheikh Dr. Khaled Bin Ali Al-Ghamdi stressed that it is among the most heinous acts and gravest sins to intentionally and adamantly kill innocent people, whose lives are inviolable. Such people have violated the sanctity of time and place by carrying out blasts and intentional sabotage. Their aim is to create destruction and chaos, disturb security and destabilize the country in order to achieve evil objectives. There are criminal gangs, sectarian terrorist organizations and malicious enemies. They have used ignorant people as tools and fuel to kindle the fires of destruction, chaos and instability in Muslim countries, forefront of which is the Kingdom.
Sheikh Al-Ghamdi said that the suicide bombings in three different places in the country at the end of Ramadan, and the bloodshed and terrorizing of peaceful and innocent people, to the extent that such incidents have reached the Prophet’s Mosque, is a calamity for every Muslim, who loves the two holy mosques.
It is also a sad, painful and confusing incident causing great concern. It is sad and painful because it occurred in the country of the two holy mosques — the cradle of revelation. The victims were innocent Muslims and loyal security men. May Allah Almighty have mercy on their souls.
The incident could have reached the Prophet’s Mosque were it not for divine providence and the efforts of the security men. It is bewildering and causing concern because all wise people are asking: Where have these ignorant attackers come from? They have violated the sanctities of time and place. How have they reached this dangerous stage in belittling lives and sanctities to the extent of making light of shedding the blood of their parents, relatives and innocent people? This is a flagrant violation of the sanctity of time and place.
Dr. Al-Ghamdi stressed that this is a strange phenomenon to Muslim societies and the country of the two holy mosques in particular. He said thanks to Allah this blessed country is practicing moderation and magnanimity of Islam, whether rulers or subjects. This confirms that this phenomenon is based on deviant and extremist thought and concepts that are way away from our Muslim society. They are disseminated by malicious enemies carrying the banner of corruption, evildoing, crime, disturbing security and destabilizing the country. These are a desperate attempt to distort the bounties this country is enjoying including security, safety, correct creed and approach and serving and caring for the two holy mosques.
Sheikh Al-Ghamdi stressed that Muslims everywhere must understand this fact. It requires of us to stand firmly and decisively against this painful and sad phenomenon. We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder united in word and deed by renouncing conflicts and disputes.
Every person who is capable of reforming and guiding Muslims including Ulema, intellectuals, politicians, mediamen and experts in social media must immunize the society and its sons. They must expose these (deviant) ideas and stand by the rulers and warn against these deviant thoughts and ideas. All must have a high sense of awareness and responsibility and understand the seriousness of this stage. Every one of us must guard the two holy mosques. Every one of us has a duty he must carry out, Sheikh Al-Ghamdi said.
Defending the country of the two holy mosques and Muslims’ sanctities, creed and religion are among the highest levels of jihad and among the most important duties, Sheikh Al-Ghamdi stressed.
He said Allah’s religion will be victorious and the country of the two holy mosques will be protected with the care of Allah Almighty. The sanctities of the Muslims are in trustworthy hands that will hit firmly and with all strength whoever strives to create chaos, sabotage and violate Muslims’ sanctities and their holy places.
Meanwhile in his Friday sermon, Imam and Khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah Sheikh Hussein Al-Asheikh spoke about the deviant group that terrorized the fasting believers and worshipers with blasts in the country of the two holy mosques.
He said towards the end of Ramadan when Muslims were happy that they had completed their fasting, had prayed to Allah to accept their prayers and supplications and completed the reciting of the whole Qur’an, they were shocked by three bloody criminal terrorist blasts in the country.
The perpetrators of these blasts have committed the ugliest and gravest sins. They have deviated from the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah and Muslims’ consensus, he said.
Don’t they fear Allah? What will they say when Almighty Allah asks them why they have shed the blood of innocent people? What is their stance towards their Creator when they are spreading evil and corruption by terrorizing peaceful worshipers and killing innocent fasting Muslims especially in the vicinity of the Prophet’s Mosque during the great holy month when people are devoting their time to worshiping Allah.
Al-Asheikh said the greatest weapon the enemies of Islam use against the religion is by fanning the factors of discord and driving the Muslim youth away from the Muslim consensus under pretexts whose exterior shows mercy while the interior is evil and torment. They do this under the pretext of supporting the religion and serving its causes. They try their utmost to keep the youth away from the pious Ulema who practice moderation.
Saturday 9 July 2016
MAKKAH/MADINAH: Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al-Ghamdi, imam and khateeb of the Holy Mosque of Makkah, said the biggest sin a person can commit is killing the innocent, causing destruction, creating chaos and tampering with peace.
During his Friday sermon, he said criminal groups, sectarian terrorist organizations and enemies are behind terror acts.
He said whatever has happened in this holy land in last days of Ramadan is a tragedy for Muslims and those who love the Two Holy Mosques. He said it was a painful and worrying incident because it happened in the land where the Holy Qur’an was revealed.
He said people are wondering where the attackers came from, who violated the sanctity of human life. He said such a practice is alien to Muslim societies in general, and the country of the Two Holy Mosques in particular.
He urged world Muslims to stand firmly and show unity against such practices. He urged scholars, thinkers, politicians, media persons to defend society.
Sheikh Hussein Al Al-Sheikh, imam and khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque said people were taken by surprise by the three acts of bloody explosions.
He said the heinous acts were carried out by a group which has deviated from the teachings of Islam and left the Muslim community. “They did what only enemies of the religion could do.”
He said this group was not afraid of Allah, the Almighty. “Do they not fear that their God will ask them about the bloodletting of innocents? What do they think about their Creator when they carry out such acts to horrify peace-loving worshippers?”
He urged people to think and learn from the incident. “The enemies of Islam are trying to sow seeds of division among Muslims.”
He highlighted the role of the media in creating stability in society, and warned Muslims against rumors and lies.
Saturday 9 July 2016
TABUK/RIYADH: Fahd Musallam Hammad Al-Nujaidi Al-Bluwi has renounced his terrorist brother Naer Al-Bluwi, who carried out Monday’s suicide bombing in Madinah, stressing that he strongly rejects the terrorist act perpetrated in the vicinity of the Prophet’s Mosque.
He said his brother’s actions went against Islamic teachings and that all his family members have disowned Naer and condemned his crime.
Fahd said three years ago, Naer joined the Border Guards, but later quit and was living in Tabuk. He used to visit his parents in the Wajeh Governorate occasionally.
He stayed with them this last Shaaban. On Ramadan 25, he told them on phone he was going to Makkah.
Fahd said his sister had told him that she had seen some clips belonging to terrorists in her brother’s mobile, adding that he immediately reported that to the security agencies.
Feeling broken and frustrated, Naer’s father said no words could express his anger and disgust with what Naer had done. “I disown him.”
He said: “I feel hopeless and saddened by this crime that my son carried out. He does not represent me or my tribe, and all my family supports the country’s efforts to fight terrorism.”
Zaki Hammad Al-Bluwi, Naer’s uncle, said his nephew’s criminal act is far from religion and humanity.
He said Naer was a criminal who slaughtered Muslims in the holy month, against all values and principles, and he and his family stood united against anyone attempting to harm the nation.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, Interior Ministry spokesman, said Naer had traveled abroad several times this year. He said the terror acts leave no doubts about their affiliation with terrorist organizations, especially Daesh.
“Enough evidence has been collected against those arrested and it shows that they supported Daesh,” said Al-Turki.
Investigations are under way, he said, stressing that the current security situation requires that people maintain calm and have patience. “The whole truth about the attacks will be revealed, after which the necessary legal procedures will be followed.”
Al-Turki said that preliminary investigations show that some of the 12 arrested Pakistanis have links with Daesh. The material used by the suicide bomber in Jeddah, nitroglycerin, is the same as the chemical used in the Qatif and Madinah bombings, he said.
Chemical expert Hisham Al-Sharqawi said one of its components, glycerin, is sold in drug stores and pharmacies as a moisturizing cream. It was transformed into explosives by the bombers. “This also indicates that the explosive belts came from the same source. The suspects who were arrested are affiliated with Daesh,” he said.
“It is one of the oils that are used as catalysts for explosives. When it is exposed to high temperatures, it explodes instantly,” he explained.
Al-Sharqawi said that some forms of acidic materials can become incendiary formulations, and that the most dangerous compounds within those materials are typically available for everyday use in various forms.
Nitroglycerin has been linked to several terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, and is a primary material in explosive belts.
Friday 8 July 2016
MADINAH: The closure of seven mosques in Madinah with a lock and key was clearly not enough for the authorities, as they have now closed them with brick and mortar, indicating that the decision is final. Religious visitors are dismayed at the closures and say that these mosques must be opened because they carry the trappings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his companions.
The Tourism Commission said it had no part in the decision and its now calling for them to be opened because they are an important part of Madinah’s tourism sector.
The seven mosques are part of the historical heritage of Madinah and are visited by many pilgrims.
While only six mosques are present in reality, the group of mosques that were closed are referred to as the “seven mosques.” Historians have said that the “Qiblatyyan Mosque”, which is a kilometer away from them, is the additional mosque because the people who visit the six mosques inevitably visit the seventh “Qiblatyyan Mosque” as well. However others still say that there were seven originally and that one disappeared.
Many believe that the Prophet prayed in some of these mosques and used to call on God in these places. They believe also that the rest of the mosques were frequented by the Prophet’s companions in the Trench Battle. Each one of them was in the mosque that was named after them.
These mosques lie in one of the trenches built by the Muslims during Prophet’s era to protect Madinah from the armies of the Quraish which sought to overtake them in the so-called “Battle of the Parties.”
Some historians also suggest these locations were places of monitoring in the battles and the mosques were named after those who stayed there to fight and protect Madinah from its south to its north. These names include Salman Alfarisi, Abu Bakar Al-Sadeeq, Omar bin Alkhattab, Ali bin Abi Taleb and Fatima Alzahra.
Shiekh Saleh Almaghamisi said that visits to these mosques by pilgrims are symbolic and serve as a form of remembrance of the Prophet and his Companions.
Post related: Four more Khandaq area mosques
'closed for public' http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...postcount=9704
Jul 18, 2016
MAKKAH — Zamzam water will be provided to Haj pilgrims in their accommodations through out their stay in Makkah, according to Minister of Haj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Bentan.
“Provision of the blessed water to the guests of Allah is a scared duty. By delivering it to pilgrims in their accommodations, we will help reduce congestion inside the Grand Mosque and cut the Zamzam water black market,” he said after a meeting with the Unified Zamazma Office.
Bentan said Zamzam water is free, but nominal charges are taken to cover the cost of transportation to the accommodations of pilgrims.
Chairman of the Unified Zamazma Office’s board of directors Abdul Hadi Zamzami said all arrangements have been completed to provide Zamzam water to all foreign pilgrims in their accommodations in Makkah during their entire stay from arrival until departure.
He said they have an electronic system to make sure that enough quantities of Zamzam water reach the pilgrims right where they are staying.
Meanwhile, the ministry has decided the Haj charges for domestic pilgrims. The charges, service categories and the mechanism for registration will be announced on Wednesday.
“Domestic pilgrims can start registering with the Mutawifeen at the ministry’s e-gate from Aug. 3,” the Haj minister said.
Bentan also discussed with officials at the Tuwafa establishment for Arab pilgrims arrangements to host about 280,000 pilgrims from 19 Arab countries.
The minister said the World Health Organization (WHO) will decide the countries affected by infectious diseases so as not to allow their citizens to perform Haj.
“We depend on WHO’s reports to decide on infection-free countries so as to allow their pilgrims to come to the Kingdom for the Haj,” he said in a press statement following a tour to Tuwafa establishments in Makkah.
The Kingdom last year prevented people from a number of West African countries to perform the Haj because of Ebola virus.
“People from all infection-free countries will be allowed to come to Saudi Arabia for Haj this season,” he added.
near to completion
The new Kiswa is almost complete. 3 sides done
and the 4th side is near to completion.
Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque, Madinah
' under construction '
JEDDAH: According to experts the Saudi Binladin Group, the biggest company working in the construction sector of the country, has drifted back from the brink of economic crisis.
The group faced a severe blow last year after oil prices fell drastically, forcing the government to cancel or suspend a number of projects, postpone payments and stop new contracts after one of their cranes fell on the Grand Mosque of Makkah resulting in the death of 107 people.
The acute shortage of liquidity had forced the Binladin Group to stop work on a series of projects and relieve thousands of its employees and workers. Many of its foreign workers have not received their salaries and were only paid a stipend amount that meet their day-to-day needs. Some of these employees, in an act of protest, even went so far as to burn buses of the company.
The government has taken a firm approach toward this issue over the last three months by allowing the company to begin pushing for new biddings. The Arab National Bank and Saudi British Bank have given the company long-term loans amounting to SR2.5 billion which enabled it to pay the salaries of 10,000 of its workers, reimbursing its bond amount and restarting its activities within some of the suspended projects including King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah in June. The group has also hired around 30 finance and management experts to draw the plans for its financial recovery.
The spokesman of the group said that it has now compensated 70,000 of its foreign workers after ending their contracts (this was out of a total of 200,000 workers). Bankers say that reducing the number of workers is a positive step. However, the group is still facing pressure as it requested a loan of SR817 million last week and used it for financing construction work in the Grand Mosque.
Nonetheless, commentators have said that the company is moving forward on a promising path.
Aug 3, 2016
JEDDAH — King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Haj terminal in Jeddah and Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah have completed all preparations for receiving pilgrims who will start arriving at these airports from Thursday (Dhul Qada 1), the first day of the Haj season of 2016.
For the coming period of two and a half months, the airports are expected to receive around 1.4 million pilgrims from all over the world.
More than 7,000 staff, representing 27 government and private agencies, will be involved in implementing the Haj plan.
According to the plan, all the lounges of the Haj terminal will be converted into arrival lounges from Dhul Qada 1 till Dhul Hijja 4 (Aug. 4 – Sept. 5) and departure lounges from Dhul Hijjah 16 to Muharram 15 (Sept. 17 to Oct. 16).
The first flight carrying pilgrims from New Delhi will land at 5.30 p.m.at Madinah airport. A total of 136,020 Indians will perform Haj this year.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in coordination with the Ministry of Haj and Umrah and other agencies, has prepared a plan in line with the directive of the Saudi leadership, to fast-track the arrival procedures by taking advantage of the e-track system.
Upon arrival at the terminal, officials from the Ministry of Health will receive pilgrims and give them necessary health guidelines and services, and then they will proceed to the Passport Control to complete immigration procedures.
The Haj terminal is spread over 90,000 square meters of roofed area and 160,000 sq. meters of open area. There are 142 counters for Passports (Jawazat) and 120 counters of the Ministry of Haj.
At Madinah airport, officials of the government and private departments serving pilgrims met to finalize the Haj operation plan. It is expected that the airport will receive a total of 2,678 Haj flights, a five percent increase over last year.
Meanwhile, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah and adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and chairman of the Central Haj Committee, met Minister of Haj Muhammad Saleh Bantan at his office in Jeddah on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Prince Khaled was briefed on the second phase of the e-track and e-bracelet systems for pilgrims and GPS system for pilgrims’ buses.
Wednesday 3 August 2016
JEDDAH: The first batch of Haj pilgrims will arrive at King Abdulaziz International Airport on Thursday, SPA reported.
All systems go at the Haj Terminal to receive Hajis following preparations by the relevant government and private organizations.
With the opening of the air corridors to receive pilgrims at the beginning of Dul Qa’da, the Haj Terminal will receive Hajis till Dul Hijja 4. It will then be prepared for the departure of pilgrims from Dul Hijja 16 to Muharram 15 — the last date of departure for pilgrims.
The time required for arrival formalities has been reduced to 30 minutes on average. It is expected to be further reduced to just 15 minutes per passenger.
There will be 70,000 pilgrims coming on 312 daily flights — 13 flights per hour on average.
Upon arrival, the pilgrims are received by the Health Ministry officials, who give them guidelines on health-related issues. Then the pilgrims move to the passport section.
After picking up their luggage and passing through customs, they are received by the Haj Ministry officials, complete some other formalities and leave by bus for Makkah.
Some 27 public and private organizations with a workforce of 7,000 people are available at the Haj Terminal to serve the pilgrims all year round.
Monday 8 August 2016
MAKKAH: Thirteen people charged with involvement in the fall of a construction crane at the Grand Mosque in Makkah last year will face trial in the Criminal Court in Makkah next week.
A website, quoting unnamed sources, said all but one of the accused would be present in court. The person not attending court on health grounds will be represented by his lawyer.
The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution in Makkah has completed its investigation in the case and has referred it to the Criminal Court. The incident, which took place during last Haj season, resulted in the deaths of 107 people and the injury to 238 others.
Earlier it was reported that the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution had identified 40 people who will face charges. The files of the accused were transferred from Riyadh to Makkah, where the state prosecutor was expected to add several more names.
It was reported earlier this year that out of the 40 on the list, 10 were government officials, while the remaining were managers, technicians and engineers working on the massive expansion project at the Grand Mosque.
An initial investigation revealed that the crane had fallen because of negligence involving several employees of the Saudi Binladin Group. These people were named in the report sent to the public prosecutor’s office in Riyadh.
Soon after the incident, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ordered massive payouts to the families of those killed and injured in the tragedy.
He announced payment of SR1 million for each victim’s family, SR1 million to those whose injuries resulted in permanent disability, and SR500,000 for each of the injured.
The king said that these payments would not prevent the families of the deceased and the injured from launching lawsuits through the courts for compensation.
Thursday 11 August 2016
JEDDAH: A Saudi billionaire and several other defendants faced a judicial committee made up of three judges in the first hearing of the Grand Mosque crane collapse case on Wednesday, as the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) completed its investigations which took 290 days.
Six Saudis will be reportedly on trial, in addition to a Pakistani, a Jordanian, a Filipino, a Canadian, a Palestinian, an Egyptian and an Emirati, who all face manslaughter charges.
In the accident last year, 110 people died, eight were left with disabilities, 210 were injured, according to reports from the Ministry of Health and the BIPP.
Sources confirmed that the black box report of the crane is being analyzed by the manufacturing company to find out what exactly happened.
Authorities reached accurate information on the angle of the fall — 87 degrees. There is also information about the wind speed around the main arm, and the maximum permitted speed of the wind, as well as the operations carried in the last minutes and 24 hours before the fall, when the wind was blowing at 89 kph.
The hearings also revealed technical information about the crane’s strength, its movement with high wind, the movement of the arm before the fall and the declared time of the fall.
The BIPP called members of a technical committee, formed from among Um Al-Qura University specialists, based on whose declarations it decided to prosecute some of those involved.
Investigators questioned the project manager, in the offices of the president overseeing the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque, and the senior engineer, at the Ministry of Finance and in front of specialized bodies from the Civil Defense in the Holy Capital.
They also reviewed technical and engineering reports prepared by Aramco, in addition to reports by the General Authority of Environment Protection and Meteorology.
Investigators questioned all officials, specialists and supervisors responsible for the security of the project.
BIPP asked the director of Um Al-Qura University to review the contract between the technical committee of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Project and Ben Laden group, as well as the committee’s tasks and responsibilities in regards to safety operations of the project.
It addressed the crane operating and manufacturing company and questioned more than 170 workers, technicians, engineers, specialists and supervisors working for the Ben Laden Group.
It leveled charges against 14 people for manslaughter and causing injuries and damage because of lack of knowledge of safety regulations and of how to deal with weather conditions that could affect such a gigantic crane that measures 200 meters in length and weighs 1,350 tons.
Judiciary sources said charges are mainly of negligence, manslaughter, and causing injuries and disabilities.
However, sources stress that no judgement should be passed before the judiciary gives its verdict.
The judicial committee summoned all defendants to court to hear the charges with the presence of a team from BIPP, as stipulated in the litigation system. Defendants who fail to attend will be dealt with strictly.
Sources confirmed that BIPP in the Holy City started investigations since the issuance of the royal decree; it interrogated a number of specialists, officials and engineers in Ben Laden Group. It also reviewed and studied hundreds of documents and reviewed maintenance and safety procedures related to the project, as well as letters and emails between directors and operators at the site.
The investigation team is made up of people with expertise from the BIPP and several directorates.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.