FaceOf: Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, Saudi deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah

Time: November 21, 2018 

Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat
  • Mashat also served as the vice president for development of King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah
  • Mashat holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from KAU, as well as master’s and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Leeds in the UK

Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat has been the Saudi deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah since his appointment in October 2017.

Previously, Mashat was the president of the University of Jeddah between June 2016 and October 2017.

He also served as the vice president for development of King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah for three years between 2013 and 2016. Moreover, he was the dean of admissions and registration, and director of the information technology center at the university.

During his tenure, he had a set of critical responsibilities at KAU where he worked for 11 years.

He played a key role in earning KAU a higher world ranking since he was responsible for KAU’s academic and strategic planning, international and institutional accreditations, institutional research, assurance and quality assurance.

He also served as a part-time consultant for the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques between 2004 and 2013 to develop the e-government systems.

Mashat holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from KAU, as well as master’s and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Leeds in the UK.

The Hajj and Umrah Ministry organized an explicative forum on Monday for the Jeddah Prize for Creativity, under the title “Developing our cities for Hajj and Umrah.”

In his speech, Mashat highlighted the importance of Jeddah city as the pilgrim’s gate to Makkah. “Pilgrims feel comfortable when they arrive in Jeddah on their way to the sacred places. Jeddah combines originality, modernity, and cultures,” he said.

     

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Hajj Ministry’s new goal: Opening up pilgrims to Saudi historical, touristic attractions

Time: October 31, 2018   

Bentin was speaking at a workshop organized by the ministry in cooperation with the emirate of Makkah. (SPA)
  • The ministry has shifted its works to the unified electronic path and is following up feedback of the service providers and recipients

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh Bentin urged Umrah companies to improve the quality of their services and announced the launch of new high-standard investment opportunities for companies operating in the sector.

“The real and sustainable gain is the dedication to serving pilgrims,” he said.

Bentin highlighted the professional environment that provides the best services to pilgrims to enrich their experience from arrival to departure after having completed their rituals. He was speaking at the first workshop organized by the ministry to present and discuss the Umrah sector strategy under Vision 2030.

Bentin said that the program for serving pilgrims aims to facilitate arrival procedures for Hajj and Umrah visitors. He stressed that giving the opportunity to a larger number of companies improves competitiveness in services and allows for a wide range of excellent options.

The minister said all sectors of the country are keen to invest their potential, services and workforce in serving pilgrims. “Serving Hajj and Umrah is a national responsibility shared by all,” he said.

Bentin said that the sectors are endeavoring to serve pilgrims and enrich their Hajj and Umrah experience by introducing them to the many historical places and Islamic monuments and by creating a suitable environment.

He also underscored the importance of providing information, using technology and preparing quality initiatives that reflect the attention and care accorded by the Saudi leadership to pilgrims and visitors.

He said the ministry aims to issue Umrah visas throughout the year and without stopping during the Hajj season.

The ministry’s undersecretary, Abdul Aziz Wazzan, presented the Umrah-specific goals, the current Umrah figures and statistics, and the challenges of the sector. Then he presented the main areas in which the strategy and executive plans will operate to improve the quality of Umrah services to suit the growing number of pilgrims and reach efficient procedures through electronic platforms.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Qaradawi: Politics is more important than Hajj!

August 31, 2018

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

This year’s Hajj was one of the most successful and distinguished Hajj seasons as it is evident via the testimony of more than two million pilgrims and the praise of Arab and international media outlets and via the astonishing development of the services provided to the pilgrims. In spite of this success and distinction, political disputes dominated the minds of some people, especially in Iran and Qatar.

No matter how much the Muslim Brotherhood members study sharia, they could never be considered jurists because their understanding of Islam differs from what Muslims have known for centuries. The Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam jurists have jumbled up the priorities as while Islam focuses on faith and worship, they can only understand this religion from an angle of politics and partisan interests.

The tutor of terror

One of the most striking examples of this mindset is demonstrated by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has adopted the Qatari nationality and who is considered one of the most important Qatari weapons for spreading chaos and terrorism around the world via his extremist fatwas, violent political positions and incitement to kill and destroy.

After the four Arab countries boycotted Doha, the latter continued to adopt its stubborn and arrogant approach. Hence it went in the direction of Iran and Turkey and sought to find any means to support terrorism and extremism. This is what Qatar did after the anti-terror quartet put it under international scrutiny to monitor its relations with terrorism in Sunni and Shia countries, and this is why Qatar attacks everything related to these four countries as for example it went as far as preventing its citizens from performing Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, with the threat of imprisoning and punishing them.

OPINION: The dangers of apocalyptic discourse

In order to satisfy and align with the Qatari policy, Qaradawi wrote a tweet in which he underestimated the fifth pillar of Islam and people condemned it. He justified the Qatari move of preventing citizens from performing the obligatory religious duty. This is normal for Qaradawi and political Islam jurists. They prioritize the interest of the party and the organization over Islam. To them, Islam is a means to grab power and authority.

Agent provocateur

When he was a young member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi wrote a poem in which he praised Abdel Meguid Hassan, the killer of Mahmoud El Nokrashy Pasha. The poem which the Brotherhood youths echo says:

“Respect and salutations to you Abdel Meguid,
you have become a role model for the youth
You poisoned a dog and another dog came after him
and for every dog we have someone to poison him”

Qaradawi then fled from Abdulnasser’s oppression to Qatar. He played a dangerous role in many of the Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the Gulf. After the Vilayat-e Faqih revolution in Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Qaradawi supported it, and when the Brotherhood-Iranian axis of resistance was formed, it was supported by Qatar and Qaradawi.

Qatar established the International Union of Muslim Scholars for him to compete with traditional religious institutions. It gave Qaradawi millions to gather followers across the world and in the virtual world. Qatar sought to announce him as a religious reference that resembles the Vilayat-e Faqih reference in Iran to a great extent.

Qaradawi was one of the most famous figures to have who allowed suicidal operations and encouraged youths to execute such operations. All violent religious militias emerged after the issuance of his fatwas — starting with Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram to ISIS and dozens of terrorist militias who kill Muslims and peaceful people around the world. He fully supported the terrorist Lebanese Hezbollah and the terrorist Hamas Movement in splitting Palestinians and exploiting the Palestinian cause in order to serve Iran and its axis of resistance.

His bloody and terrorist ideology was fully exposed at the onset of the fundamentalist spring, which is known as the Arab Spring. At that time, Qaradawi seemed to have lost his balance and his terrorist voice grew hoarse. He went to Egypt and hijacked Tahrir Square under the protection of the Muslim Brotherhood.

There he talked about fundamentalism and extremism and spoke of an agenda that had not occurred to any mind there. He started to issue provocative remarks and unfounded fatwas based on the Brotherhood’s concepts which believe that taking over power is religion’s most important pillar and that restoring the Islamic Caliphate is the most important duty.

Purveyor of violence

During this ominous ‘Spring’, Qaradawi was live on television when he issued a fatwa to kill Muammar Gaddafi and encouraged everyone around him to kill him. This reflected a shameful compliance with the Qatari policy which was in support of terrorism and its groups in Libya at that time. Qaradawi thus issued this fatwa without any hesitation. Any true jurist, however, that has nothing to do with politics and its games would have never done so.

OPINION: When the Brotherhood’s ‘bankrupt’ speaks!

The ominous ‘Spring’ was a significant stage that exposed the jurists of political Islam, its groups and movements as this is when they realized that their time has come, and they must emerge to the surface and grab power in every country they operate in. Their political statements and positions started to become clear, and this cautioned countries and governments to the real danger represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches across Arab countries and the world.

Interpreting Islam by making politics its core and main duty is a pure concoction of the Muslim Brotherhood, an approach that has never been seen in the history of Islam. It all started with Hassan al-Banna who manipulated religious texts to serve his project, organization and group. At one time, he denounced politics and at another he made it central in his rhetoric.

Any serious researcher can track his contradictory statements on politics and religion, as well as his praise of fascism and Nazism. He established the secret organization and ordered assassinations of politicians, judges and figures who opposed him. Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of his disciples and group members who resumed the path after him to spread terrorism and extremism.

Qaradawi has lured a lot of the unspecialized intellectuals to his fold by issuing some tolerant fatwas on sub-jurisprudential matters. Some of them thus saw him as a symbol of tolerance and simplification. However, Qaradawi’s equation is clear, simplification on sub-jurisprudential issues and extremism in politics. Qaradawi is an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology in general but he became one of the major symbols of this movement.

Qaradawi is the Brotherhood’s bard of modest talent. Whoever reads the poems in his book Nafahat wa Lafahat or any of his other books would not miss the extremism and terrorism in his writings from his famous ‘Nouniya’ poem till his last poem. They are all highly provocative and incite terrorism and destruction.

Finally, Qaradawi and his ilk are mere cogs in the wheel of the Muslim Brotherhood which only finds in Islam what serves its political project.

This article is also available in Arabic.

____________

Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.

This article was first published in  Alarabiya

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Alarabiya’s Home

am

‘Exceptional’, says WHO chief on work of Saudi health services during Hajj

August 24, 2018

The World Health Organization has praised the services provided by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to the Hajj pilgrims. (AFP)

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has praised the services provided by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to the Hajj pilgrims and the great efforts exerted to care for them and maintain their health, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

In a tweet on his official Twitter account, he congratulated the Ministry of Health on its successful Hajj season, describing its work as “exceptional” during the pilgrimage season this year.

This article was first published in  Alarabiya

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Alarabiya’s Home

am

Hajj sites of Mina register new record of high electric load during Eid

August 22, 2018

Mina registered a new record of high electric load of 284 megawatts, compared with 256 megawatts last year, an increase of 11%. (SPA)

On the first day of Eid al-Adha, the sites of Mina registered a new record of high electric load of 284 megawatts, compared with 256 megawatts last year, an increase of 11%.

The head of the western sector, and general supervisor of the operational plan of the Saudi Electricity Company, Eng. Abdul Salam bin Rashid Al-Omari, said that the electrical service system in Mecca and the holy places operate according to the highest standards of reliability.

He pointed out that the pre-emptive maintenance of all facilities, stations and electrical equipment in the holy sites contributed to enhancing the reliability of electrical service over the past few days and that the new projects that were implemented before the Hajj season in the field of transport and distribution had a vital role in supporting the electrical system in the holy sites, Mecca and Medina in general.

This article was first published in  Alarabiya

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Alarabiya’s Home

am

King Salman: Serving Hajj pilgrims is great honor for our country

August 21, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman tweeted on Tuesday that it was a great honor for the kingdom to serve Hajj pilgrims. (Twitter)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received at the Royal Court at Mina Palace a number of princes, Grand Mufti, scholars, sheikhs, GCC senior invited officials, ministers, commanders of military sectors participating in this year’s Hajj season, leaders of scouts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participating in this year’s Hajj season, who came to greet the monarch and congratulate him on the occassion of Eid Al-Adha.

The audience was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense.

The king gave a speech on Tuesday in which he lauded the forces and the services provided to Hajj pilgrims this year.

“The pilgrims and the whole world watch and feel your efforts in serving the pilgrims. This is your duty and an honor that you will be rewarded for by Allah Almighty.

We are proud of the great sacrifices by the military sectors personnel to defend our country and protect its holy places,” King Salman said.

 

Earlier in the day, he tweeted on Tuesday that it was a great honor for the kingdom to serve Hajj pilgrims.

“The greatest honor God has given to our country is to serve the guests of God (Hajj pilgrims). On the occasion of Eid al-Adha, I ask God that their pilgrimage be completed with success and for peace to our Muslim nations and peace to all countries,” the tweet read.

This year, the total number of pilgrims reached 2,371,675.

1,758,722 of whom came from outside Saudi Arabia, whereas 612,953 came from inside Saudi Arabia.

The total number of male pilgrims reached 1,327,127 pilgrims, while female pilgrims reached 1,044,548 pilgrims.

With respect to the pilgrims arriving from outside Saudi Arabia, GCC pilgrims reached 34,140 pilgrims with 1.9%, while the number of pilgrims from Arab countries apart from GCC pilgrims reached 395,410 pilgrims with 22.5%.

This article was first published in  Alarabiya

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Alarabiya’s Home

am

Four Saudi women won a hackathon to make the Hajj safer

August 21, 2018

Hacking the Hajj

The Hajj is a huge feat of logistics. In 2018, an estimated 1.5 million people will take part in the annual Islamic pilgrimage to holy sites in and around Mecca, Saudi Arabia. About 1.3 million of them will come from abroad, according to Arab News. For many, it will be a once in a lifetime experience.

Accommodating this massive influx of pilgrims requires a vast transportation network, medical infrastructure, and a pop-up air-conditioned tent city that holds 160,000 people. Still, due to the large crowds, the Hajj remains dangerous. Over 2,400 people were killed in a stampede in 2015. Though this was a particularly large tragedy, stampedes killing hundreds are not unusual. Also, like any large gathering, crime is a concern.

To address some of the Hajj’s problems, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones took on a distinctly modern approach: it put on a hackathon. The Hajj Hackathon took place over three days in early August, in Jeddah. Participants were charged with coming up with technological solutions tailored to the Hajj’s challenges, such as crowd management, public health, and financial transactions. Two million Saudi riyals (worth about $530,000) in equity investment was awarded to winners.

With nearly 3,000 participants from across the world, the event broke the Guinness World Record for most participants in a hackathon. It was a star-studded affair. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak acted as a judge, while Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales was also in attendance.

The winners were an all-female Saudi Arabian team that designed an app, called Turjuman, for translating signs around Mecca without internet access. The hope is that if non-Arabic speakers could easily understand signage, it would lead to less confusion among attendees and reduce the chance of a stampede. Scannable QR codes would have be installed on signs for the app to work, which would also have a voice feature for those unable to read. The runner-up was a team of men from Egypt that designed a electronic payment system for Hajj pilgrims, which would reduce the likelihood of cash being stolen.

Unlike many events in Saudi Arabia, there was no gender segregation at the hackathon; about one-third of the attendees were women. “We managed to destroy the impossible and prove that Saudi women can achieve anything,” said Bayan al-Ghamdi, a member of the winning team, according to the Financial Times (paywall). This video captured the suspense—and elation—of the women’s victory when it was announced at the the award ceremony:

This article was first published in  QUARTZ

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  QUARTZ’s Home

am

Hajj pilgrims in Saudi holy city outnumber last year

August 21, 2018

Number of Hajj pilgrims in the Saudi holy city of Makkah has already exceeded last year, according to the country’s General Authority for Statistics

Muslim worshippers circumambulate around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AHMAD ALRUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of Hajj pilgrims in the Saudi holy city of Makkah has already exceeded last year, according to the country’s General Authority for Statistics.

Pilgrims from every corner of the globe marked the second day of Hajj on Monday, the high point of the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, Islam’s holiest city. It is considered to be the largest annual religious gathering in the world.

According to the official figures, the number of international and domestic pilgrims who arrived in Makkah by August 20 reached 2,368,873, of whom 237,160 pilgrims are Saudis or residents of the kingdom.

The authority said the numbers have already surpassed last year’s, when more than 2.35 million pilgrims performed Hajj, with more pilgrims yet to arrive.

The biggest overseas contingents are from Egypt, Iran, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Sudan and Jordan, it added.

It was a sea of white at Mount Arafat on Monday. After a night of heavy rains Sunday night, the multitudes of pilgrims, donning Ihram white special garments for men, started to move to Arafat, the high point of the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, Islam’s holiest city.

Once at Mount Arafat – where Prophet Mohammed delivered his last sermon – the pilgrims stood in contemplation, praying and asking God for forgiveness of their sins and listening to clerics delivering sermons near Jabal Al-Rahmah.

Known as “standing before God,” this segment of the second day’s ritual is one of the most solemn of the pilgrimage.

The pilgrims also performed prayers which were attended by Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and governor of Makkah region; and Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s Grand Mufti and president of Council of Senior Scholars and General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta.

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also chairman of Hajj Central Committee, said 10 projects had been executed at the holy sites including the expansion of roads and the separating of routes for pedestrians from those of the buses, adding that more than 1.8 million pilgrims will be transported by 18,000 buses.

On Tuesday, Muslims observe the first day of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the hajj.

Muslims traditionally slaughter sheep for the three-day Eid al-Adha, a tribute to the prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of a lamb after God spared Ishmael, his son.

They will consume some of the meat and give the rest to poor people unable to buy food.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so.

This article was first published in  arabian Business

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  arabian Business’ Home

am

Saudi King Salman arrives in Mina to oversee Hajj pilgrims’ comfort

August 20, 2018

Saudi King Salman at Mina to ensure of pilgrims’ comfort during the Hajj. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman arrived in Mina on the outskirts of Mecca on Monday to get reassured of pilgrims’ comfort through a package of services being provided to them by the Hajj authorities of the Saudi government to help them perform their rituals in ease, tranquility and security.

Upon arrival at Mina palace, the king was received by Prince Saud bin Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz, Special Advisor to the King; Prince Dr. Khalid bin Faisal bin Turki, Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Guard for the western sector; Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Consultant at the Royal Court; Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior, who is also Chairman of the Hajj Higher Committee; Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Consultant at the Royal Court; and a number of officials.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading your web browser

 

This article was first published in  Alarabiya

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Alarabiya’s Home

am

2 million gigabytes: how Saudi hajj pilgrims stay in touch

August 20, 2018

Saudi authorities announce initiative to provide a total of two million gigabytes for the two million pilgrims performing Hajj this week

Muslim worshippers circumambulate around the Kaaba Islams holiest shrine at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Makkah. (AHMAD ALRUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

The Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Communications and Information Technology Commission have announced an initiative to provide a total of two million gigabytes for the two million pilgrims performing Hajj this year.

The initiative is in partnership with mobile operators Saudi Telecom, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Mobile Telecommunication Company Saudi Arabia (Zain), Virgin Mobile, and Etihad Jawraa (Lebara).

A statement said that the initiative was in accordance with the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to do everything possible to make it easy for pilgrims to perform the rituals of Hajj”.

The gift is for those who have opted to use packages – Sawa Ziyara, AlZowar, Noor, Hajj & Umrah and Iman – provided by the kingdom’s mobile operators. Each user of these subscribers will have access to one gigabyte for 48 hours.

The initiative intends to allow pilgrims to communicate with their families and enable them to access the digital services available in the Smart Hajj initiative in order to enhance their experience and allow them to take advantage of enhanced communication services.

Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage, runs until Friday.

This article was first published in  arabian Business

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  arabian Business’ Home

am