‘Smart Hajj’: More services planned to improve pilgrims’ experience

Time: October 09, 2019  

Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, left, and Dr. AbdulRahman Aljadhai, CEO of Elm company, sign two memorandums of understanding to develop and operate an electronic platform for subsistence, health, environment, and to establish and operate the Qualifying and Licensing Center for Employees of Hajj and Umrah Sectors. (Photos/Supplied)

  • The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is one of the participants in GITEX 2019, an annual technological event in Dubai

JEDDAH: The first phase of “Smart Hajj” helped the movement, transportation and safety of pilgrims this year, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced.
Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, and Dr. AbdulRahman Aljadhai, CEO of Elm Co., signed two memorandums of understanding to develop and operate the electronic platform for subsistence, health, environment, and to establish and operate the Qualifying and Licensing Center for Employees of Hajj and Umrah Sectors.
“The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is undergoing digital transformation in cooperation with leading technology companies to promote the concepts of using smart solutions to provide high-quality services for the Guests of Allah, which will contribute to improving and enriching pilgrims’ experience in the Kingdom as well as achieve one of the main goals of Saudi Vision 2030,” Dr. Mashat said during a press statement at GITEX 2019.
“The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in accordance with the instructions and guidance of the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Salih Bentin, has made many strategic partnerships with the private sector to improve the quality of services and the development of ‘Smart Hajj’ solutions, including the signing of memorandums of understanding last year with SAP in the field of technology, digital infrastructure, cloud computing, geospatial cloud computing platforms, Internet of Things, and smart cards to improve services,” he said.
Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said: “Our Smart Hajj ensures that millions of pilgrims from around the world are transported quickly, easily and safely to religious sites on set schedules.
“The successful digital transformation allows real-time insights to optimize travel and crowd experiences and during our second phase of Smart Hajj we will roll-out predictive modeling and simulation for millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.”
The “Smart Hajj” captures in real time pilgrims using the Internet of Things, geospatial and camera analytics, along with data from the pilgrim experience mobile feedback platform.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is one of the participants in GITEX 2019, an annual technological event in Dubai. The ministry is showcasing its latest technologies in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and enriching their experience in Saudi Arabia.

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OIC praises Saudi Arabia’s $50m donation to UNRWA

28/09/19

Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf announced the donation to UNRWA on Thursday
OIC Secretary-General Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen also praised donations made by other member states of the organization
RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) praised Saudi Arabia’s donation worth $50 million to the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA on Saturday.
OIC Secretary-General Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen also praised donations made by other member states of the organization.
Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf announced the donation to the core program budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for 2019 on Thursday during a meeting with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“The renewed and generous donation by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is of great significance to our Agency… We are very grateful for the dynamic partnership and cooperation with the Kingdom”, said Mr.Krahenbuhl.
UNRWA is a UN agency and provides assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

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Saudi Arabia gives $50m to Sri Lanka for medical faculty

Time: September 19, 2019

COLOMBO: Saudi Arabia provided a concessional loa3eeeillion) to Sri Lanka on Wednesday to establish a fully equipped faculty of medicine at the Sabaragamuwa University at Ratnapura.

The agreement was signed between vice chairman and managing director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Dr. Khaled Sulaiman Al-Khudairy, and secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, in the presence of the Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdulnasser Al-Harthy.

Following the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance in Colombo, Samaratunge said that the Saudi funding would help to contribute to the government policy of augmenting opportunities for higher education in medicine in Sri Lanka.

The funds will be used to construct infrastructure facilities and to provide undergraduates with state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities (laboratory and other equipment) that will help provide them with a world-class medical education.

FASTFACT

The Muslim World League recently donated $5 million during Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa’s visit to Sri Lanka to help the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb blasts.

Al-Harthy said that this is one of the several projects that is funded by the Saudi Fund for Development. The SFD has given SR1.4 billion to Sri Lanka as soft loans and grants since the 1980s, he said.

“We hope to help Sri Lanka not only in education; we will consider more such facilities in health, roads, irrigation, community development and agricultural sectors,” Al-Harthy said.

Last year, the SFD granted two concessional loans worth $73 million to Sri Lanka for its higher education and water resource management sectors.

The SFD provided $28 million for the Wayamba University Township Development Project, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways. This project is designed to develop the academic facilities and infrastructure of the university as well as support the livelihoods of people who live in the area around it. The SFD also provided a concessional loan of $45 million to implement the Left Bank Development Project in Kaluganga.

The Muslim World League recently donated $5 million during Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa’s visit to Sri Lanka to help the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb blasts.

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Islamic affairs minister highlights Saudi effort to spread moderation

Time: September 09, 2019  

Al-Asheikh welcomed the Bangladeshi minister, noting the deep and solid relations that bound Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh together. (SPA)
  • Abdullah added that memorizing the Holy Qur’an in Bangladesh was of high importance and was the reason behind his country taking part in the competition

MAKKAH: The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh received the Bangladeshi Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Abdullah was head of a delegation arriving in the Kingdom to participate in the 41st King Abdul Aziz international competition for memorizing, reciting and interpreting the Holy Qur’an.
Al-Asheikh welcomed the Bangladeshi minister, noting the deep and solid relations that bound Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh together, especially with regard to Islamic call.
The Saudi minister also highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to serve Islam, spread moderation, reject and fight extremism, and work for the unity of Muslims of all ranks throughout the world.
The Bangladeshi minister pointed out that his country fully supported the Saudi stance and said the Muslim world should follow in the Kingdom’s footsteps in spreading the message of moderation and uniting behind King Salman to fight evil around the globe.
Abdullah added that memorizing the Holy Qur’an in Bangladesh was of high importance and was the reason behind his country taking part in the competition. He also praised Saudi Arabia’s success in organizing this year’s Hajj season.

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Saudi Arabia donates $2m for food security among Muslim countries Previous

Time: August 30, 2019  

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Saudi Arabia is to pump $2 million (SR7.5 million) into efforts to improve agricultural output and food security among Muslim countries. (SPA)
  • Al-Fadhli’s announcement of the funding came during the second session of the IOFS’ general assembly in Jeddah
  • Secretary-General of the OIC said food security was one of the highest priorities of the organization

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to pump $2 million (SR7.5 million) into efforts to improve agricultural output and food security among Muslim countries.
The Kingdom’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, who is also chairman of the general assembly of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), said the contribution was aimed at enhancing the organization’s work and the adoption of food security strategies by all its member countries.
Al-Fadhli’s announcement of the funding came during the second session of the IOFS’ general assembly in Jeddah. The minister said that Saudi Arabia attached great importance to agricultural development, environment and food security in all its policies relating to national, regional and global food security.
Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen said that the organization was working to implement a comprehensive policy to develop agricultural products and food security and improve Islamic environmental cooperation in the food and agriculture sectors.
He added that food security was one of the highest priorities of the OIC, particularly as the economies of most of its member states were based on agriculture, with the sector accounting for about 12 percent of their GDP.
Al-Othaimeen thanked the government of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for hosting the meeting in Jeddah and for the Kingdom’s $2 million donation to support the work of the IOFS.

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Sudanese pilgrims thank king for Hajj hosting

Time: August 19, 2019  

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The program, which was implemented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, invited 1,000 pilgrims from Sudan to perform Hajj. (SPA)
  • The worshippers said that the hosting reflects King Salman’s appreciation for their sacrifices in defending their Yemeni brothers against Iranian-backed Houthi militias

MAKKAH: Sudanese pilgrims who came as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah thanked King Salman for hosting them.
The program, which was implemented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, invited 1,000 pilgrims from Sudan to perform Hajj.
Of them, 500 came from the Sudanese Army and those belonging to the families of fallen Sudanese troops who fought with the Arab coalition forces to support the legitimate government in Yemen.
The worshippers said that the hosting reflects King Salman’s appreciation for their sacrifices in defending their Yemeni brothers against Iranian-backed Houthi militias, that violated all international laws. They said that the kind gesture represents the historical relations and unrivaled support shown to Sudan by Saudi Arabia.

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KSA transports 43,000 pilgrims free of charge from Mina to Grand Mosque

Time: August 18, 2019  

The service of transporting pilgrims was implemented under the governor of Makkah, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, to provide best facilities. (SPA)
  • The first route is dedicated to pilgrims from Turkey, Europe, America, Australia and the Southeast Asia Foundation

MAKKAH: For the first time during this year’s Hajj season, 43,000 pilgrims from Turkey, Europe, America and Australia were transported free of charge from Mina to the Grand Mosque to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah.
Adel Qari, the supervisor of the transport sector at the Establishment of Motawifs of Pilgrims of Turkey Muslims of Europe, America and Australia, said that this was part of preparations for future expansion and development of this experiment. Coordination can then be done in advance for the establishment of stops, the use of distinctive buses, and the employment of the largest number of them.
Qari told Arab News that the service of transporting pilgrims from Mina to the Grand Mosque during the Days of Tashreeq was implemented under the governor of Makkah, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, who directed the Supreme Commission for Transport Control to implement the service on four dedicated routes.

FASTFACT

43,000 pilgrims from Turkey, Europe, America and Australia were transported within 30 hours — between 1 p.m. on Dul Hijjah 10 (Aug. 11) and 7 p.m. on Dul Hijjah 11 (Aug. 12) — on 150 buses, which carried out successive trips from their camps in Mina to Jroul Station north of the Grand Mosque.

“The first route is dedicated to pilgrims from Turkey, Europe, America, Australia and the Southeast Asia Foundation. The second route starts from the Jamarat facility, passes through the Grand Mosque and ends at Talaat Sidqi Street. The third route starts from the end of the Jamarat facility, passes through the Grand Mosque and ends at Al-Shisha district. The fourth route runs from the King Khalid Bridge to the Grand Mosque,” he said.

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OIC chief praises Saudi leadership on Hajj success

Time: August 16, 2019  

OIC Secretary-General Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen. (AFP)

JEDDAH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, congratulated the leadership, government and people of Saudi Arabia on the success of this year’s Hajj season.
He expressed thanks for the services and facilities provided to pilgrims from their arrival in the holy sites until their return to their countries.
Meanwhile, Arab Islamic affairs and information ministers and heads of pilgrims affairs offices, who led their counties’ Hajj missions, said that this year’s Hajj season was free from any difficulties and praised the cooperation among all bodies working during Hajj days.

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UK parliamentary group praises Hajj facilities

Time: August 16, 2019

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From left: British Consul-General Seif Usher, Yasmin Qureshi, MP, and Rashid Mogradia, CEO of the Council of British Hajjis. (Photo/Supplied)
  • The Kingdom welcomed about 26,000 British pilgrims this year
  • More than 100,000 pilgrims traveled from the UK to perform Umrah

JEDDAH: The head of a British parliamentary group praised Saudi authorities for their efforts in ensuring another successful Hajj season. The Kingdom welcomed about 26,000 British pilgrims this year, many of them first-timers. In addition, more than 100,000 pilgrims traveled from the UK to perform Umrah.

MP Yasmin Qureshi, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj and Umrah, was among the British Hajj pilgrims.

“I would like to thank the Saudi government for their logistics and preparations for Hajj, which has allowed British pilgrims to perform the pilgrimage with significant ease,” she said.

“At the Hajj Symposium, I had the opportunity to meet the Deputy Minister for Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, and Dr. Abdul Aziz Wazzan (an undersecretary at the ministry), who shared with us the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans. They are hoping to increase the number of pilgrims and enhance their experience. The number of Britons who attended Hajj is a promising sign of their future success.

“We look forward to developing close cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the UK.”

British tour operators and pilgrims reported great improvements at Hajj this year, including an immigration process lasting less than five minutes and a journey to Makkah that took only a few hours.

“I was proud to receive the first group of Hajj pilgrims (from Britain) on arrival at Jeddah airport last month,” said British Consul-General Seif Usher. “During the course of Hajj, I have had the privilege of meeting pilgrims from across the United Kingdom. Their commitment to fulfilling this most important of religious undertakings in Islam, and especially during the high temperatures of August, has been an inspiration.”

Rashid Mogradia, CEO of the Council of British Hajjis, also commended King Salman and the Saudi government for developing a range of services that ease and improve the Hajj experience.

“We are witnessing a transformation in the delivery of services for Hajj, and we are adapting by working with licensed Hajj organizers and local Saudi agencies to deliver support for British pilgrims,” he said.

“Our dedicated Hajj Team has been moving with the tour groups and pilgrims throughout Hajj and supporting them as required, giving them reassurance during this enduring journey of faith.”

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British Council official praises Hajj authorities on ‘wonderful’ pilgrimage

Time: August 12, 2019  

The head of the British Council in Saudi Arabia praised Hajj authorities on the successful operation of the Islamic pilgrimage. The Hajj authorities “have done a wonderful job” in providing services and facilities to over two million people to ensure the pilgrimage goes “smoothly,” Amir Ramzan said.

For more on this story: https://bit.ly/2OR1tvm

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