Flashes from the Muslim World


Ties Trade after Landmark Deal

India highlighted its growing bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates, after the nation’s foreign office ministers held talks in New Delhi following a series of high-level meetings between the two countries this year.

India and the UAE signed a landmark deal with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. This pact reduces tariffs on almost 80% of all goods and provides zero duty access to 90% of Indian exports.

The UAE is India’s third largest trading partner after the United States and China, with a bilateral trade volume of USD43.3 billion in 2020-21. It is also home to more than three million Indian expatriates, who send billions of dollars in remittances to their families each year.

Rupee-Dirham Trade with UAE

The UAE and India are preparing to introduce bilateral transactions using local currencies, New Delhi’s envoy to Abu Dhabi said recently, with the move expected to boost the free-trade deal between the two countries.

Trade between India and the UAE is mostly invoiced in dollars, which can be an expensive affair for businesses on both sides, due to foreign currently conversion fees and exchange-rate risk.



Saudi Solar Project to help Energy Goals

A 1,000 megawatt photovoltaic power facility planned in partnership with a Saudi power giant was expected to help Bangladesh resolve its energy crisis, authorities in Dhaka said recently.

Bangladesh, which is dependent on imported liquefied natural gas, has been struggling with an energy crisis for the past couple of months. It is reported that the project would comprise up to five power plants, cost around USD3 billion, and would not take long to complete.

In early October, some 80% of Bangladesh’s 168 million people were left without electricity after a grid failure which occurred when more than one-third of the country’s gas powered units were short of fuel.


Dubai Main Airport Raises Forecast

Dubai’s main airport raised its passenger forecast for this year by nearly two million to 64.3 million people after a strong pick-up in business in the third quarter from the same period last year.

The Gulf hub has seen more than 46.3 million passengers so far this year, up 168% year-on-year with about 72% of its traffic in the same nine months of 2019 before the pandemic.

London was the top city-destination in the third quarter with two million passengers, followed by Riyadh, and Mumbai. India was the top country-destination with 6.8 million passengers, followed by Saudi Arabia, Britain and Pakistan.



Aims to Spend USD5bn on Projects

Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, aims to spend 1.9 billion Rials (USD4.95 billion), on investment projects in 2023, state media reported recently.

The OIA said financing will come from the local and foreign private sector, from financing institutions or from the agency itself or its subsidiaries. The Ministry estimates that the 2023 budget deficit will amount to about 1.3 billion Rials, constituting 11% of total revenues and 3% of the gross domestic product.


To Support Food Security in Somalia

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and the British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office have agreed to a deal to support food security in Somalia.

The Aid office said that it will provide financial support to enhance food security for drought-affected people in Somalia with an amount of USD4 million.

The Kingdom recently distributed 140 tons of food baskets in Somalia to 12,000 people as part of an ongoing security in the country.

Kingdom and Uzbekistan Review Cooperation

Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan reiterated their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations in a meeting held in Riyadh. The visit focused on reviewing the development projects and programs funded by Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) in the Central Asian country.

The SFD has supported the government of Uzbekistan with several development loans. It has contributed to financing the implementation of eleven projects across several sectors, including health, education, roads, irrigation, drinking water and housing with a total amount of USD276 million.

Muhajir Initiative Documents

The team behind the Muhajir (Arabic for ‘Migrant’) initiative announced that it has documented Prophet Muhammad (saws)’s journey from Thawr Cave in Makkah to the Quba Mosque in Madinah, including more than 20 stops.

The team spent more than a year researching and documenting the path taken by the Prophet’s convoy. The details of the Prophet’s journey will be displayed in the Migration Museum in Mount Thawr in Makkah in an exhibition including documentaries, photos, drawings and maps.

The show will be in several languages to enable pilgrims and foreign visitors to enjoy it as well.

Prophet’s Mosque Receives Increasing Number of Visitors

General President for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques,Abdulrahmanal-Sudais, has said the total number of worshippers at the Prophet’s Holy Mosque exceeded 81 million from the beginning of Muharram to the 19th of Jumada al-Awwal.

He added that during that time, some eight million people prayed in the honorable Rawada, while the total number of visitors paying their respects to the holy Prophet and his two companions reached more than seven million.

Kingdom Offering Investment Opportunities worth USD6 Trillion

Saudi Arabia is offering investment opportunities worth USD6 trillion in the travel and tourism sector through to 2030, as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to emerge as a global tourist destination by the end of this decade, according to the Saudi Minister of Tourism,Ahmed al-Khateeb.

He said that they had built their tourism industry against the backdrop of a global disaster (COVID-19) and pandemic, and that they now have USD6 trillion of investment opportunities through 2030.

MWL, IFRC Sign Deal

The Muslim World League and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies signed an agreement to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by armed conflicts, including migrants and displaced people in a number of states around the world.

According to the agreement, the MWL will contribute to providing resources, expertise, communications and the partnership with the MWL will be important to reach people affected by disasters and crises around the world.

Arabic Language Conference

The King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language will organize a conference on Arabic for international organizations in Riyadh. The conference will be held with the participation of specialists and those interested in learning the Kingdom’s native tongue.

The Conference will discuss the linguistic reality of Arabic in international organizations and its strategic importance and the civilizational and cultural dimensions of multi-lingualism.

Law Enforcement Ministers Conference

Law enforcement agencies from Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states have concluded their first ministerial meeting in Jeddah.

Heads of international bodies, such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes, Interpol and the Financial Intelligence Unit group, also attended the two-day meeting which was held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and discussed the adoption of the Makkah Agreement, which aims at fighting corruption.

Kingdom issued Four Million Umrah Visas

As Saudi Arabia successfully emerges from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels and businesses in Makkah and Madinah are experiencing a revival, thanks to an increased flow of Umrah pilgrims. The Kingdom’s hotel, restaurant, transportation, food and commercial sectors have benefitted from the influx of Umrah pilgrims.

It is said that ready-made clothes were most in demand among pilgrims, along with gifts and Zamzam water. Since the start of this year’s season, the Kingdom has issued four million Umrah visas for pilgrims from around the world, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said recently.

Short Film to Educate Pilgrims

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah recently launched a short film – ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’– to educate pilgrims about the rituals of the annual event.

The project under the auspices of Minister of Hajj and Umrah,Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzanal-Rabiah, will be screened in nine languages: Arabic, English, Urdu, French, Bengali, Faris, Hausa, Indonesian and Turkish. It was filmed in more than fourteen locations in seven weeks with the participation of more than 800 actors.


Egypt Air to Fly 5,000

In coordination with Palestinian Airlines, EgyptAir has opened an air-bridge to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport to transport 5,000 Palestinians for Umrah this year.

This follows directives from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure the transport of Palestinian brothers to the holy land during the Hajj and Umrah’s Seasons, said Yehia Zakaria – Board Chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company. For the season from 15thNovember to 20thFebruary, 2023 – fourteen special flights have been scheduled for pilgrims.

Turns to Religious Edicts to Protect Children

One of Egypt’s top Islamic Organizations, Dar Al-Iffta, is trying to raise awareness of the potentially harmful impact of mobile games and apps on young people. A recent report by the Global Fatwa Index showed that 33% of the fatwas on technological affairs issued this year were related to the subject and that many of them stressed the need to protect children from exploitation and violent, or other harmful, content.

Video games and modern applications are double-edged swords, Sheikh Awaida Othman from Dar Al-Iftaa, the Egyptian government’s principal Islamic legal institution for issuing fatwas, told Arab News.

Record Number of Mosques Opened

A record 1,200 new mosques opened across Egypt this year, according to the Ministry of Awqaf. Ayman Omar, an Undersecretary at the Ministry told Arab News that some of the 1,200 new mosques were financed by the Ministry, while others were privately built under government supervision.

He added that since September 2020, 2712 new mosques have been opened in Egypt, while a further 404 have been refurbished. A total of 9,600 mosques have now been built or renovated at a cost of 10.2 billion Egyptian Pounds (USD400 million).


Reaps Cash from Fertilizer

A global fertilizer supply shock, deepened by Russia’s Ukraine invasion, has brought boom times for the North African phosphate superpower, Morocco, and earned the country new diplomatic capital.

Morocco has around 70% of the world’s phosphate reserves, and has been mining four sites since 1921, including in the disputed Western Sahara. Morocco is set to chalk up record revenues for a second year running, as farmers worldwide scramble for phosphate, made scarce by sanctions against top world producer Russia and a Chinese ban on exports.


Gets UNESCO Heritage Status

UNESCO has added Tunisia’s spicy national condiment,harissa, to its list of intangible cultural heritage, saying it was part of the North African country’s identity.

The UN’s cultural agency is meeting in Morocco to examine proposals for its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which aims to protect cultural traditions, practices and knowledge. Harissa is used as a condiment, an ingredient, and even a dish in its own right, and is well-known throughout Tunisia.


Running Out of Medicines

The Lebanese pound plunged to a record low, sparking a surge in fuel prices and a warning that country was running out of medicines and baby formula. The currency was trading at 47,000 to the US dollar after an increase of 1,500 in just two hours, and economists say it could reach 100,000 within months without the formation of a government to enact crucial reforms.

Economist, Louis Hobeika, told Arab News that “Lebanon is sinking more and more everyday – neither electing a President, nor forming a government, nor implementing reforms. The dramatic drop in the local currency’s value is proof.


COVID-19 Procedures Cancelled

Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah,Tawfiqal-Rabiah, announced that all COVID-19 procedures and vaccination requirements for pilgrims coming from Turkey have been cancelled, within the framework of new measures to facilitate the arrival of Umrah performers.

This came during a joint press conference between Al-Tabiah and Turkey’s Head of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbas, in the presence of other key officials from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Saudi Embassy in Ankara. Saudi Arabia provides to serve Islam and Muslims, and facilitate their arrival to perform their rituals easily and smoothly.


UK Muslims Live in Most Deprived Areas

The majority of Muslims are living in the areas of England and Wales with the worst levels of deprivation, the UK Office for National Statistics revealed recently. Muslims now account for 6.5% of the population in England and Wales, bringing the Muslim population to 3.9 million by 2021, according to latest ONS census.

However, the data showed 61% of Muslims in England and Wales live in the bottom 40% of areas in the country ranked by deprivation score, the Guardian reported. With the Muslim population increasing by 1.2 million in the last decade, policymakers have been urged to address the ‘cycle of poverty’ that has entrapped generations of British Muslims, the Guardian reported.


Cooperation Talks

Sweden’s envoy to Saudi Arabia recently met with the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for talks on ways to further strengthen cooperation links. During their meeting in Jeddah, Swedish ambassador, Petra Menander, and OIC Chief,HisseinBrahim Taha, also discussed other issues of mutual concern.

It is reported that topics of common interest were discussed – need to increase global levels of humanitarian support, women and youth empowerment, and more, while looking forward to continued dialogue. While visiting the Red Sea port city, the Swedish envoy also met with Saudi doctors trained in Sweden and now working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



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