Flashes from the Muslim World

SAUDI ARABIA

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Joins Travel Expo

Mina’s Hajj tent development known as the City of Tents, is one of the biggest projects executed by the Saudi government to serve pilgrims during the Hajj season to ensure their comfort and security, with a capacity of as many as 100,000 people at a time. The tents are either eight square meters in size (6 x 8 meters), or 12 x 8 meters, and fire extinguishers and hoses are distributed across the corridors at approximately one every 100 meters. Special water tanks have been installed in tunnels on top of the mountains near Mina, with a capacity of 200,000 cubic meters to be used to extinguish fires.

Receives a Honorary Doctorate

In recognition of his efforts as a global peacemaker, Muslim World League Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the United Nation’s University of Peace in Geneva. “It is the sacred duty of all of us to promote peace and harmony in this world,” Dr. Al-Issa said at the event.  The University for Peace is an academic institution within the UN system whose honorary president is the UN Secretary-General.

New 36 meter Hajj Mural Welcomes Visitors

While travelers arriving in Saudi Arabia have always been guaranteed a warm welcome and generous hospitality; now they will also be greeted by a unique work of art. A new 36 meter mural in the arrivals hall of King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah depicts the Journey of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims throughout Al Ula and boats docking in the Red Sea’s port cities, to modern pilgrims arriving at the airport’s dedicated Hajj terminal.

Carves Qur’an on 30 Marble Slabs

A Saudi sculptor who spent eight years carving the words of the Holy Qur’an on to 30 marble slabs hopes his feat will be recognized by Guinness World Records. Husban bin Ahmad al-Enizi’s passion for the art started 20 years ago after he developed an interest in the Arabic language. He went on to sculpt a stone encyclopedia of basmalah, the opening part of the Qur’an, on blocks and granite sourced from his base in the Tabuk region. Al-Enizi used Ottoman calligraphy to create his Qur’an sculptures on green marble slabs and said that the Tabuk region, in north-western Saudi Arabia, with its many castles and palaces, had inspired artists down through the centuries.

Jeddah: City of Hospitality

For centuries, Hajj has been a once in a lifetime experience for the millions of Muslims who travel to the Holy City of Makkah. In days gone by, the journey was often arduous, but weary pilgrims arriving in Jeddah – for many, their first port of call – have always found comfort and friendship thanks to the famed hospitality of the city’s residents. The port city on the Red Sea coast has been inextricably linked with Hajj and Umrah for more than 1,300 years. In 674, Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), designated the city as a gateway for pilgrims travelling to Makkah and Madinah. This gateway to two of the holiest cities in Islam has provided generations of Muslims from all corners of the Earth with food and lodgings on their journey to perform the sacred pilgrimage.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Hydroponic Facility to Produce Tons of Fruit

A new vertical farm due to be set up in Dubai Industrial City will produce thousands of tons of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables per year, it was announced recently. The 100,000 square foot plot will grow fresh kale, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries and melons for hundreds of hypermarkets, hotels and kitchens across the UAE. The UAE’s food trade exceeds AED100 billion (USD 27.2 billion) annually, describing the Gulf country as a global food logistics hub. The Gulf region has been exploring ways to improve sustainability in regards with food production.

OMAN

Offers Residence Visas

Oman will start granting long term residence visas to foreign investors, state media said recently, as the Gulf state pursues wide ranging reforms to fix its shaky finances. The move to offer renewable five or ten year residency visas echoes moves by neighbouring UAE in recent years to offer longer term residencies and, recently, even citizenships, to investors and certain professionals. Expatriates make up around 42% of Oman’s population. The number of foreign works in the Gulf state began to fall in 2018.

Seeks IMF Technical Assistance

Oman has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide technical assistance to help the country develop a medium-term debt strategy and strengthen its fiscal framework, the IMF said. The Gulf oil-producer has been hit hard by the twin shock of lower oil prices and the Corona virus disease (COVID-19) crisis last year. The IMF expects Oman’s economy to rebound and grow by 2.5% this year thanks to a projected increase in hydrocarbon production as well as the impact of the vaccine rollout.

EGYPT

Sends Medical Aid to Tunisia

Egypt sent 31 tons of 566 kilograms of medical aid to Tunisia to support the country’s health sector amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Hala Zayed has said. Khaled Megahed, Assistant Minister of Health and Population for media and awareness, and official spokesperson for the Ministry, said that the aid shipment arrived in Tunisia on two military planes in coordination with the Egyptian Armed Forces. The aircraft were loaded with shipments of medicines, supplies and medical solutions, in order to overcome the challenges facing the health system in Tunisia.

JORDAN

Hopes of Tourism Industry Revival

Hoping for customers, Ahmad Nassar, is dusting and polishing the trinkets and souvenirs in his tourist shop in Madaba, an ancient town in central Jordan known for its early Christian mosaics. The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been a disaster for Jordan’s tourism industry and for its economy as a whole, which suffered its worst contraction in decades last year. The European Union last week included Jordan among a dozen new epidemiologically safe countries as of 1st July. Jordan officials, this month, announced special measures for Jordan’s Golden Triangle. The government is also taking other steps to get the number of foreign tourists back to the record three million visitors Jordan received in 2019.

UNITED KINGDOM

Fights for Equality in the Ring

British-Pakistani boxer, Haseebah Abdullah, was recognized last month as a ‘Hometown Hero’ by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for her huge role in making the sport more inclusive as England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach. Now her goal is to bring equality across the sporting industry. Based at the Windmill Boxing Gym, in Smethwick, West Midlands, Abdullah has been a professional coach for about five years. A native of Gujarat in Pakistan’s Punjab, she boxed at an amateur boxing club but was unable to participate competitively because of dress code rules that did not allow for the hijab. But her recognition by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has raised her hopes that she can work to change stringent dress requirements across the sports world.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]