Flashes from the Muslim World
Pledges to Boost Ties
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to India, Saleh bin Eidal-Hussaini, has vowed to boost and strengthen relations between Riyadh and New Delhi during his tenure in the South Asian country, as officials and peoples of the two countries celebrated the 92nd Saudi National Day in the Indian capital.
The India-Saudi strategic partnership is focused on four areas: political issues, security, socio-cultural relations and defense productions. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner, after the US, China and the UAE, with bilateral trade worth USD42.8 billion.
League of Islamic Universities
The League of Islamic Universities will launch environment courses at the campuses of its member institutions, following a climate action summit held in India earlier this week. Based in Cairo, Egypt, the League is an association representing Islamic Universities around the world. Its members. including 200 universities from 60 countries, gathered at Jamia Markaz, an Islamic university in Kozhikode, Kerala, for the International Climate Action Summit.
OIC to Provide Food Aid
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center signed an agreement with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to provide food aid to Afghanistan, which would help alleviate the effects of poverty and natural disasters.
Under the agreement, 47,400 food baskets weighing 2,938 tons will be distributed to flood-affected and needy families in 24 Afghan provinces, benefiting 284,400 individuals.
Garment Producers Gear Up into Gulf Market
Bangladeshi garment manufacturers are seeking to boost business with Gulf countries amid a sales slowdown in their traditional exports destinations such as the United States and European Union. The garment industry makes up more than 80% of the total exports of Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest supplier of clothes after China.
The country’s garment exports reached USD42.6 billion during the July 2021-June 2022 fiscal year. Currently, Bangladeshi garment exports to the UAE and Saudi Arabia are worth USD228 million and USD128 million respectively. As about 2.5 million Bangladeshi expats live and work in Saudi Arabia, and another 700,000 in the UAE, they could, in the beginning, become the key target market and then help to introduce Bangladeshi products into the region.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Receives Florence’s Highest Honor
The United Arab Emirates’ Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has been awarded Florence’ a highest honor for her substantial financial support of a COVID-19 medical facility during the peak of the pandemic. Shiekha Fatima – President of the General Union of Women, President of the Supreme Council for Maternity and Childhood, and first President of the Foundation for Family Development of the UAE – received the keys to the Italian city from Florence’s Deputy Mayor, Alessia Bettini.
A Win for the Wider Region
Even before the first football World Cup ever to be held in the Middle East kicks off in Qatar on 20th November 2022, the entire Gulf region is counting on a massive boost to the air travel, tourism and hospitality industries. An influx of 1.2 million visitors is expected to add USD17 billion to the Qatari economy over the course of the eagerly awaited month long tournament, when visitors pack into the nation’s hotels for the greatest sporting spectacle on earth.
However, there is one catch. Owing to Qatar’s small size, there is limited amount of accommodation on offer – as few as 30,000 hotels rooms as of March this year – forcing fans to search elsewhere in the region. And the shortage is driving up hotel rates.
Over 100 Historical Islamic Sites in Madinah to be Restored by 2025
The Projects include restorations of the site of the Battle of the Trench, Al Faqir well, and Al-Qiblatayn Mosque. More than 100 sites in Madinah with connections to the life of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) and other important events in Islamic history will be restored and developed as part of a three year package of projects announced by Saudi authorities and will run until 2025.
Eight Islamic sites in Madinah have already been restored to their former glory. Al-Ghamama Mosque, Abu Bakral-Siddiq Mosque, Umar ibnal-Khattab Mosque, Al-Saqiya Mosque, Banu Arif Mosque, Al-Rayah Mosque, Ghars Well and the fort at Arwa bin Al-Zubair Castle.
Hajj and Umrah E-Service App
Hajj and Umrah government officials have alerted pilgrims around the world about an important update and name change to a key services and permits app for the Two Holy Mosques. Launching the newly named Nusuk App, an update on the Eatmarna platform, Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiqal-Rabiah, said visitors and worshippers would be able to access a range of e-services including applying for a visa and booking hotels and flights. The platform has been designed to provide services and information to help worshippers perform rituals with ease.
OIC, China Sign Health Deal
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation signed a health deal with China to help some of its African member states. The OIC’s Secretary-General, Hissein Brahim Taha, was present at the ceremony that saw the pact signed. The deal was part of several efforts undertaken by the OIC to help some of its African members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is reported that it was Taha who had approached China for the assistance.
First Qur’anic Verse Beamed
Residents of Makkah have been treated to a laser light display that lit up Jabal al-Noor with the first Qur’anic verse revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saws).
The verse was beamed over Jabalal-Noor, four kilometers northeast of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and home to the Cave of Hira, where the Prophet received the first revelation by the Angel Gabriel.
Dr. Fawazal-Dahas, Director of the Makkah History Center, said, Jabalal-Noor has a historical value for Muslims in general, and is one of the most important historical and archaeological sites in Makkah. Al Dahas said: “What distinguishes Makkah from the rest of the world’s cities is that it is an open museum. All its mountains, valleys, rocks, and cemeteries represent a unique history, telling immortal stories of the Prophet and his honorable Companions.
Taif in Driving Seat to Promote Tourism
More than 200 business leaders attended a Saudi Tourism Development Fund event aimed at promoting investment opportunities. The city’s first roadshow, “Discover Beyond Taif,” was held at the city’s Iridium Hotel. Located 1,879 meters above sea-level in Makkah region, Taif is a popular summer destination for local and regional tourists drawn by its pleasant weather, hiking trails, picnic spots and rich history. The city is also known for agri-tourism, and its rose production has earned it the title ‘City of Roses.’
Global Islamic Refugee Fund Launched
Dr. Abdullah al-Rabeeah, Supervisor-General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, recently represented the Kingdom at the launch ceremony of the Global Islamic Fund for Refugees. The Fund is supported by UNHCR and the Islamic Development Bank’s Solidarity Fund for Development, with an initial amount of USD100 million, on the side lines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
OIC Chief Urges Support for Elderly
Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, called on member-states and the global community to provide opportunities for older people and to strengthen their resilience to the challenges they face in a changing word.
On International Day for Older Persons, Taha said that OIC understands that protection for the elderly is important to any society. The OIC chief urged member-states to provide a supportive environment for the elderly, while benefitting from their experiences.
Saudi University Bags Patent
The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has awarded King Faisal University a patent for an alternative solution for sterilization of dates to increase their shelf-life from one month to 100 days.
This invention will prolong the dates’ validity period, improve their quality, and raise the competence of their marketing outside the Kingdom. The University has now been awarded 123 patents this year.
Implemented 108 Projects
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has implemented 108 projects in Palestine at a total cost of more than USD369 million. Palestine is among the top beneficiaries of KSHARC relief assistance. The Center’s program include food security, early recovery, water sanitation, and hygiene, health, camp coordination, education, emergency aid and nutrition.
Top Islamic Bodies Condemn Burning of Qur’an
Egypt’s highest Islamic seminary, Al-Azharal-Sharif, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Muslim Council of Elders have condemned the desecration of the Qur’an by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. Israeli settlers tore and burned copies of the book in the old city of Al-Khalil in the southern West Bank, sparking Palestinian and Arab anger.
Al-Azhar denounced extremist terrorists from the Zionist entity for the sacrilege. Al-Azhar affirmed that the Qur’an will remain a guiding book for humanity, directing it to the values of goodness, truth and beauty.
Twelfth Session of the Islamic Conference
The twelfth session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) just concluded in Istanbul, Turkey. At the beginning of the opening session, Saudi Arabia handed over the Chairmanship of the conference to Turkey.
Saudi Media Minister, Majidal-Qasabi, highlighted the challenges that the world is facing, and the need to coordinate efforts among OIC member-states to confront them. He called for developing a trust-based road map with clear mechanism to advance joint Islamic action.
Annual Bilateral Trade
Saudi Arabia and Morocco plan to raise the volume of trade to USD5 billion annually in light of the huge opportunities and capabilities of the two countries, according to Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade, Riyad Mezzour.
The joint investments doubled significantly over the past years in various economic sectors such as industry, real estate, tourism, and agriculture. There are approximately 250 Saudi companies in Morocco, whereas there are 20 Moroccan companies in the Kingdom.
Saudi Funded Hospital Opens
A Saudi-funded hospital has been opened in Malawi, helping improve lives in the landlocked African country. The Phalombe District Hospital was inaugurated by President Lazrus Chakwera, and a delegation from the Saudi Fund for Development led by Azzam Albarrak, the Director of the eastern and southern Africa operations.
The Phalombe District Hospital will provide 250 medical beds and quality healthcare. The hospital will serve more than 330,000 people, helping to combat diseases, reduce child mortality rates, and develop the health sector in Malawi.
Saudi Minister of Hajj and UmrahTawfiq Al-Rabiahmade an official visit to Kazakhstan to discuss cooperation between the two countries on arrival procedures for Umrah worshippers and visitors to the Kingdom. The talks are part of the Ministry’s efforts to increase the level of services provided to worshippers and realize the targets of Saudi Vision 2030.
Al-Rabiah met with several Kazakh officials to discuss services and facilities for Kazakh worshippers. Talks also focused on steps to increase awareness of pilgrims and visitors with procedural issues.
Early British Convert to Islam
Among the many valuable rare books at London’s First Book Fair stands an orange toned, slightly torn biography of a gutsy traveler you’ve likely never heard of. He was something of a rebel in Victorian times, escaping family pressures by sailing abroad during adolescence and eventually leading a life of his own in the Middle East. His name was William Richard Williamson, but he became known, simply as Haji Williamson. Williamson went to sea, making his way to Aden, Yemen, to join the British police force.
During the voyage, he came across a book on Islam written by Abdullah Quilliam, an influential Briton who converted to Islam and established Britain’s first Mosque in Liverpool in 1889. Reading the book was a turning point in Williamson’s life, and he eventually also converted. His conversion – though a personal decision – led to controversy in the establishment.
Hajji became Williamson’s nickname, and indeed, he completed the pilgrimage in 1894, 1898 and 1936. Studying the Arabic language and culture, Williamson stayed in Kuwait and an area close to Basra in Iraq, where he owned a dhow and traveled widely in the Gulf region. He made a living through pearling, horse-trading and camel-dealing. He fitted in, looking like a traditional Arab.
[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]