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Old May 11th, 2012, 11:52 PM   #1841
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Drapery for Kaaba refused by Riyadh


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has refused the traditional Egyptian (now U.A.R.) offering of the velvet drapery for the Kaaba and the Black Stone at Mecca, officials stated here yesterday. They said that the Saudi government had decided not to accept the Kissoua, or the drapery, sent by Egypt because the gift by the United Arab Republic in recent years had been of poor quality, quickly losing strength and colour.

The Kissoua is manufactured by a special department of the U.A.R. Ministry of Religious Affairs and exposed in one of Cairo’s mosques before being sent ceremoniously to Mecca.

According to a Cairo report, the last group of U.A.R. pilgrims has refused to land at Jeddah because of the refusal of the Saudi authorities to allow the U.A.R. official mission to transport the Kissoua to Mecca.

The pilgrims, numbering 1,100, were aboard the U.A.R. ship ‘Mecca’ which arrived yesterday at Jeddah with the official mission responsible for handing over the traditional drapery for the Kaaba. The Saudi authorities told the captain of the ship that they had formal instructions from their government to prevent the Kissoua from being landed, and to use force if necessary.

http://dawn.com/2012/05/11/drapery-f...sed-by-riyadh/
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Old May 12th, 2012, 12:31 AM   #1842
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Old May 12th, 2012, 01:20 PM   #1843
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Sheikh Saleh thanks king

By RIYADH: ARAB NEWS

Published: May 10, 2012 23:32 Updated: May 11, 2012 20:26

Former head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Saleh Al-Hosain has commended the judicious decisions taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to carry out various projects at the Grand Mosque in Makkah to improve facilities for pilgrims and other worshippers.

In a letter addressed to King Abdullah, he thanked the king for relieving him from the prestigious position on health reasons. "Looking after the affairs of the two holy mosques is a big duty and I am thankful to you for relieving me from a duty which I cannot fulfill now with its vast responsibilities," he said.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais has been appointed the new Haramain chief. Al-Hosain, who said he was honored to serve the two holy mosques during the past years and commended the king's initiatives to implement projects such as new Haram expansion, covering of Zamzam well, expansion of the circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba and reorganization of movement of people in the courtyard near Ajyad Gate.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article631750.ece
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Old May 12th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #1844
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U.S. military class taught ‘total war’ against Islam,
destroying ''Mecca'' and ''Medina''
necessary for fighting radicals



Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque, on the last days of the annual haj pilgrimage, in Mecca November 8, 2011.
May 11, 2012

WASHINGTON — A course for U.S. military officers has been teaching that America’s enemy is Islam in general, not just terrorists, and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following Second World War precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima or the allied firebombing of Dresden, according to documents obtained by Wired.com’s Danger Room blog.

The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that it, too, was critical of Islam.

The teaching in the military course was counter to repeated assertions by U.S. officials over the past decade that the U.S. is at war against Islamic extremists, not the religion itself.

“They hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit,” the instructor, Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, said in a presentation last July for the course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. The college, for professional military members, teaches midlevel officers and government civilians on subjects related to planning and executing war.

Dooley also presumed, for the purposes of his theoretical war plan, that the Geneva Conventions that set standards of armed conflict are “no longer relevant.”

He adds: “This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary [the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable...].”

His war plan suggests possible outcomes such as “Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation … Islam reduced to cult status” and the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia “destroyed.”

The college did not respond to The Associated Press’ requests for copies of the documents, but a Pentagon spokesman vouched for their authenticity. Dooley still works for the college, but is no longer teaching, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said.

more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05...ting-radicals/

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Old May 12th, 2012, 02:21 PM   #1845
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Al-Obaikan relieved of Royal Court post

By RIYADH: ARAB NEWS

Published: May 12, 2012 00:59 Updated: May 12, 2012 00:59

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has issued a royal decree relieving Sheikh Abdul Muhsin Al-Obaikan, adviser to the Royal Court, of his post.

Sheikh Al-Obaikan, a prominent Islamic scholar, was controversial for some of his religious edicts (fatwas), including the one about breastfeeding of foreign drivers by Saudi women. He also launched an outspoken attack on judges for handing out "excessive prison and lashing sentences."

Sheikh Al-Obaikan had earlier been stopped from presenting his daily morning radio show after King Abdullah restricted the issuance of fatwas to certain scholars.

Under a royal decree, only members of the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars can issue fatwas.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article632626.ece
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #1846
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Old May 13th, 2012, 04:41 AM   #1847
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Tawafa establishment chief in trouble over facebook case

13 May 2012

MAKKAH - The chairman of the board of directors of a tawafa establishment has been summoned by the Kakiya District police in Makkah for questioning after a shareholder, who is also a Haj guide, complained that he was maligned on the establishment’s facebook page.

The Haj guide, Waheed Shabana, accused some board members, who joined the tawafa establishment’s group on facebook, of calling him names after he raised questions about the rights of shareholders.

Shabana told the police in his complaint that he signed up for the establishment’s facebook page after he was recommended by one of the group members.

When he posted his comments that the board of directors must stick to the promises they made during the last elections, he received an avalanche of verbal attacks by two members who used false names.

He said the administrator did not interfere to put an end to the name-calling.
A police source said the case will be referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution once all procedures have been completed.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...20120513124003
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Old May 13th, 2012, 04:59 AM   #1848
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Makkah Haramain station has begun


Future Haramain Railway’s main station in Makkah


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Old May 13th, 2012, 03:57 PM   #1849
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Saudia: No reduction in Egypt operations

10 May 2012

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabian Airlines CEO Khaled Almolhem has denied rumors of reductions in the scheduled and Umrah flights to Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt and said the airline is determined to maintain its planned operations to these stations.

“These flights were previously planned concerning the type of aircraft and the onboard services, in line with the directives of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his Crown Prince, aimed at extending consummate services to the guests of God,” he said.

In a meeting with the airlines executives, Almolhem discussed the company’s summer plans and strategies. This summer, the season will cover a period of 96 days from June 4 to Aug. 19, during which Saudia will increase its flights from the Kingdom’s four major airports of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Madinah by 20-30 percent.

The airline will run additional flights to London, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai to cater to the increasing demand. It will also bolster its Umrah flights from Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan and India.

Saudia will increase its airport staff to accommodate the increased number of passengers expected to fly and assist them in every manner possible.

The total expected number of flights during summer was put at 32,700.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...ate=10/05/2012
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Old May 13th, 2012, 04:01 PM   #1850
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Passengers stranded as AI flights disrupted

11 May 2012

JEDDAH – Hundreds of Umrah pilgrims and vacationing passengers are stranded due to the cancellation of flights caused by a strike called by at least 250 of its pilots. The strike, which continued for a third day Thursday, has resulted in disruption of flights to three main Saudi destinations – Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam—from Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kozhikode.

“I had a confirmed booking for my daughter for Air India’s Thursday night flight for Hyderabad. On hearing of the strike and the likely cancellation of flights, I succeeded in a last-minute effort to get a new Business Class booking on Saudi Arabian Airlines, as they did not have a single Economy Class seat available,” Abdul Aziz, an executive in a media company, told Saudi Gazette.

He said if he had not been alert, his daughter would have missed her examination in which she is due to appear Monday.

Most of the passengers confirmed on the flights of India’s national carrier said in Jeddah that they were not informed about the disruption or cancellation. “We came to know about this only from the media and TV channels,” said Muhammad Rizvi, a factory supervisor at the Jeddah Industrial City.

Rizvi and two of his friends were scheduled to depart early Friday morning on an Air India flight, but now they are looking for new dates as no airline has Economy Class seats avaialble.

Worst hit are the pilgrims who after performing Umrah have been left to fend for themselves. “Even the agency representative who organized our visit is nowhere to be seen,” said one of the pilgrims at King Abdul Aziz International Airport. A visit to the airport showed pilgrims with confirmed bookings on Air India approaching airport officials to know their fate.

With Air India’s Manager Pravin Mistry reportedly on leave, no other official was available to comment on the situation here. An executive at Air India’s General Sales Agent Kanoo Travel, speaking on anonymity, confirmed that Air India’s flights to and from Jeddah have been disrupted for the past three days. “The carrier is, however, making efforts to fly some flights to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere with a skeleton staff. The flight to Kozhikode was canceled Tuesday and the incoming flight from Hyderabad did not arrive on that day. The flight bound for Kozhikode on Wednesday night from Jeddah has been rescheduled for departure at 12 noon Friday.”

He added that the carrier was willing to endorse confirmed bookings on other carriers. “What’s the use of endorsements if seats are not available on other airlines,” another travel agent said. “The pressure is obviously on Saudia, whose flights are already overbooked,” he added.

According to Air India, it has temporarily suspended bookings for mostly Westbound flights from Delhi and Mumbai. The debt-ridden carrier is also contacting companies to lease planes to deal with the situation.

At the moment, Air India is using 110 executive Air India pilots to fly as many flights as possible. Some 48 Air India flights have been cancelled due to the strike.

Air India normally operates about 50 international flights everyday.

The Delhi High Court Wednesday declared the strike illegal. But despite this, the pilots remain defiant. The management is of the view that the matter is now between the court and pilots.

India’s Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh reiterated that the government is open to discussions to sort out the matter. He, however, insisted that he expects the pilots to follow the High Court order and return to work first.

“Let us hope that pilots will follow High Court order. Everything is negotiable and we can talk. We have been saying this from day one. First let them make sure that Air India doesn’t lose credibility. Let them go back to work. Just imagine that in this high intensity operation, they are calling sick...these are total lies,” the minister said.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...ate=11/05/2012
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Old May 13th, 2012, 04:14 PM   #1851
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Saudia to Transport More Than 14,000 Tunisian Umrah Performers

TUNIS, 15 Jumada Al-Thani/6 May (IINA)-

Saudi Arabian Airlines expects to transport more than 14,000 Tunisian Umrah performers on-board its flights from Tunisia during the current Umrah season, which started on May 3 and ends on August 9.

Saudia has added two new flights a week between Jeddah and Tunis, one of them will be allocated to transport Umrah performers to the Holy Sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, raising the number of flights to Tunisia to five a week.

Saudia Director in Tunisia and Libya Muajeb Al-Dosari said that Saudia transported Tunisian Umrah performers at the start of Umrah season and they were seen off by Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine Alkhadami who in a press statement praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for providing the best services to pilgrims and Umrah performers.

http://iina.me/wp_en/?p=1008173
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Old May 14th, 2012, 07:39 PM   #1852
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MECCA
February 1930
_______________________


Very rare images of Prince Faisal (82) visiting Mecca
on British weekly newspaper ''THE GRAPHIC'' February 1930


These rare images of the British weekly newspaper ''THE GRAPHIC'', an original copy dated in February 15 1930 which is a double-page size of 16 × 22 inches (approximately two-sided printing).

This number includes historical photographs of the visit of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, may God have mercy on him when he was a prince and a representative of the King Abdul Aziz, may God rest his soul in the days of his property to Najd and Hijaz and accessories, before the announcement of Saudi Arabia about two years.

Images show the meeting of heads of consulates Prince Faisal and entered the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba and pictures of some of the streets of Mecca during the preparations for the passage of the procession and the image of the Haram in Mecca .. and other images.

These pictures represent great historical value deserves to be placed in the frame in the saloons, hotels, museums, etc. ..
And add a task for amateurs and relevant details of the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ...

For sale: http://www.haraj.com.sa/111058599/صو...#1603;ة/


صور نادرة جدا عمرها 82 سنة لزيارة الأمير فيصل لمكة

هذه صور نادرة من صحيفة جرافيك البريطانية الأسبوعية، وهي نسخة أصلية مؤرخة في فبراير عام 1930م وهي عبارة عن صفحة مزدوجة بحجم 16×22 بوصة تقريبا (الطباعة على الوجهين).
يضم هذا العدد صورا تاريخية لزيارة الملك فيصل بن عبد العزيز رحمه الله عندما كان أميرا وممثلا للملك عبد العزيز طيب الله ثراه في أيام ملكه على نجد والحجاز وملحقاتها وقبل إعلان المملكة العربية السعودية بحوالي عامين.
توضح الصور إجتماع الأمير فيصل برؤساء القنصليات ودخوله المسجد الحرام والكعبة المشرفة وصور لبعض شوارع مكة أثناء الإستعدادات لمرور الموكب وصورة للحرم المكي..وصور أخرى.

هذه الصور تمثل قيمة تاريخية كبيرة تستحق أن توضع في برواز في الصالونات والفنادق والمتاحف..الخ
وإضافة مهمة للهواة والمعنيين بتفاصيل تاريخ المملكة العربية السعودية...

For sale: http://www.haraj.com.sa/111058599/صو...#1603;ة/


THE GRAPHIC, February 15, 1930

MODERN MECCA UNVEILED

Aspects of Islam's Holiest City - The First Pictures of the Interior of The El Kaaba






THE GRAPHIC, February 15, 1930

OUR SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE VISITS MECCA

Exclusive New Pictures from Islam's Holiest City, where Christians May Not Enter




1- A DESERT BANQUET FOR THE FOREIGN PRESS: PRINCE FAISAL ENTERTAINS ARABIA'S GUESTS

The pictures on this and succeding pages, by our special correspondent recently in the Hedjaz, record a visit of diplomats and Mohammedan Press representatives to the present-day Kingdom of the Hedjaz at the invitation of King Abdel Aziz. For the first time, foreign journalists were shown the modern developments of the Arabian Kingdom as is it under Wahabi rule, as well of the Holy places of Mecca. Above is shown the banquet to the delegates in the royal tent at Wadi Fatmah at witch Prince Faisal (second from right) was the host. On his left is Mr. Bond the British Chargé d'Affaires.

2- MECCA'S HOLY OF HOLIES : A UNIQUE VIEW OF THE HARAM, WITH THE SECRET KAABA

A remarkable view, obtained by our representative in Mecca, of pilgrims assembling in the vast square (the Haram), In witch is the Kaaba, the huge cube-like stone and shrine, covered by the back silk '' Holy Carpet,'' witch is renewed each year by the virgins at the factory of El Khurunfish in Cairo. One of the most important rites followed by pilgrims is to walk seven times round the Kaaba.
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Old May 15th, 2012, 07:24 PM   #1853
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Request for information
about this old pic


I would like to know why there is tents on the mataf all around the Kaaba.This is the only old pic I found with tents on mataf. Is it for shadow during hot days? or what?

Also to know ''in english'' what is written under the picture. And any information about this pic, the year, hajj season, summer or winter, special day, etc...

Help please : )
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Old May 15th, 2012, 07:31 PM   #1854
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Completion of the expansion of the course
of "Zamzam" before Ramadan


الانتهاء من توسعة مجرى "بئر زمزم" قبل رمضان


موقع العمل في مشروع توسعة مجرى بئر زمزم (تصوير: محمد الصاوي)
Site work in the course of the expansion of the well of Zamzam (Photo: Mohamed El Sawy)

مكة المكرمة: علي العميري 2012-05-14 11:50 PM

أوضح مدير عام المشاريع والدراسات بالرئاسة العامة لشؤون المسجد الحرام والمسجد النبوي المهندس عبد المحسن بن حميد، أن العمل يجري على مدار الساعة للانتهاء من مشروع توسعة مجرى مياه زمزم قبل رمضان المقبل. وأشار في تصريح لـ"الوطن" أمس إلى أن ما يزيد على ألفي عامل يواصلون عملهم ليل نهار لإنجاز المشروع الذي يهدف إلى زيادة الطاقة الإنتاجية لبئر زمزم الواقعة بالقرب من الكعبة المشرفة، وتقع فتحتها الآن تحت سطح المطاف على عمق 1.56 مترا.

من جهته، أوضح مدير عام المياه بمنطقة مكة المكرمة الأسبق، مؤلف كتاب "زمزم" يحيى كوشك لـ"الوطن" أن منابع زمزم تغذى من الجبال والتصدعات الصخرية بالجبال المحيطة بمكة المكرمة. وأضاف أنه كلما زادت كمية الأمطار على أطراف مكة المكرمة ارتفع منسوب المياه في بئر زمزم بشكل كبير، موضحا أن الأمطار التي تسقط على وادي إبراهيم الخليل لا تحدث زيادة في منسوب المياه بالبئر إلا بشكل طفيف جدا. وأشار كوشك إلى أن البئر تنقسم إلى قسمين: أولهما جزء مبنى عمقه 12.80 مترا عن فتحة البئر، وثانيهما جزء منقور في صخر الجبل وطوله 17.20 مترا، مبينا أن عمق مستوى الماء عن فتحة البئر يبلغ حوالي أربعة أمتار، فيما يبلغ عمق العيون التي تغذي البئر 13 مترا، موضحا أن المسافة من العيون إلى قعر البئر تصل إلى 17 مترا. وذكر أن قطر البئر يختلف باختلاف العمق، حيث يتراوح ما بين 1.5 و2.5 متر، مؤكدا أن المصدر الرئيسي هو فتحة تتجه جهة الكعبة المشرفة في اتجاه ركن الكعبة الغربي – الحجر الأسود – وطولها 45 سنتيمترا وارتفاعها 30 سنتيمترا، ويتدفق منها القدر الأكبر من المياه.

http://www.alwatan.com.sa/Local/News...0&CategoryID=5

Google trans:

Completion of the expansion of the course of "Zamzam" before Ramadan

Mecca: 2012-05-14

The general manager of projects and studies the General Presidency for the Sacred Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque Abdul Mohsen Bin Humaid, that the work is going on around the clock to finish the expansion project the course of the water of Zamzam before the next Ramadan. He told the "home" yesterday that more than two thousand workers are continuing their work day and night to complete the project, which aims to increase the production capacity of your well located near the Kaaba, located under the surface now opened up to a depth of 1.56 meters.

For his part, said Director General of Water in Makkah former, the author of "Zamzam" Yahya Koshak for "home" to the headwaters of Zamzam, fed from the mountains and the rocky mountains surrounding the cracks in Makkah. He added that the greater the amount of rain on the outskirts of Mecca rose water level in the well of Zamzam significantly, pointing out that the rain that falls on the valley of Abraham is not an increase in the well water level only slightly so. The Koushk that the well is divided into two parts: the first part of a building depth of 12.80 meters from the hole well, and the second part pecked in the rock of the mountain and a length of 17.20 meters, indicating that the depth of the water level for opening the well is about four meters, with total depth of the eyes that feed into the well 13 meters, indicating that the distance from the eyes to the bottom of the well up to 17 meters. He said that Qatar is the well varies according to depth, ranging between 1.5 and 2.5 meters, stressing that the main source is the hole moving on the Kaaba in the direction of corner Kaaba-west - the Black Stone - and a length of 45 centimeters and a height of 30 centimeters, and flows of which the bulk of the water.


[








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Old May 15th, 2012, 07:42 PM   #1855
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Statistics - News: Mecca & Pilgrimage

15 May 2012

Views: 200 150
Replies: 1855


28 March 2012

Views: 164 337
Replies: 1641


28 February 2012

Views: 145 295
Replies: 1482

Last edited by Roukaya19; May 15th, 2012 at 07:49 PM.
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Old May 15th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #1856
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Holy Mosque - Masjid al Haram
King Abdulaziz Gate
April 2012

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivad-de...n/photostream/
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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:31 AM   #1857
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Makkah Smart City


Makkah smart city project gathers pace


BY: Jeddah: Md Al-Sulami

Tuesday 15 May 2012
.The King Abdullah development project will make Makkah the first smart city in the Kingdom, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled said yesterday.

Addressing a forum to discuss smart city applications in the Makkah province, the governor said: “There is no excuse for not making our cities smart.”

He said there is a major project to revise plans for the cities of Makkah, Jeddah and Taif. “We should be pioneers in making our cities smart.”

The function was attended by Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed and Makkah Deputy Gov. Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Khodairy.

“We have all the factors to make this project successful. We have a great leadership that is ready to take initiatives. We have peace and security and we have enough funds,” he pointed out.

“We need the will and determination to take decisions,” the governor said. He underscored the security and stability prevailing in the Kingdom, adding that it offers a conducive atmosphere for development projects.

Prince Khaled said the smart city project was part of the Kingdom’s efforts to improve services to pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah.

“We want to carry out Haj and Umrah services in the best manner, in line with international standards,” the governor said. “We have to make pilgrims happy by extending the best possible services.”

He said the two-year strategic development plan for the Makkah province was prepared with the participation of intellectuals and businessmen and women.
“The plan centers on the Holy Kaaba because it was the reason for the presence of people in this part of the world,” he pointed out.

He denounced suggestions that Muslims are a third-world community. “We are a progressive society. Our religion Islam calls for progress. We’ll not accept less than top position and there is nothing impossible,” the governor said.

Prince Khaled referred to a report published by US Today that classified the Haj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah as one of the 10 best terminals in the world.

Speaking at the function, Al-Khodairy said the forum was organized to mobilize good ideas and thoughts for implementing the smart city project. “Officials and experts have been invited to take part in this discussion,” he pointed out.

http://www.arabnews.com/%5btermalias...t-gathers-pace


Best time to implement smart city project: Emir
16 May 2012

JEDDAH — Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah region, said the King Abdullah Construction Project for Makkah and the holy sites aims to turn Makkah into the Kingdom’s first smart city.

Addressing the Smart Cities Seminar here Monday evening, Prince Khaled said there was nothing to prevent Makkah from being transformed into a smart city. “We have new design plans for Makkah, Jeddah and Taif. It’s our opportunity to take the initiative now. All we need is good management and a strong will to start the project,” he said.

This is the best time to implement the smart city project and the opportunity should be grabbed with both hands, the Emir said, emphasizing that the project also aims to provide smart services to pilgrims.

Modern mechanisms, he hoped, will be employed to facilitate the movement of pilgrims from the point of their departure at home until their arrival at the holy sites.

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Khudairi, Undersecretary of Makkah Emirate, said the seminar, which was organized at the behest of Prince Khaled and to which different sectors of society were invited, sought to come up with the best ideas and visions for the future work plan.

Three presentations were made about smart cities and how they are built and the challenges associated with adapting to modern technology. Smart cities can solve many chronic problems, such as traffic jams, pollution and energy-related problems. They also allow individuals easy access to government and health services. The presentations focused on the most modern technologies employed by smart cities with a view to providing pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors with the best possible services.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...20120516124220

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Old May 16th, 2012, 04:47 PM   #1858
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SalamWorld to pioneer Islamic social media network


The first global summit for the Islamic social network in Istanbul on February 13th 2012, with more than
250 delegates from 40 Muslim countries from across the globe including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

May 10, 2012

By RIYADH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

The Muslim world will have its own social networking site this summer. SalamWorld, a cleaner, Islam-centered alternative to Facebook, aims to reach 50 million users within the next three years.

“The high-profile launch of SalamWorld is set for sometime in July this year in the Turkish city of Istanbul to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan,” said Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov, chairman of the SalamWorld board of directors, in a special interview, here.

Abdul-Vakhed pointed out that the site will be available in eight languages including English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, and Russian. Abdul-Vakhed is currently visiting Saudi Arabia with a delegation from SalamWorld to interact with Saudi officials, Islamic scholars and businessmen to seek their endorsement and to generate moral and financial support for the project. A local businessman Fahad Abdullah Al-Rajhi, who is a member of the SalamWorld executive, is one of the hosts for the delegation.

Ahmad Azimov, SalamWorld’s deputy chairman; Nurserik Kudereyev, CEO; and M. Zahran, GCC regional director, attended the press briefing. The delegation has had talks with senior officials of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, officials of the Muslim World League (MWL) and a few other prominent Islamic scholars during their stay in the Kingdom.

Spelling out the features of the SalamWorld project, Abdul-Vakhed said: “Some 300 million Muslims use the Internet, and about half use social networks. Unfortunately, none are managed by Muslims,” adding that the plan is to tap into the large number of Muslim Internet users. The major difference between SalamWorld and other social networks will be the filtering of “offensive” content like pornography, and anything inciting terrorist activity or human rights violations, he said.

He pointed out that SalamWorld will be a far cleaner version of Facebook. By “filtering out harmful content and ensuring that its pages uphold and respect family values, SalamWorld can be described as ‘Halal Facebook’, the new social networking phenomenon,” he noted.

Referring to the growing popularity of social networking sites, Abdul-Vakhed said there are currently more than 800 million Facebook users around the world, 300 million of whom are Muslims. This number is expected to increase by 100 percent in a few years. Hence, the platform has been developed with the aim of providing a website for Muslims to interact with each other online, he added. He said any political movements or countries do not support the project.

SalamWorld users will be provided many applications, including a vast collection of books on Islamic heritage in a number of eBook formats, certified distance learning programs tailored to various levels of education, and interactive sessions with recognized scholars, qualified experts and consultants. A multilingual online Islamic encyclopedia will be available in interlinked pages created by multiple users.

“In fact, we want Muslims to engage with technology instead of cursing it as evil,” said deputy chairman Azimov. He said: “As a Muslim, religion and business are not separable…whatever you do for business has to be in line with your religious principles and values.”

“Part of its goal is to provide a better picture of Islam to non-Muslims,” said Azimov.

The company says it will ensure halal content through filters, moderators and user-based moderation. Those are features similar to Facebook, but will likely be much more strictly applied. Another important application will be the online city guide, where users will be provided with worldwide city guides to mosques, Islamic centers, Halal restaurants and other Muslim businesses. Users will also be given opportunities to broadcast sermons, lectures and newsworthy events. SalamWorld will provide daily updates of breaking news and a space for online discussions.

Commenting on the availability of e-commerce content, Azimov said there will be an online store of Islamic goods and services and, additionally, tours will be advertised and organized for annual pilgrimages to Makkah.

The social network describes its mission as being multi-faceted; an alternative to popular social networks, offering Islamic content generated by Muslims for Muslims, a place for Muslims to raise their voices, a platform for communication between Muslim communities, a channel between Muslims and the international community, offering a field of opportunities for Muslim youth and a range of Internet services for modern Muslim society.

Azimov noted that he and his team were inspired to start this social networking project in April 2011. He says the main reason for starting the project was to provide a chance for Muslims to have their own space on the Internet and in social networks.


"Our plan for this year is also to open an office somewhere in the Gulf region," said Azimov.

Asked about the massive technical know-how required to launch such a mega project, he said: "Our professional team now consists of experts from 12 countries. The executive board has representatives from 17 countries. Our aim is to provide an alternative social network that is safe for young users, without the harmful content that is usually associated with social networks."

Several leading Muslim countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan ban thousands of websites to protect their Internet users from harmful content, he noted.

"I strongly believe that without a reliable alternative to choose from, and with a lack of Islamic content, young Muslim Internet users are unprotected against the harmful contents of websites and social networks that are devoted to today's popular culture," said the company's GCC regional director Zahran. He said that many persons and organizations previously tried to set up Islamic social networking projects but failed and eventually shut down.

"All of them failed; when a website has 20,000 users from the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, this is also a failure," said Zahran. He said having no competitors in this market increases the risk of failing and it also increases the potential area of dissemination.

As people have no alternatives, this gives us an opportunity to grow faster, said CEO Kudereyev. He noted that well-known scholars and intellectuals in the Muslim world support the project. Some of them joined the company's executive board and others have become SalamWorld's "true friends."

According to its development plan, the company plans to spend not less than $50 million in the next three years. Its major goal for the next few years is to become a global company with a $1 billion turnover. "I can say with certainty that we're moving much more efficiently than we even planned to," Kudereyev said.

http://www.arabnews.com/variety/isla...-media-network


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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:43 PM   #1859
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Old May 17th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #1860
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Credit for biggest expansion of Haram goes to the king


BY: Jeddah: Badr Al-Qahtani

Wednesday 16 May 2012

The biggest expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah was carried out during the reign of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

In 2011, the Haram’s capacity was raised to accommodate 1.6 million worshippers, one-and-half times more than all the expansions put together in the mosque’s history. This latest expansion cost SR 80 billion and is part of Makkah’s many development projects, including work on the mosque’s central zone and surrounding areas.

Speaking on the seventh anniversary of King Abdullah’s accession to throne, Dr. Muhammad Bin Nasser, vice president of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, said developing the mosque’s area is an ongoing project.

“Every year the Grand Mosque witnesses more development in the services provided to visitors. This year, the King Abdullah Expansion Project is being carried out. It includes the latest and most sophisticated electrical and mechanical systems. The expansion is linked to the first Saudi expansion and to the masaa (running area between Safaa and Marwaa) via several bridges. A new system of elevators and escalators is being installed,” he said.

He said there will be an integrated services station that is being constructed on an area of 75,000 square meters that will include modern, eco-friendly air conditioning systems, water reservoirs, waste dumping systems and others.

The project to expand the tawaf area is one of the major projects and will result in the capacity being increased to accommodate 130,000 Tawaf performers per hour across all floors instead of the current capacity of 52,000.

The project will include a floor (the first one) allocated to those with special needs and will be connected to elevators and escalators. The special needs floor will also be connected to the masaa, he added.

Secretary-General of the Madinah Development Board Muhammad Al-Ali said the new expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque that will be executed as part of the city’s comprehensive development plan will increase the mosque’s capacity to accommodate 320,000 worshippers, he said last year at the Madinah Research Forum.

The plan includes rehabilitating Wadi Alaqiq (Alaqiq valley), the biggest valley in Madinah, he added.

He said that Quba Mosque area is also included as it will be developed on an area of 1.5 million square meters as well as the city’s meeqat point (where pilgrims don the ihram prior to performing Haj or Umrah), whose development contracts have been awarded to contractors.

Head of the Jeddah’s municipal council Dr. Ayman Saleh Fadil said the governorate has witnessed a huge developmental leap in all fields during the reign of King Abdullah.

“Jeddah’s people and visitors will benefit from the fast development of services, health and education facilities that have been carried out as per the municipality’s sustainable plans and programs monitored by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed,” he said.

“The king’s development efforts reached countries all over the world. He served the Kingdom and all Muslims of the world, and his efforts to spread moderation and tolerance are appreciated and commended by everybody,” he said.

“The idea of municipal councils in the country began as he ascended the throne in 2005.”

http://www.arabnews.com/credit-bigge...am-goes-king-0

Makkah Holy Mosque model at National Museum in Riyadh




This Holy Mosque model is at Makkah Museum



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