Pilgrim’s progress: Moroccan completes 4-year cycle epic for Hajj

Ghulam Yassin started his journey in January 2017. (Photo/Social media)
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Updated 30 July 2020

Pilgrim’s progress: Moroccan completes 4-year cycle epic for Hajj

JEDDAH: A young Moroccan has finally arrived in time for Hajj in the Kingdom after a 4-year journey across 28 countries by foot and bicycle.
In a video shared widely on social media, Ghulam Yassin said he arrived in Saudi Arabia about seven months ago after years spent walking and cycling. He started his journey in January 2017.
“I spent four years traveling on foot just to reach Makkah so that I can perform Hajj,” said Yassin.
Saudi media personality Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi traveled to Abha, where the Moroccan traveler is staying, to welcome him and share his story.
“We came all the way from Qassim to meet you. You are our guest and the guest of every home in the Kingdom. We are so happy to have you,” said Al-Mutairi.
He was moved by Yassin’s goal and wanted to ease his travels. He placed his 26 kg backpack and bicycle in the back of a car and drove to see where Yassin sleeps.
Yassin sleeps in a portable tent filled with his personal belongings and cooking utensils.
He was planning to perform Hajj this year but had to postpone his goal because of the pandemic. He decided to stay in Abha because of its cool climate and natural beauty.
“The Kingdom limited the number of pilgrims this year to protect our health,” Yassin said. “So I decided to come to the south and enjoy my time because the weather is beautiful. I wasn’t expecting the area to be this beautiful,” he added.
“I walked from Makkah to Madinah on foot, following the journey of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The pandemic reached the Kingdom by the time I reached Madinah,” he said.
“I experienced warm hospitality every day in the Kingdom,” said the Moroccan.
Al-Mutairi and his group wanted to make sure Yassin stayed in comfort and surprised him with the offer of a well-stocked caravan.
The group made him Arabic coffee and sang traditional songs celebrating his stay in the Kingdom. Yassin documented the celebration and thanked his hosts.
A member of Al-Mutairi’s group joined the celebration and said: “The reason we came to Abha so fast was because we were touched by your story. I, too, want to gift you something. We will take care of your Hajj expenses for next year.”
Yassin was overwhelmed with emotion and cried with joy.
The traveler called his mother and told her about the surprise for next year. “I have wonderful news for you. My Saudi friends will take care of your Hajj journey next year,” he said, adding that she has never visited Makkah before.
Al-Mutairi and his group were overjoyed to make Yassin and his family’s Hajj wish come true.

Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari, Saudi ambassador to Lebanon

Updated 09 August 2020

Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari, Saudi ambassador to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its relief efforts in Lebanon following the deadly explosions in Beirut.

Saudi Ambassador Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari said the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center began organizing emergency aid immediately after the incident.

Bukhari has been the Saudi envoy to Lebanon since December 2018. He previously served as charge d’affaires at the embassy from March 2018 until his current appointment.

Bukhari obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science with distinction at the King Abdul Aziz University in 1995.

He obtained a higher diploma in diplomatic studies at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Riyadh in 2000, and a master’s in international politics from California State University, Fullerton.

He joined the Saudi diplomatic corps in 1996. In 1999, he was appointed deputy head of the mission of the Kingdom’s embassy in Niger.

Bukhari served as the consul general in Los Angeles from 2002 to 2006. In 2007, he was appointed to the office of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He became director of total quality management in 2009.

In 2013, he was assigned a role at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin. He was appointed assistant director general of planning and development at the ministry in 2016. He also served as the director general of diplomatic affairs and protocol and deputy undersecretary for protocol affairs in 2017.