Saudi Arabia opens military recruitment to women

Saudi female Royal Guard stands beside her colleague in June 2020. (Photo courtesy: Social media)
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Updated 21 February 2021

Saudi Arabia opens military recruitment to women

  • Women applicants must be aged 21-40 and cannot be a government employee
  • Those who are married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted

JEDDAH: Women can now join Saudi Arabia's armed forces, following a ruling by the Saudi Ministry of Defense that opened the way for both genders to sign up through a unified admission portal starting Sunday.

Military ranks from soldier to sergeant will be available in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.
All applicants must pass admission procedures according to specified conditions, have a clean record and be medically fit for service. But some additional criteria have been added for female applicants.
Saudi female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have a height of 155 cm or taller, and cannot be a government employee. Female submissions must also hold an independent national identity card and have at least a high school education. Applicants married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted.
The age range for first-time male applicants is between 17 and 40 while their minimum height is 160 cm. There were mixed reactions to the ministry’s new unified recruitment standards.

FASTFACTS

• Military ranks from soldier to sergeant will be available in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.

• Saudi female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have a height of 155 cm or taller, and cannot be a government employee.

• Female submissions must also hold an independent national identity card and have at least a high school education. Applicants married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted. 

Operating systems specialist, Halah Al-Ynabawi, said Arab countries allowing women in the military has been a controversial topic over the past 30 years.
“But today, with the vision of King Salman, he has played a big role with the inclusion of women in all fields — governmental and now military,” she told Arab News.
“In my personal opinion, it is very important for women to be in the military, where they can have an active role in our conservative society.” Rahma Al-Khayri, an information technology specialist, shared a different point of view.
“Throughout history, we have not heard of a woman who came to the field and fought,” she said. “We always hear about women healing people, or perhaps monitoring supplies in the administration and in the control units. The man is the one who fights in the field.”


Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 387,795
  • A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced nine deaths from COVID-19 and 948 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 419 were recorded in Riyadh, 210 in Makkah, 133 in the the Eastern Province, 34 in Asir, 32 in Madinah, 23 in Jazan, 20 in Hail, 15 in Tabuk, 12 in the Northern Borders region, nine in Najran and seven in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 387,795 after 775 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

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Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

  • The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have donated $8.1 million for charitable and not-for-profit activities via the Ehsan Platform, state news agency SPA reported.

The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal that contributes to the governance, management and sustainability of donations. King Salman donated $5.4 million (SR20 million) while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman contributed $2.7 million (SR10 million).

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf bin Jamaan Al-Ghamdi, Chairman of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, thanked the Saudi leaders for their generous donations which according to him was an affirmation of “attention being paid by the state’s leadership through being in touch with citizens’ needs and expending for goodness ways.”

Al-Ghamdi expressed the Crown Prince’s keenness to support charitable work and develop the non-profit sector.

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Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

Updated 17 April 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

  • Coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians

RIYADH: The Arab coalition destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan on Friday, Al-Ekhbariya reported.

The militia’s hostile attempts to target civilians are systematic and deliberate, the coalition said. 

The coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The attack came a day after the coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Those attacks originated from Sa’dah governorate in Yemen, spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki said.

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Six years on, the sound of Makkah’s Ramadan cannon is still missed

The blast of the cannon, with all its importance and beauty, became the sound of the call to prayer for the residents of the holy city. (Supplied)
Updated 17 April 2021

Six years on, the sound of Makkah’s Ramadan cannon is still missed

  • Modern technology — most notably the speakers affixed to the minarets — eventually made the cannon obsolete

MAKKAH: It has been six years since the cannon that stands atop Mount Abu Al-Madafaa in the north of Makkah has been fired to mark the holy month of Ramadan. But its sound still reverberates in the memories of many Makkans, for whom it was a means to tell the times of fasting, morning prayers, and the beginning and end of Ramadan.

For many years, those who lived near the mountain would climb to its peak to see the cannon being fired once Ramadan was announced. Throughout the holy month, shots would be fired to mark the start of iftar, sahoor, and the start of fasting.
In an interview with Arab News when the cannon was still active, Maj. Abdul Mohsin Al-Maimani — a spokesman for Makkah Police, which was responsible for guarding, maintaining and firing the cannon — noted how popular the cannon was with the public.
“When Makkah Police was founded 75 years ago, it was entrusted with the maintenance and care of this cannon. After Eid, the cannon is returned to a special department. A few days before Ramadan, it is sent back to the mountain. The powder is handled by a special team so that no one gets hurt,” he added.

HIGHLIGHTS

• For many years, those who lived near the mountain would climb to its peak to fire the cannon once Ramadan was announced. Throughout the holy month, shots would be fired to mark the start of iftar, suhoor, and the start of fasting.

• Cannon firing during Ramadan has been traced back as far as the 15th century and the era of the Mamluks.

Fahad Al-Harbi, mayor of Ray Zakhir near Mount Abu Al-Madafaa, told Arab News: “The Ramadan cannon withstood technical changes for long decades until its recent retirement. It represents ancient Makkan history. The blast of the cannon, with all its importance and beauty, became the sound of the call to prayer for the residents of Makkah.”

The cannon has stood on Mount Abu Al-Madafaa for at least a century, and ‘the people of Makkah connected their love for the holy month’ to both the cannon and the mountain.

Dr. Fawaz, Al-Dahas

For many years, he noted, the cannon was “the only means to alert people that it was time to break fast” and “added a distinct character to the holy month” that is still “treasured in people’s memory.”
According to Dr. Fawaz Al-Dahas, director of the Center of Makkah History, the cannon has stood on Mount Abu Al-Madafaa for at least a century, and “the people of Makkah connected their love for the holy month” to both the cannon and the mountain.
“In the past, it was impossible to hear the voice of the Grand Mosque’s muezzins, so the cannon performed the task on their behalf. It remained a tradition held dearly,” said Al-Dahas. But modern technology — most notably the speakers affixed to the minarets of Makkah’s Grand Mosque — eventually made the cannon obsolete.
Cannon firing during Ramadan has been traced back as far as the 15th century and the era of the Mamluks.

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Saudi mission launches Ramadan food programs in Thailand

Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi mission launches Ramadan food programs in Thailand

BANGKOK: Saudi Arabia on Friday launched Ramadan food programs in Bangkok.

The charge d’affaires at Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in the Thai capital, Issam Al-Jutaili, inaugurated the King Salman iftar and date distribution programs, supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

The initiative was launched in cooperation and coordination with the Sheikhul Islam Office, the Central Islamic Council and prominent Islamic centers and associations in Thailand.

The embassy’s Islamic adviser, Dr. Youssef bin Abdullah Al-Hamoudi, said that the Kingdom this year provided eight tons of dates and nearly 5,000 food baskets. These will be distributed to around 35,000 Muslims in Thailand during Ramadan.

The program will be rolled out in 30 provinces, 990 mosques and 160 Islamic centers, associations and commissions, in line with COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Muslims who attended the inauguration of the two programs praised the Kingdom’s efforts to serve Islam and Muslims around the world. 

They extended their thanks and appreciation to the Saudi government.