Arab states reject US report on Khashoggi murder, ‘infringement of Saudi Arabian sovereignty’

Arab countries expressed their support for a statement released by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry concerning the report provided to the US Congress on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. (File/Getty Images)
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Updated 28 February 2021

Arab states reject US report on Khashoggi murder, ‘infringement of Saudi Arabian sovereignty’

  • Arab Parliament stresses pivotal role that the Kingdom plays in consolidating security in the Arab region
  • Pakistan voice support for Saudi Arabia over US Khashoggi report

RIYADH: Arab countries and groups expressed their support on Saturday for Saudi Arabia’s rejection of a report to the US Congress on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Bahrain’s Shoura Council affirmed “the prominent and pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to lay down the foundations of regional and global security and peace.”

Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said it rejected anything that infringed the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia. The council also praised diplomatic efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia through its foreign diplomacy in the region and the world, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

The UAE expressed its confidence in and support for the Saudi judiciary, and the Kingdom’s commitment to enforcing the law with transparency and integrity and to holding those responsible for the murder to account. It affirmed its solidarity with Saudi Arabia in its efforts to maintain stability and security in the region and its key role in maintaining moderation in the Arab world.

The UAE rejected any attempts to exploit the Khashoggi case or interfere in Saudi internal affairs, the ministry said.

Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry stressed the important role played by the Kingdom in supporting moderation and denouncing extremism. It categorically rejected any attempts to infringe Saudi sovereignty.

Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed solidarity with the Kingdom, and said it appreciated the efforts and actions of the competent judicial authorities in the Kingdom.

Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed the Sultanate's solidarity with the Kingdom, saying it appreciated the efforts and actions of the competent judicial authorities in the Kingdom regarding the case and its outcome.

The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejected “the incorrect conclusions” in the US report, which was “devoid of any conclusive evidence.” It also rejected attempts to infringe on the Kingdom’s sovereignty, insult its leadership and compromise the independence of its judiciary.

It expressed support for all judicial measures that were taken against the perpetrators of the murder who were brought to justice.

The Muslim World League (MWL) also affirmed its full support for Saudi Arabia’s statement.

MWL secretary-general Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa said the league rejects the conclusions of the report and affirmed the confidence of the Muslim world, led by Saudi Arabia, in all measures taken by the Kingdom.

Al-Issa added that the league rejects any interference that affects the Kingdom’s sovereignty. The Arab Parliament affirmed its support for the Saudi statement and expressed its categorical rejection of any infringement of the sovereignty of the Kingdom and the independence of its judiciary.

The parliament stressed the pivotal role that the Kingdom plays in consolidating security and stability in the Arab region and the Middle East and its policy of supporting international peace.

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajjraf, affirmed his appreciation for the pivotal role the Kingdom plays in enhancing regional and international security and peace, and its great role in combating terrorism and supporting the efforts of the international community in this regard.

Al-Hajraf said the report is nothing more than an opinion that is devoid of any conclusive evidence. He expressed his support for any measures that the Kingdom takes in order to preserve its rights and support its role in promoting a culture of moderation.

Yemen also rejected everything that might affect the sovereignty of the Kingdom and the independence of its judiciary.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said it had noted that the Saudi government termed Khashoggi’s murder as an “abhorrent crime” and a “flagrant violation of the Kingdom’s laws and values.”
“The Saudi government has further underlined that it took all possible measures within its legal system to ensure that the individuals responsible were properly investigated, convicted and sentenced and that justice was served. Pakistan recognizes Saudi efforts in this regard and expresses solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the ministry said in a statement. 
“Pakistan underscores adherence to the rule of law, respect for national sovereignty, and protection and promotion of human rights by all states, in accordance with their respective constitutional frameworks and international obligations,” it added.

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King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

Updated 14 April 2021

King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

RIYADH: King Salman on Tuesday offered his best wishes to the Muslim world on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan. 
The comments came as the king chaired the weekly government meeting virtually. 
He also instructed that pilgrims be given the best possible services during the holy month, which for a second year will be observed under strict protocols to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus. 

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Muslims perform first Tarawih prayer at Saudi Arabia's Two Holy Mosques

Updated 13 April 2021

Muslims perform first Tarawih prayer at Saudi Arabia's Two Holy Mosques

  • Only vaccinated or immune worshippers will be allowed to enter the Two Holy Mosques
  • Tarawih and Qiyaam prayers will be combined with the Isha prayer in all mosques across the Kingdom

RIYADH: Worshippers performed the first Tarawih prayer at the Two Holy Mosques on Monday amid strict COVID-19 measures.
King Salman issued a decision on Sunday approving the evening prayer in mosques across the Kingdom during the month of Ramadan, but that they be reduced and combined with the Isha prayer.
Only vaccinated or immune worshippers will be allowed to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and those who do not have a permit will face a hefty fine in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques said it had intensified disinfection and sterilization operations, and is distributing single-use Zamzam water bottles to the prayer halls, areas, squares and to visitors, in general.
The authority said it had recruited more than 100 personnel to welcome worshippers at entrances and direct them to designated places and installed screening points. Thermal cameras have been set up to detect any signs of illness among those entering the mosques.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said it has completed all preparations for the Muslim holy month. The program includes a number of projects, namely distributing dates through Islamic centers and religious attaches in a number of countries, the King Salman break fast initiative in 16 countries, campaigns to limit the spread of the coronavirus in mosques, as well as a series of virtual lectures throughout the month.
The ministry also issued a circular to all mosques, calling on imams and muezzins to commit the Maghrib and Isha prayers to a two-hour period throughout Ramadan. It also said that the waiting period between the call to prayer and Iqama (the start of the prayer) will be 10 minutes, except for the Fajr prayer, which will be 20 minutes.


Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization

Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization

  • It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia was elected president of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) and Saudi national Deemah Alyahya was appointed the first secretary-general of the organization during its first meeting on Monday.
The organization also approved the accession of Nigeria and Oman to the organization as founding members.
The first five members of DCO included Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan.
The seven member states constitute an economic bloc worth $2 trillion of the global gross domestic product.
The first meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha. Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Communication Union, GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, World Economic Forum President Borge Brende and representatives of different UN programs also attended the meeting.
The meeting approved several initiatives including establishment of a center to boost coordination on transfer of data, women’s empowerment and promotion of small and medium enterprises with a focus on digital transformation.
The DCO aims to strengthen collaboration among member nations as they adapt to a global economy increasingly defined by technological innovation.
Through this initiative, the member states could establish solid cooperation in the emerging fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, IoT, big data, 5G, cloud computing, and blockchain.
It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent. This provides the DCO with a great opportunity to build a platform for their tech-savvy youth, women, entrepreneurs, and indigenous industry to flourish and compete with their global contemporaries and boost their digital competitiveness.
In addition, member states can harness their expertise and share experience to strengthen efforts for preparing for global crises such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Hajj ministry announces guidelines for Umrah, Ramadan prayers

Updated 12 April 2021

Hajj ministry announces guidelines for Umrah, Ramadan prayers

  • Taraweeh, Qiyam prayers should not exceed 30 minutes in all mosques
  • Prayer permits will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, Hajj ministry says

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set guidelines and protocols for issuing Umrah and prayer permits for the month of Ramadan. 
Vaccinations are at the top of the priority list as no worshippers are allowed into either Makkah’s Grand Mosque or Madinah’s Prophet’s Mosque without having received at least one dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
Permits will only be allowed through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps, and will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, as the latest Tawkkalna update has designated each category with a color code and barcode specific to their health status.
Unauthorized vehicles will not be allowed in the central region around Makkah, and visitors must arrive on time or risk losing their time slot.
Children will not be allowed to enter either mosques, nor the courtyards around the mosques.

HIGHLIGHT

Permits will only be allowed through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps, and will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, as the latest Tawkkalna update has designated each category with a color code and barcode specific to their health status.

The Ministry of Interior issued a warning that a SR10,000 ($26,671) fine will be issued to pilgrims wishing to perform Umrah without permits, and a SR1,000 fine for worshippers trying to enter the mosques without one.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance issued a statement saying that Taraweeh and Qiyam prayers should not exceed 30 minutes in all mosques in the Kingdom. This comes after King Salman issued a decision to permit Taraweeh prayers in the two holy mosques and reduce them to five tasleemat.
The ministry reminded people for the need to follow the preventive measures to ensure the safety, health and security of those visiting the two holy mosques.


Ramadan 2021 will start on Tuesday: Saudi Arabia

Updated 13 April 2021

Ramadan 2021 will start on Tuesday: Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide will mark the first day of Ramadan on Tuesday after an official sighting of the new crescent moon, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court said on Monday evening.

The court extended its best wishes to King Salman, the crown prince, citizens and expatriates in the Kingdom, and all Muslims on the advent of the holy month.

For a second year, Ramadan in Saudi Arabia will be observed under coronavirus precautions.

“The month of Ramadan is upon us and the world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic,” King Salman said.

“We thank God for the scientific efforts in developing vaccines to curb the pandemic.”

READ MORE

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approves Tarawih prayers in Two Holy Mosques Read more here.

Preventive measures remain in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus during Ramadan. Only vaccinated or immune worshippers will be allowed to enter the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and pilgrims who try to perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque in Makkah without a permit will face a fine of up to 10,000 riyals.

Nevertheless, with more than 6 million people already vaccinated, more people will be able to attend the holy sites than a year ago, and many Saudi families are looking forward to a more “normal” Ramadan after a year of restrictions.

READ MORE

Hajj Ministry announce Ramadan guidelines for Umrah and prayers Read more here.

Rahaf Hussain and her husband Abdullah Al-Rashidi both have families in Jeddah but live in the Eastern Province. They have made it their mission this Ramadan to spend as much holiday time together as they can for the sake of their children.

The couple have planned careful iftar gatherings of no more than 20 people this year, in line with official recommendations.

“This year, we plan on a COVID-free Ramadan,” Hussain told Arab News. “We got our vaccines, and we are still wearing masks and constantly washing our hands.

“We were deprived of our families, and we lost some dear ones. Our Ramadan gatherings last year were spent on screens, but I’m making sure that won’t happen this year. We’re sticking to the rules.”

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