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Air India crew member arrested in Jeddah

Jeddah: A cabin crew member of an Air India flight was detained by the Jeddah Airport authorities on charges of smuggling out gold.
The detained cabin crew was to board the flight bound for Kochi, along with 11 other crew members, sources said here tonight.
The incident which happened this morning forced Air India to operate the flight with 11 cabin crew members instead of mandatory 12, the sources added.
There was no official word from Air India. 
An Air India spokesperson later confirmed the detention of one of its cabin crew members but said that the reason was yet to be known.
"The cabin crew is still in detention. We are ascertaining the reason behind his detention," the spokesperson said, adding that the airline will take suitable action in this regard.
  • Published in World

1,000 illegals held daily in Jeddah

Jeddah police have been arresting about 1,000 expatriates a day for violating the country's work and residency regulations.
This is despite the fact that a year has passed since the crackdown on illegal workers began, according to a recent report in a local newspaper.
Some workers interviewed by the publication said they plan to remain in the country to seek employment.
Abdulghafour Khan said he has a residence permit, but three months after he arrived in the Kingdom, his sponsor said he could not pay his wages and that he should go work for other people.
Some of his friends encouraged him to work for a daily wage, so he bought some light equipment and is now in construction. Khan, a Pakistani national, said many contracting companies use workers like him as daily laborers.
  • Published in Saudi Arabia

Twenty cooking gas stations shut Jeddah

More than 20 cooking gas stations have been closed in Jeddah over the past month for violating safety regulations. This was revealed by director of the Civil Defense in Jeddah Salim Matrafi recently.

He said that the role of the Civil Defense is to verify that all warning systems and automatic and manual fire extinguishers operate efficiently and that all systems related to unloading cooking gas cylinders from trucks are in order.

The Civil Defense has recently intensified its inspection of fuel stations on the directives of Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed to ensure that safety regulations are being applied. However, a number of gas stations continue to use old meters, which many citizens see as easily manipulated by employees for fraudulent purposes.

Arab News visited a number of cooking gas stations in Jeddah to find that employees were often misquoting prices and scamming customers in broad daylight.

“Gas stations need to be monitored closely and the Ministry of Commerce and Trade and the municipality should verify the type and quality of cooking gas being sold,” said Sami Almalfi.

Abdullah Al-Zahrani and Khalid Mohammdi praised the efforts of the Civil Defense, but said that there should be further action taken regarding the use of old machines and meters to eliminate the incidence of fraudulent practices.
  • Published in Saudi Arabia

Anchors might be told to obey abaya tradition

Jeddah: The Shoura Council is expected to discuss amendments to the audiovisual law on Tuesday that would impose a mandatory dress code for TV presenters on Saudi-funded private channels, including an abaya and scarf for women news readers and anchors.
Noura Al-Odwan, a woman member of the Shoura, has reportedly convinced the culture and media affairs committee to present the controversial proposal at the consultative council for discussion.
The new move comes a few weeks after Al-Odwan criticized the appearance of some presenters, saying they used too much makeup, drawing flak from the male Shoura members and female anchors.
The proposal demands adding an article on the dress code to the country’s audiovisual media law.
Al-Odwan insisted that the appearance of some female anchors on official channels, where she said they are showing off their beauty, would have a negative impact on the Kingdom’s international reputation.
Bloggers have been divided on the issue. Some have stressed that female anchors should follow an Islamic dress code, while others said the Shoura should not waste their valuable time discussing such “silly” issues. 
Ghada bint Fahad said she was happy someone in the Shoura has raised the issue. “This move has given me hope. Until now I believed that women Shoura members did not represent me,” she said.
Another blogger asked why the channels wanted to appoint women in the first place. “They should not use women as a commodity to attract more viewers.”
Rakan Al-Johani commended Al-Odwan for raising the issue of alleged excesses in Saudi and Arab media, which he said violated the teachings of Islam. Another blogger, Ameera, said: “Some people think cultural progress means showing off women’s beauty. It’s not.”
  • Published in Saudi Arabia

Symposium pays homage to Indian freedom fighter

Jeddah: Indian freedom fighter Abdulrahman Sahib was a visionary leader and a unique personality who devoted his life to the nation and people, opined participants of a symposium organized by a special committee in association with the Overseas Indian Cultural Congress.

Mohammed Raziq Abdul Vahid, chairman of the International Indian School Jeddah’s (IISJ) Management Committee, inaugurated the seminar highlighting Sahib’s towering personality as a religious reformer, political leader, educationist, writer, publisher and orator.

Mansoor Palloor, OICC global committee spokesman, gave the keynote speech on Sahib who was nicknamed “The Lion of Kerala,” and commended his contributions to the country and people. He was president of the Pradesh Congress Committee and died at the age of 47 on Nov. 23, 1945.

“Sahib’s life was replete with examples of how a true believer can become a staunch advocate of secularism and a national leader acceptable to all sections of India’s pluralist society,” Palloor said. K.C. Abdul Rahman, who presided over the event, said Sahib’s patriotism emanated from his religious faith, adding that he never compromised on his commitment to secular credentials. 

Gopi Nedungadi, a community leader, commended Sahib’s role in promoting communal harmony in the Malabar region of Kerala. Ismail Maritheri of King Abdulaziz University underscored Sahib’s honesty and transparency. 

“This made him a unique personality and a role model,” Maritheri said. VM Ibrahim, executive editor of Gulf Madhyamam, Hassan Cherupa of Saudi Gazette, CK Shakir of KMCC, KTA Muneer of OICC, VK A Rauf, Abdul Majeed Naha, Moideenkutty Chemban, Nazeer Vavakunhu and Abdul Rahman Kavungal also spoke on the occasion.
  • Published in Saudi Arabia

Blood money: Affordable sum stressed

Jeddah: Saudi scholars and lawyers have called for effective steps to stop the phenomenon of people convening big tribal gatherings to demand exorbitant amounts in diya (blood money) from relatives of murder convicts, saying it does not conform to Islamic teachings and social values.

“Islam teaches its followers to forgive when they are able to do that and show tolerance,” said Sheikh Khalaf Al-Mutlaq, supervisor of Dar Al-Ifta in the Eastern Province. However, he stressed that demanding blood money from the killer is the right of the victim’s kin. 

Al-Mutlaq said when Islam introduced the punishment of qisas or beheading the murderer, it was instrumental in reducing such crimes in society. The Shariah has given the relatives of a murder victim three options — forgive without taking diya, forgive in lieu of diya or demand execution. 

He said reconciliation between the families of the murderer and his/her victim would reduce tension and promote peace in society. “Most people agree to forgive the killer seeking the reward hereafter. It is much better for a family to forgive the killer of their loved one without taking money seeking the reward from God. If they accept half of the amount, instead of demanding full it will reduce the financial burden of the other family.”
Hamoud Al-Khaledi, a lawyer, said the Shariah came to protect the rights and interests of people. “The Shariah calls for execution of the killer and at the same time encourages people to forgive the killer,” he said adding that the Qur’an has clearly stated that those who forgive the killer would be rewarded by the Almighty.

He said demanding blood money has become a kind of trade as people negotiate to get the highest amount, exploiting the situation of the defendant’s family. He urged academics, prayer leaders and media persons to enlighten the public on the need to accept reasonable amounts in blood money.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Safi, director of the committee for taking care of prisoners, said people should stop holding big tribal gatherings to demand high amounts in blood money. “They should instead encourage families to forgive the killer, inspired by the teachings of the Qur’an and Hadith,” he said.
  • Published in Saudi Arabia

Marital bliss for 107 with disabilities

Jeddah: In a festive and joyful atmosphere, 107 people with disabilities tied the knot in a mass wedding ceremony in Riyadh on Sunday. Al-Hilal Football Club sponsored the event, which was organized by the Harakiyyah Society, a local charity. The nuptials cost SR2.26 million. After the ceremony, the couples received SR396,000 in cash over a full year, electrical appliances, household utensils and furniture.

Al-Hilal President Prince Abdul Rahman bin Mosaed and Harkiyyah’s Chairman Muhammad Al-Motawwa attended the event, which was the charity’s fifth mass wedding this year. Eighty-three able-bodied women tied the knot with grooms who are disabled, while eight of the able-bodied brides became second wives to grooms with disabilities. Twelve brides were non-Saudis and nine of the newlywed couples had disabilities.

According to Al-Motawwa, the wedding project kicked off five years ago with help from the Al-Hilal Club, who sponsored the event this year as part of their corporate responsibility projects. Prince Abdul Rahman has set up an endowment fund of SR500,000 to support the marriages of people with physical disabilities. 

He has also pledged a further SR20 million to the charity, for other couples hoping to take their vows. After the prince’s announcement, Al-Motawwea urged large clubs and companies to launch endowment funds to sponsor some of its 10 charity projects, which he said were as important as the wedding project.
  • Published in Saudi Arabia

Expats pay tribute to carnage victims

Jeddah: Expatriates in cities across the Kingdom have expressed shock over the recent brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar by the Taliban. 

Mohammed Hameed, a philanthropist from India, said: “It’s extremely painful and heart-wrenching to see the pictures and videos of the horrific attack. It is definitely a crime against humanity.”

“This news has not only traumatized the people of Pakistan but the whole world. We Indians are sad over the loss of innocent lives in the suicide attack, sympathize with the parents and their family members, and are praying for the departed souls,” he said.

Humera Nahid, a Pakistani doctor, said that words cannot describe her feelings. “This tragedy is a cowardly act of terrorism. The people of the Taleban are definitely not human and have no right to be called Muslims because such a heinous crime against humanity in the name of religion is unacceptable in Islam.” 

“This time they have gone to an extreme level to prove their ruthlessness and brought shame on our country.” She said that she hopes the families of the victims have the strength to bear their losses.

Nahid called on the Pakistan government and the country’s political parties to end this violence and hang the terrorists in public so that such an awful act is not repeated. 

Sayed Sarmad, a Pakistani Islamic scholar in Jeddah, said he watched the entire “tragic” story on television with tears in his eyes. “Who would kill school children and teachers? It can make any stable person lose his mind.” 

“We cannot relate to the loss that families are feeling in their hearts, but can only pray for those who suffered and for our dear homeland, and expect something concrete is done to tackle the root of terrorism in Pakistan.”

Moaz Suan, a Jordanian accountant, said: “I have several friends from Pakistan who are grieving over the news. Being a father myself, I can only imagine the grief of the parents and the people of Pakistan. It is shocking to hear that the Taleban called it an act of revenge.” 

“It’s surprising to see that the Taleban targeted school children in their fight with the military. We are all against this incident and pray that the mastermind behind this attack is arrested and executed.” Many expatriates said that they are prepared to help Pakistanis during this trying time. Several international and privates schools observed two minutes of silence in memory of the departed souls. 

“We offered our condolences by observing moments of silence and praying for them. It is extremely sad to see kids targeted like this and killed so brutally,” said Ayesha Sehri, vice principal at a government school.

Society for International Peace passed a resolution condemning the brutal massacre of the children. Its chairman, Rohail Khan, in a statement said it was a conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan. The Pakistan Repatriation Council also issued a statement condemning the carnage and commiserating with the bereaved families.
  • Published in Saudi Arabia
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