Saudi Times in the Media
While Hajj and Umrah remain uncertain, Saudi Arabia allowed mosques to open for Friday and daily prayers. Read here: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1680266/saudi-arabia.
The Prophet Mosque in Madinah will operate with 40% its capacity with restrictions being lifted in stages while Makkah remains in full lockdown. The Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages, which attract millions of worshipers yearly, remain suspended until further notice. What does this mean for Saudi Arabia?
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, this year Ramadan in the Saudi Arabia and the entire Muslim world will not be the same.
On 10 April, the government in Saudi Arabia announced it what it considers the last in a series of restrictions which it has imposed on the nation to combat COVID-19, even before the first case was reported in the country. The holy cities of Makkah and Madinah will shut down completely. In addition, no prayers will take place in the holy mosques of Makkah or Madinah, or any other mosques in the country. People may only move within their district, from 8 AM to 3 PM, and only to shop for food or medicines.
In my interview with Lucass Krobot, founder and host of OWN THE FUTURE, I spoke about the transmission in Saudi Arabia focussing on education and culture.
You can listen to the full interview: https://bit.ly/3b8A0vU and let us know your thoughts!
At first, I could not grasp the depression that overcame me with the gradual lockdown. I tried to reason with myself, but still continued feeling trapped.
Like many other cities in the world, Dubai went into lockdown. The closure happened gradually, making it easier for citizens to adjust overtime in anticipation of the upcoming situation, thus avoiding the shock of an instant shutdown.
In the siege of Makkah in 1979, many of Juhayman’s followers were theology students at the Islamic University of Medinah. There, Juhayman had joined a fundamentalist Salafi group that was headed by the renowned Sheikh bin Baz. The group’s followers preached for a return to Islam in its original form in mosques in Saudi Arabia fearing no arrests; the government was reluctant to confront religious extremists underestimating the danger of this group. When Juhayman, al-Qahtani and other group members were locked up as troublemakers in 1978 for the first time, the religious authorities investigated them for heresy, but decided that they were traditionalists and should be released and no serious allegations to keep them jailed.
On 20 November 1979, about 300 heavily armed men assaulted the Grand Mosque of Makkah, the Masjid Al Haram. Within minutes, they had transformed the holiest place in Islam into a fortress and taken thousands of worshippers hostage. The siege shocked Saudi Arabia to its core throwing it into decades of extremism. It is less known and understood than it should be because it had a deep influence on the thinking of religious extremists for years to come.
This is an interview I had with BBC Arabic Radio this month, on the daily noon news show. It was one day after the Saudi government had lifted travel restrictions for Saudi women. A number of new civil laws and regulations in favor of women were released on 6th August. Probably the most important was that women over the age of 21 may obtain their passports without their guardians’ permission, as well as an easing of travel permissions.
This an interview I did with BBC Arabic Radio this month. It was on the program “Alkhalij Haza AlIsbugh” (The Gulf this Week) with Dr. Suheil Aranki.
The interview was about the newly gained freedom for Saudi women to travel, and whether Saudi society is ready for this freedom and for accepting it. The interview came after a Saudi man preached a sermon on Eid Al Adha, criticizing the Saudi government for its openness towards women and warning Saudi women of the negatives of these developments.
JAC (Jeddah Autism Center) celebrated its 25 years anniversary on April, 2nd 2019. At that time there was little awareness and acceptance of autism in society. Today, it is a different picture.
In 2009 I visited the JAC at its first location. The center was located in a small villa with less than 20 staff members. There, I met with a handful of employees from the JAC and administration staff from the Al-Faisaliya Welfare Society. The atmosphere was full of enthusiasm for the new project, as it was the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia with huge demand. But the plan seemed to be incomplete at that time; it was not fully organized and many questions such as resources, educational system etc. seemed to hang in the air.
This an interview done with me by Erfan Arab, BBC Arabic radio on 27.03.2019 on the release of 3 Saudi women activists.