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Passion Islam I September 2008 ORLD NEWSW I 15
Over three million Umrah
visas issued, says Haj Minister
More than three million Umrah visas have The minister added that the advanced the preparation for Haj. In his statement,
so far been issued during the current technology in telecommunications would the minister rejected the notion that the
year, according to Haj Minister Dr. Fuad Al ensure speedy processing of formalities demolition of several buildings close
Farsi. “Of the three million foreign pilgrims related to Haj, which is in December. to the Haram Mosque has created a
who arrived in the holy city of Makkah “The ministry has taken all necessary shortage of residential facilities. “The
for performing Umrah during the current steps to employ advanced technology number of licenses issued for housing
Umrah season, 2.8 million have returned for smooth conduct of pilgrimage. The pilgrims shows that the demolition of
to their countries after completing their ministry is linked through a network to buildings and hotels for the expansion
religious rituals. The remaining 200,000 the Tawafa organizations and with the project has not negatively affected the
are either in Makkah or Madinah,” he help of networking the time required for number of accommodation available to
said adding the number of those who grouping and other formalities would be pilgrims,” he said adding that licenses for
stay illegally has declined to less than 0.5 cut considerably,” the Haj minister said. pilgrim accommodation in Madinah would
percent this year.” Dr. Al Farsi commended the efforts be issued by the end of September. The
Dr. Al Farsi, who was speaking to of Interior Minister Prince Naif, who is minister also visited nongovernmental
reporters following a tour of the Tawafa also the chairman of the Supreme Haj establishments for pilgrims from Turkey,
organizations in Makkah on Saturday, Committee, and Makkah Governor Prince Europe, America, Australia and Iran. Dr.
attributed the huge crowds in the two holy Khaled Al Faisal, who is the chairman of Al Farsi was briefed on the arrangements
cities to an influx of domestic pilgrims the Central Haj Committee, in overcoming made by these establishments to serve
and those coming from GCC countries. the difficulties faced by Haj officials in pilgrims.
Sheikh Al Sudais to continue
leading prayers at Haram Mosque
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council is on his annual vacation, will
Chairman Sheikh Saleh bin return to Makkah and lead
Homaid, who is also an imam prayers on the first day of
of the Haram Mosque, said Ramadan,” Sheikh Bin Homaid
that Abdul Rahman Al Sudais told Arab News.
was still continuing in his Following the imam’s
position as one of the imams absence for around two months
of the Haram Mosque. from prayers at the Haram
He was denying website Mosque, several websites
postings that said Sheikh Al recently said AlSudais had
Sudais had been dismissed been dismissed by Grand Mufti
from his position. “Sudais, who Abdul Aziz Alu Al Sheikh.
There is nothing called Islamic
terrorism, says India’s foreign minister
Stating that no religion supports terrorism, or society, but against the basic tenets of
India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee humanism.
asserted that he did not believe that there Mukherjee said that the concept of
was anything called Islamic terrorism. nationalism was propagated first in India
“Terrorism believes in nothing but hatred by Swami Vivekananda. “You cannot
and destruction,” Mukherjee said while ignore religion but the question is how one
delivering a lecture on Swami Vivekananda’s uses it, whether to bring people together or
contribution to India’s freedom struggle divide them,” he said adding that Gandhiji’s
at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute daily prayer meetings had a role in bringing
of Culture here. He said the acts of the together the people of the country for the
terrorists were not just against any person freedom struggle against the British rule.
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