Proud to serve the two holy mosques


EVER since the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by its founder King Abdul Aziz, the major focus in the vision and the mission for building the Saudi nation by successive kings was the care of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. The Kingdom is proud to be the custodian and care taker of the two holy mosques.

There is nothing that brings joy to our hearts than to see the millions of pilgrims every year coming to the Kingdom to perform Haj and Umrah. The government, under a direct supervision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, and his brothers before him, cares for the safety and comfort of the guests of the two holy mosques. Billions of riyals is spent every year to ensure a smooth pilgrimage for all visitors while mobilizing all government departments to join forces and serve pilgrims and visitors for a streamlined Haj and a comfortable Umrah throughout the year.

It is indeed a beautiful sight to see the security forces watching over the pilgrims and guiding them to their destinations and helping those in need. Tens of thousands of security officials are working around the clock, tirelessly and sleeplessly, to ensure that no harm comes the way of visitors and pilgrims — be it during Haj or Umrah. The same hand that is extended to pilgrims and visitors for hospitality and welcome will turn into an iron fist against terrorists and those who want to harm the guests of Allah.

Over the years, pilgrims have been praising the Kingdom’s efforts in making the pilgrimage — both the Haj and the Umrah — safe and comfortable by enhancing the services offered and with the continuous expansion plans of the two holy mosques. That the pilgrims repeatedly laud the Kingdom’s efforts and the ease of performing the pilgrimage is testimony enough of the constant care and thought given to the pilgrims.

It is, however, sad to see that from time to time there is an organized campaign against the Kingdom, and a bid to damage its reputation, by painting a fake image that the Kingdom is incapable of caring and managing the two holy sites, calling for an international control over the two holy sites — of what they call a ‘shared control’. This campaign is intensifying, especially in social media, with a call to ‘liberate’ the two holy sites. Liberate it from whom? Are the two holy mosques occupied? The government is the ‘custodian’ and ‘care takers’, not ‘owners’.

Whatever claim these haters of Saudi Arabia come up against the Kingdom, can make me only laugh about their tireless and pointless efforts to damage the Kingdom’s image. Would billions of riyals be spent on the expansion of the two holy mosques so it would make it easy for pilgrims and visitors if the government were not a vigilant and diligent caretaker? Would all these facilities and infrastructure be available for pilgrims for free if the government was not focused on the care and comfort of pilgrims? Would an expensive health care service be provided for free for pilgrims and expensive surgeries done free of charge for pilgrims if the government was not a benevolent caretaker, whose main aim is to care for the pilgrims and the two holy mosques?

Are these haters blind that they do not see all the services and care by the government toward the pilgrims? Do they not see the care in the regular maintenance of the two holy mosques? Do they not see or read the universal praise offered by the pilgrims, who glory in the visit to the House of Allah, after their pilgrimage? The haters seize on anything, even if it is false, to further their hate against the Kingdom.

One such case was that of a man, who posted over social media, the claim that the government is searching for treasures that was hidden underneath the Holy Kaaba, but in reality what he saw was the Zamzam construction project that is taking place inside the Tawaf area. While another post saw a man claiming that he was banned from performing Tawaf by security officials and was crying injustice. This man did not know that the Grand Mosque authority had limited Tawaf to only those who are wearing Ihram because of the limited space for Tawaf following the current project. Anyone not wearing Ihram is more than welcome to perform Tawaf in the first and second floors.

These are just two simple examples out of many accusations that are making the rounds in the social media with the sole purpose of only damaging the reputation of the authorities and the country. The posters of such news do not even take time to ascertain the facts before making it viral, and also not considering the consequence of their actions. For they are providing ammunitions to the detractors, despite the fact that the news is fake.

Any constructive criticism is more than welcome if in the end it is for improving the services provided. Every year, at the end of Haj or Umrah season, the authorities gather and collect all the data and analyze it for any shortcomings and issues and then find solutions to improve them so the following year the service is further improved. Baseless criticism is always ignored for Saudi Arabia is used to such unjustified criticism and unnecessary attacks, and the country will not pay any heed to them. To haters we say, save your energy and turn it into something that is constructive for your own people and country.

In conclusion, I call here again for the rich people and businessmen in Muslim countries to help the poor in their own countries to perform Haj and Umrah and to make their dream, of coming to the holy sites, come true.

— The writer can be reached at Twitter: @anajeddawi_eng