THE REMARKABLE HAJJ INITIATIVES: A SOURCE O PRIDE
DR IBRAHIM ALMUTRIF
The success of the 1444 Hajj came as a natural result of the efforts made by the State under the direct guidance and follow-up by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, with great care and unlimited services, which facilitated the pilgrims performance of their rituals in a spiritual scene, in which the value of our Islamic religion was manifested .
Simultaneously, the success came as a result of the harnessing of the necessary various capabilities including multiple material and human aspects, not to mention the harvest of the relevant government sector’s planning and hard work throughout the year, in preparation for the great spiritual islamic event.
It is a service that the Kingdom has been proudly performing since the era of the founder, King Abdulaziz, may God have mercy on him, with the aim of providing a convenient and peaceful environment that enables pilgrims to perform their rituals according to the highest possible services that reached the distinguished standards that the pilgrims see, feel and touch. Standards that all, far and near, know about today .
The management of transportation and crowds during the Hajj rite takes place within a limited area and during a specific time, as such, it represents a unique global experience. One that is not repeated around the world. One that is unique to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .
In this connection, the kingdom’s Directorate of Public Security confirmed the full readiness of the security, traffic as well as the organizational plans of the Ministry of Interior. The plans represent an effort to confront everything that affects the security and prevent any actions affecting the safety of the pilgrims. The Hajj security forces have intensified their security presence to ensure the speedy monitoring of all types of security situations and the rapid response with appropriate measures. Additionally, preventive measures were taken to combat crime, pickpocketing and any negative phenomena that affect the security and safety of pilgrims.
In relation to this issue, and in an effort to publicize its plans and programs prepared for this year, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah presented during the “Hajj Expo” the role that will be played by the ministry’s “comprehensive” system prepared for the promotion of pilgrims, the planning and organizing of the movement of crowds using the smart card and cameras that will be following and reading human flows .
The management of the Hajj crowds is the role played by the “Facilities Security” sector in the Ministry of the Interior, which performed a distinguished role in managing and organizing the human gatherings, preserving the security and safety of pilgrims and protecting them from the risks resulting from overcrowding. Actual implementation of the “facilities security” plans proved the fact that there has been a systematic planning and supervision of those crowds with marvelous care.
After all, the Hajj crowds represent a unique challenge. It is one of a kind. It is unparalleled in the world. Only the Saudis are experiencing it and are experienced in dealing with it, with a mobilization and capabilities and efforts that are second to none. The Saudis have done it for years providing what would guarantee the highest levels of safety and security for the pilgrims .
The Hajj security forces had announced the completion of their readiness in an integration process which included all participating security sectors to manage and organize the movement of the crowds and pedestrians in the outer areas surrounding the stations of the holy sites as well as the Haramain train.
On the question of safety and security, His Royal Highness the Minister of Interior, the Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Hajj, confirmed that, since the beginning of the arrival of the pilgrims to Makkah , no situation disturbing the peace of the pilgrims has been recorded, and that the Hajj security forces are performing their responsibilities as they should in implementing security plans that help facilitate the pilgrims return to their homelands with ease and tranquility.
A credit ought to be given to the “Makkah Road Initiative”, one of the initiatives of the Saudi Ministry of Interior. It is Saudi Vision 2030 program aimed at serving the benefiting pilgrims by providing high-quality services resulting in the completion of their Hajj procedures within their own countries. The procedures begin with the issuing of the visa electronically, going through the completion of the passport procedures at the airport of the country of departure, after verifying the availability of health requirements. In addition to coding and sorting the luggage according to the transportation and housing arrangements in the Kingdom. Upon their arrival, the pilgrims are transferred directly to buses to take them to their residence with designated lanes, while the service agencies deliver their luggage to their residence .
With regard to the services provided by the Ministry of Health to pilgrims, according to the information published by the Ministry on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the Ministry provided services to approximately 111,761 pilgrims, including 48 open-heart surgeries, 1446 dialysis operations, and 776 cardiac catheterization operations .
Meanwhile, in an effort to facilitate the tasks of covering Hajj for media professionals from all over the world, the Saudi Ministry of Information launched the virtual media center accompanying the Hajj season. The launch of the virtual center comes with the aim of supporting the integration of the Hajj media efforts .
The virtual media center works as an electronic platform that provides media services to a number of official government agencies by uploading news materials, photos and videos in high quality, for the benefit of about 900 media professionals registered in the platform, representing a number of news agencies, newspapers and international and local channels. The center enables journalists to virtually attend press conferences accompanying the Hajj season, which are broadcasted live in several languages .
On the other hand, the Saudi News Agency has been able, through four unique strategic partnerships, to transmit the Hajj season and document its various aspects in fifteen languages, in a service to the websites of news agencies and their various means and official platforms, through an integrated news work for the Hajj season and its rituals .
In a sublime tweet from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdelaziz on the occasion, he said, “In Hajj, we draw inspiration from the meanings of solidarity, brotherhood and unity that are embodied in the scene of the pilgrims of the Sacred House of God. May God accept their Hajj and bring good and prosperity to our country, to the Muslims and to the world.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a speech on this occasion, “on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, we congratulate you, the citizens, the residents and pilgrims on the blessed Eid Al-Adha.”
In conclusion, and based on the “premise” that God does not thank those who do not thank people, I find it necessary to thank our wise leadership and its government, represented by the various sectors that participated in supporting the Hajj efforts and assisting the pilgrims in performing their rituals with ease and tranquility . May God keep our leaders, country and people safe and secure.