MAKKAH: The Al-Jabal and Alkan mountains in the province of Tabuk in Saudi Arabia’s northwest are blanketed in snow, ready to welcome the new year; Citizens still await an increased snowfall, which is expected in the coming days, according to weather observers.
Tourists look forward to the anticipated snowfall, to prepare and camp in Tabuk’s snow areas before the increase in snow levels, in conjunction with the report on weather conditions by the General Authority of Meteorology.
Fahd Al-Tarfawi, a Saudi photographer who did not miss this occasion, told Arab News that he rushed to the snow areas on Sunday and started documenting the snowfall. He noted that he still awaits the larger amounts of snowfall, describing the current condition as “the start” that cannot be overlooked.
Tourist guide Ahmed Al-Omrani explained to Arab News that snow began to fall on Sunday morning, however, it has not reached the usual levels. He ascertained that snow has started to cover the Alkan region, which is blanketed in snow at these times every year, in addition to the famous Jabal Al-Lawz area. He noted that taking photos is only allowed in Alkan at the moment, due to NEOM’s major tourism development operations there.
He added that Alkan is a tourist area par excellence; It is a flat and leveled land where snow falls more than once a year, therefore, it is a tourist destination for all Saudi Arabia’s citizens, as well as the GCC and some Arab countries’ nationals who are attracted by Tabuk, notably during the anticipated snowfall.
Al-Omrani stated that Europeans select this area, given its weather conditions’ resemblance to European countries, Canada, and the USA, and in the same context, he noted that due to his work as a tourist guide, groups from the Gulf look forward to visiting Tabuk in such weather every year, as they are captivated by the snowfall and breathtaking nature.
He said that those groups book their tickets around this time and in January, to enjoy this exceptional atmosphere that Saudis love as well, adding that the successful NEOM projects and The Line inspire stories of the Saudi Vision’s success.
Visitors camp there early before snowfall is announced by meteorological reports, and prepare one night earlier to welcome and photograph snowfall and enjoy the experience, Al-Omrani added.
He noted that tourism projects started with Trojena through ice machines, to produce snow and make it a ski area for as long as possible; Temperatures there do not exceed 25 degrees Celsius in the peak of summer. Alkan area, which is situated around half an hour from Jabal Al-Lawz by car, is also a promising region for tourism projects between water, land, and snow projects.
Nawal Al-Atwi from Tabuk said that the region is an attractive tourism region, where temperatures fall below zero in winter and are moderate and mild in winter. She added that in winter, snow falls in Al-Lawz and Alkan mountains, attracting people from all over the Gulf every year.
She noted that the breathtaking scenes give tourists the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional experience, with Tabuk’s European features and uncharted territory for Saudis; Tourists look forward to winter tourism and the white season, with families flocking to these vast captivating areas.
RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia have issued a weather alert covering most regions of the Kingdom until Friday, warning of high winds and dust storms, thunderstorms of varying intensity, snow, drops in temperature and frost, and rising tides, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
Surface winds were expected to reach speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour and could cause dust storms resulting in little or no visibility in parts of Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders Region, Hail, Al-Qassim, the Eastern Province, Riyadh, Makkah and Madinah. Tides could rise in those areas, reaching more than 2.5 meters.
Moderate to heavy thunderstorms, accompanied by torrential rain and hail were expected on Wednesday in the regions of Tabuk (affecting Tabuk, Haql, Al-Wajh, Duba, Umluj, Neom, Sharma and Taima), the Northern Borders Region (Rafha, Arar and Turaif), Al-Jawf (Sakaka, Dumat Al-Jandal, Al-Qurayyat and Tabarjal), the Eastern Province (Hafar Al-Batin, Al-Khafji, Al-Nairyah and Al-Olaya village), and most parts of Hail and Al-Qassim.
Light to medium rain was forecast for Wednesday in Makkah Province (including Makkah city, Jeddah, Rabigh, Taif, Jamum, Al-Kamil, Khulais and Bahra), Madinah (Ais, Badr, Yanbu, AlUla, Khaybar Madinah, Al-Mahd, Wadi Al-Fara and Al-Hanakiya), the Eastern Province (Qatif, Dammam, Dhahran, Al-Khobar, Abqaiq and Al-Ahsa) and Riyadh (the capital, Al-Kharj, Al-Muzahimiyah, Al-Quwayiyah Al-Majma’ah, Al-Zulfi, Al-Ghat, Shaqra, Ramah, Al-Dawadmi and Afif).
Forecasters said there was a chance of snow on Wednesday on peaks in Tabuk region (at Jabal Al-Lawz, Alaqan, Al-Dhuhr), and temperatures would drop from Wednesday in the regions of Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders, Hail and the north of Madinah. Minimum temperatures were expected to reach between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius, with a chance of frost in some areas. In Al-Qassim, Riyadh and the north of the Eastern Province, temperatures were expected to fall to between 4 and 7 C from Thursday.
The National Center for Meteorology advised the public to check official channels for updates to the forecasts, and urged them to follow any instructions from authorities.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Pakistani President Arif Alvi over victims of the terrorist attack at a mosque in Peshawar that killed 100 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.
“We strongly condemn this criminal act and we send to your excellency, the families of the deceased and the Pakistani people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said, wishing the injured a speedy recovery and affirming the Kingdom’s stand with Pakistan.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to President Alvi.
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a highly fortified security compound in Peshawar on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks targeting police.
Police said the attacker appeared to have passed through several barricades manned by security forces to get into the Red Zone compound that houses police and counter-terrorism offices in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
A police chief said Tuesday that the blast was a targeted revenge attack.
RIYADH: FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Tuesday visited the “Saudi House” in the Bahraini capital, Manama, which is hosting the 33rd Asian Football Confederation Congress that began on Monday and will continue until Wednesday evening, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
#Saudi2027 has a great vision that will help develop football throughout Asia.”
@FIFAcom President Gianni Infantino during his visit to #SaudiHouse in Bahrain#ForwardForAsia pic.twitter.com/O4l2Slzg9H
Infantino toured the “Saudi House” and was briefed on the most pillars of the Kingdom’s hosting of the 19th Asian Cup, under the slogan “Forward for Asia.”
Infantino was given a briefing on the stadiums proposed to host games and the Saudi national team’s history in the Asian Cup, including the Green Falcons winning the championship three times in 1984, 1988, and 1996.
#SaudiHouse in Bahrain – Day 2
We continue to welcome delegations of the #AFCCongress2023, where we share with our guests the experience of #Saudi2027 #ForwardForAsia pic.twitter.com/zgW9szpPY0
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a royal order promoting 148 members of the Public Prosecution in various ranks, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib praised the order, and said that it comes within the framework of the support provided by the king and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the Public Prosecution and their constant keenness to achieve further development and prosperity, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation convened an open-ended extraordinary meeting of its executive committee at its headquarters in Jeddah on Tuesday.
The meeting was held to express the organization’s common stance against the recent desecration of the Holy Qur’an in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark as well as to discuss possible actions that the OIC might take against the perpetrators of the Islamophobic attacks.
The incidents occurred earlier this month, when Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, received permission from the police to stage a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, where on Jan. 21 he burned the Qur’an. Days later, Edwin Wagensveld, Dutch leader of the far-right Pegida movement in the Netherlands, tore pages out of a copy of the Qur’an near the Dutch Parliament and stomped on them.
In response, several regional and international organizations, including the OIC, issued statements strongly denouncing the incident.
During the meeting, Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, Saudi representative to the OIC, said that the Kingdom strongly condemns the desecration of the Qur’an, which urges love, goodness, justice and equality.
The incidents occurred earlier this month, when Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, received permission from the police to stage a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, where on Jan. 21 he burned the Qur’an. Days later, Edwin Wagensveld, Dutch leader of the far-right Pegida movement in the Netherlands, tore pages out of a copy of the Qur’an near the Dutch parliament and stomped on them.
The Kingdom rejects all extremism and hatred, he added, and instead calls for the dissemination of Islamic values based on dialogue and coexistence.
“These despicable acts blatantly contradict the human, moral and religious principles and values of all nations who respect peace and coexistence. The repetition of the action raises many questions about the complacency of some governments in curbing the phenomenon of Islamophobia and their failure to take the necessary measures to stop provocations and punish the perpetrators under the pretext of freedom of expression,” he said.
Islamophobia is defined as the fear or hatred of Islam, which often translates into intolerant gestures, deliberate discrimination and outright attacks against Muslims.
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha said that these actions are not simply irresponsible but rather criminal acts targeting Muslims. “The governments concerned must take strict punitive measures, especially given the frequency of such provocative acts by the same people,” he said.
“The outrageous actions…are further evidence of the alarming levels reached by the phenomenon of Islamophobia, hate crimes, intolerance and xenophobia.
“This makes us believe that we must take urgent measures to prevent the recurrence of such provocative incidents in the future.”
Taha said that a strong message must be sent to all governments, institutions and individuals to clarify that these actions are not justifiable under freedom of expression. He highlighted that many international laws, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, clearly stipulate that freedom of expression is not an unlimited right, as it involves special duties and responsibilities.
Mehmet Metin Eker, the permanent representative of Turkey to OIC, said that Turkey strongly condemns the recent aggressions against the Holy Qur’an.
“Unfortunately, the failure of the Swedish authorities to take the necessary precautions against the attack on the Holy Qur’an on Jan. 21 has encouraged several attacks in the Netherlands and Denmark afterward. We also expect the Swedish, Dutch and Danish authorities to take the necessary measures against the perpetrators of these hate crimes,” he said.
Hatred against Islam has reached an alarming level in many parts of the world, particularly in Europe, he said, citing statistics related to violent, Islamophobic acts by European activists since 2019.
“We observe with great concern, how far-right politicians use anti-Islam and xenophobic rhetoric…Resorting to such populism paves the way for racist attacks against Muslims,” Eker said, referencing the massacre in New Zealand in 2019, in which 51 Muslims were killed in a terrorist attack on two mosques.
Eker added: “In this context, an important measure to be taken within the OIC, we think, is to strengthen the Islamophobia observatory in order to more efficiently engage with international partners, as well as better follow-up efforts in Western countries to confront rising Islamophobia.”
The OIC condemns attempts to spread ideas that mock, insult or defame holy books, symbols, and sacred figures of any religion. The organization will work to raise concerns whenever the Holy Qur’an is violated or the sacred figures of Islam are insulted with the intention of inciting hatred against the religion or its followers.