May 21, 2010

SaudiNewsWeekly

SaudiNewsWeekly
Founded Jan 22, 2004
Published by Alami Consulting
May 21, 2010

The Communications & Information Technology Commission has blocked acontroversial Facebook page that lampoons the Islamic ban on depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

I’m for free speech but not when it comes to religions or depicting The Prophets.

Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah said that women would be employed to teach boys at the public primary school level but that the Kingdom would not introduce mixed classrooms.

I’m convinced that female teachers can do a better job in teaching primary students as they can understand these children better than male teachers.

KSA and the United States signed a cooperation agreement on health affairs last Tuesday.

Is this the beginning of the end?


Saudi Arabia's telecommunications watchdog has ruled out banning the controversial messenger service from BlackBerry.

I don’t own BB, but I appreciate the move.


KSA two human rights bodies have criticized the work of Social Security, saying that many people are being forced instead to turn to their organizations for help.

Its about time somebody had discovered that 20% of Saudis live under poverty line.


Last Tuesday, the first group of Saudi women graduated in fashion design and cosmetics from Jeddah’s High Technical Institute.

Way to go girls! For all men out there don't get too excited, they will only do women.


All segments of society should join hands to fight the dangers of smoking, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Othaim, Chairman of the Tobacco and Narcotics Combat Charity Society (Kafa), said.

I wish this announcement is also placed inside our airports.


Madina Police chief Awad Al-Sarhani has said that expatriates are not responsible for the increase in crime and suggested that claims blaming foreigners are exaggerated.

This is a huge step forward in appreciating expatriates.


The Saudi government has approved 652 contracts valued at SR40 billion ($10.67 billion) during the first four months of 2010, said Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance last week.

For some reason, and after having lived through Jeddah and Riyadh flooding, I have little faith in these figures.


Prince Andrew, Duke of York, met with Saudi students at the British Council in Riyadh.

Yes, he attended an English language session on football to discuss World Cup and Olympics 2012.


The Shoura Council heard Sunday a request from member Abdul Rahman Al-Anad for women to be allowed to vote in the next municipal elections.

Finally somebody saw the light at the end of the ‘barrel”.


Life goes on….

Abdullah Al Alami


May 3, 2010

A picture worth more than a thousand words

A picture worth more than a thousand words

Saudi Arabia’s civil society is extremely delighted with the way newspapers treated the photograph showing Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan with women participants of the April 8-10 National Dialogue Forum in Najran. (AN photo)

By SIRAJ WAHAB | ARAB NEWS

Published: May 3, 2010 00:50 Updated: May 3, 2010 00:50

ALKHOBAR: The old saying goes “one picture is worth a thousand words.” Most of Saudi Arabia’s Arabic newspapers carried a photograph on last Friday’s front-page that has become a talking point on blogs, Internet forums, shisha cafes, newsrooms and the corridors of power.

The photo shows Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan proudly standing among more than 35 Saudi women from across the nation who voiced their views during the April 8-10 National Dialogue Forum in Najran.

Many of the women are beaming with pride over the honor of being asked to stand with the Kingdom’s rulers. Many people are saying the photo has a symbolic message for the nation that the time has come for women to be recognized.

The women participants of the forum’s session in Najran traveled to the Royal Court in Riyadh on April 25 to meet the king and the crown prince to brief them about the discussions. At the end of the meeting, a group picture was taken by the royal photographer. That was that.

Three days ago, all the women in the picture got a pleasant surprise when they received an official copy of what has now become a famous picture. It was then that the newspapers printed it and highlighted the reactions of the women.

For women at large, there was no great deal about the photograph. “It was not surprising at all,” said Saudi poet Nimah Nawwab. “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah made women part of the civil society delegation to India during his 2006 visit to that country. That picture was also prominently displayed in our media.”

Manal Faisal Alsharief, who heads the women’s section at the Jeddah-based Okaz newspaper, which also published the photo on its front page, said the publication of this and other such photographs indicate that women are being recognized as partners in the progress of this great nation. “Slowly and surely, their contributions are being recognized. And so naturally, we are happy.”

Economic researcher and writer Abdullah Al-Alami was among those who were extremely delighted with the way newspapers treated the photograph. “I saw it in Okaz first, and then I wrote to some of the women in the picture congratulating them. They were obviously very excited about it,” he said. “I was happy for them as Saudi women have been oppressed and humiliated enough in the past, and it is about time to recognize their achievements.”

About the significance of the photo at a time when there is so much talk about gender mixing (ikhtilat) in the local press, Al-Alami said: “We are going through a critical phase of transformation. Saudi women are becoming more involved in public affairs. The message here is to tell the Saudi woman that you are not helpless and that you are not alone.”

He said this was not the first time such a photograph has been published. “No, there were many other occasions in the past when King Abdullah’s picture greeting women were published. In fact, I presented a study of King Abdullah’s efforts in the development of Saudi women in my lectures at the Jeddah chamber and in Bahrain a few years ago where I showed the significant relationship between the king and his aim to promote Saudi women.”

The king has always stressed the importance of consensus building on this important issue through the National Dialogue. If blogs, Internet forums, shisha places and newsrooms are any indication, perhaps the nation has already got the message.