Monday, November 23, 2009


Badea Abu Al-Naja & Hamid Al-Sulami

PREPAREDNESS: Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif along with Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and top officials watches a security parade in Mina on Sunday. (AN photo by Ahmed Hashad)

MINA: Saudi Arabia will not allow anybody to undermine the security of the annual pilgrimage, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif declared Sunday.

He said about 100,000 men have been deployed in Makkah and other holy sites to ensure the security of pilgrims.

Addressing a press conference after inspecting arrangements and facilities for this year’s Haj operation, Prince Naif said those who tamper with Haj security would be dealt with an iron fist.

“We have not demanded any special pledge from any group,” Prince Naif said when a reporter asked him whether Saudi Arabia had asked assurances from Iranian pilgrims that they would not engage in any activity that disturbs Haj security.

“However, everybody knows that we reject anything that violates the sanctity of the occasion and this place and everybody knows that we deal with those who tamper with Haj security with total force and resolve.

“But we hope that no such things would happen during this Haj season and we appreciate what we heard from some (Iranian) pilgrims, respecting the Kingdom’s Haj measures. At the same time, we will not show any leniency with regard to Haj security,” the minister said.

Speaking about Yemeni infiltrators, Prince Naif said the Saudi forces are capable of protecting the Kingdom’s borders. “We’ll defend every inch of our country.”

He said the deployment of a large number of officers on Haj duty would not affect security in other parts of the Kingdom.

He added Saudi Arabia has the capability to organize Haj, the largest gathering of Muslims in the world, and urged Muslim countries to educate their pilgrims before they come for Haj. He praised Malaysia for setting a good example in this respect.

The press conference, which was held at the camp of emergency forces in Arafat, was attended by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Prince Muhammad bin Naif, assistant interior minister for security affairs, other ministers and top officials.

“The Saudi government has mobilized its resources in the service of all pilgrims without exception,” Prince Naif said.

Referring to Iranian pilgrims’ plan to hold a special program during Haj, Prince Naif said, “Such activities violate the sanctity of Haj and we hope we will not find ourselves confronting them. They are not allowed to create any new ritual, which is not part of the basic Haj duties.”

The second deputy premier also spoke about the measures taken by the government to ensure the health of pilgrims following the spread of swine flu pandemic.

He said every year the Kingdom arrests a large number of infiltrators and overstayers, adding that they are sent back to their respective countries. “The number of such illegals increase during the Haj season,” he said.

He did not rule out coordination between the Yemeni infiltrators and Al-Qaeda terror network. He described the infiltrators as Khawarij (“those who leave the group”) because they kill people and tarnish the image of Islam. He called for greater cooperation between countries to defeat terrorists.

He said the Kingdom would not allow any group to use its territory to attack other countries. “Saudi Arabia is the most targeted country in the world by terrorists,” Prince Naif said, adding that Saudi security forces were successful in foiling many terror attacks.

Prince Naif urged the Ministry of Labor to adopt quick measures for the employment of Saudi graduates. He also urged universities to revise their academic programs in accordance with labor market requirements. - ARAB NEWS.

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