DEC 2010 ISSUE 44 VOL 5
Dec 2010 Issue 43 Vol 5
ISSUE 44 DEC 2010
PAGE 2 SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN
The heads of the Hajj group missions who participated in the Haj this year have offered bouquets of congratulations to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for the arrangement made during the pilgrimage. “A high degree of professionalism and dedication were demonstrated in all Haj services during the pilgrimage this year,” said the Australian official Haj delegation, Appreciating the king’s efforts for the wonderful Haj services, the member of the Australian Hajj Group said that he prays for the good health of the king and for the prosperity of the Saudi nation. The Australian Pligramges group offered a bouquet of thanks for the quality health care services offered to all pilgrims without any discrimination on the score of their nationalities or color. “By completing a successful Haj, Saudi Arabia has shown that it is a real leader that can look after the welfare of the pilgrims,” Massoud Bakely said that he saw new developments in the holy areas every time he came for Haj. Bakely ,who visited the health facilities in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, said that he was happy to note that advanced health facilities were available for pilgrims and the Saudi Red Crescent played an important role in ferrying the sick pilgrims.” “It was a job well done and our heartiest congratulations on this splendid achievement which was solely due to proper planning and intelligent implementation.”
2 Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5
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Pilgrims setting upon Mount Arafat where they spend the night there in worship
RECORD NUMBER OF HAJJ PILGRIMS
The Australian Hajj mission commends The Kingdom on achieving a successful Hajj this year and honours the authorities’ decision to expand the facilities available to make Hajj safe for the pilgrims. It has been a massive and extremely expensive undertaking, and is still far from finished. So far it has resulted in the now completed Jamrat Bridge and the Mashair overhead railway linking Mina to Arafat. But they have eased the pilgrimage tremendously. There have been, too, the very practical decisions, such as the ban on vehicles carrying less than 25 passengers. The vast number of police officers and volunteers on hand to guide people has been another element in making this a safe and successful pilgrimage. Congratulations are in order for all those involved — to the authorities for their vision of a safe Haj and their willingness to invest heavily and make it a reality; to the police and volunteers for coordinating the pilgrims; and to the pilgrims themselves for their patience, calm and understanding. The improvements made have radically changed matters, so much so that this year the only issue has been the traffic. But while congratulations are in order, this must not be cause for future complacency. That is the sure route to future accidents. There is also more that can be done in other areas. A vital one is communications. Hajj safety depends on the pilgrims, police, volunteers and organizers being able to communicate efficiently with each other.
Prince Naif , the Saudi interior Minister, said, it is reported, that close to 1.8 million pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom, the highest number ever recorded.
This year, Hajj 2010, there was an unprecedented number of pilgrims coming to complete the Holy Pilgrimage, as prescribed by Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them). The General Statistics Department announced that there were officially over 2.7 million pilgrims on Hajj this year, according to a report run by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). This year’s Hajj drew a record 1.8 million foreigners from diverse regions of the world like Nigeria, Russia and Indonesia and the remaining 989,789 were from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most of them residents. This is apart from the illegal pilgrims coming for the Holy journey. This was unlike last year when many pilgrims were kept away over Swine Flu fears. Prince Naif , the Saudi interior Minister, said, it is reported, that close to 1.8 million pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom, the highest number ever recorded. The figure included 977,583 males representing 54 percent of the total, and 822,018 females representing 46 percent of the total of pilgrims. This was an 11 percent increase – 180,746 pilgrims – compared to last year. A total of over 1.6 million pilgrims came by air, 117,363 by land and 12,916 by sea, from 181 countries, reported in the press.
3 Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5
ISSUE 44 DEC 2010
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H.E Ambassador Hassan Nazer and the Hon. Bob Hawke The Saudi Ambassador to Australia His Excellency Mr Hassan Nazer held a meeting with the former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke in the Saudi city of Jeddah in December 2010 . Mr Hawke was accompanied with Kevin Maggie, Australian Ambassador in Saudi Arabia, and members of the Australian- Gulf Council trade mission representing a range of Australia’s leading trade companies and organisations. Ambassador Nazer Said “We discussed potential of investment and economic relations enhancement between the two countries especially in the area of Education and agriculture sector.” The Ambassador Nazer emphasized in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on the importance of strengthening cooperation, economic, trade, cultural and education ties between Australia and the Gulf States The Ambassador stressed on the partnerships between Australia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which progressing and improving at all levels, and call to open new investment channels in many sectors of the economy and increase joint investments in all fields. Ambassador Nazer extended full support of the AGC’s Business Mission to the GCC, Mr Nazer said. “It’s the right initiative at the right time “. The Australian- Gulf Council trade Founded in April 2009 by the former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Peter Costello, who served as Australia’s treasurer from 1996 to 2006, Michael Yabsley, who serves as its chief executive, and Alastair Walton of Australian bankers BKK, the council sees itself as an instrument for facilitating major joint ventures between Australian and GCC corporations and institutions and investment in both directions. The Mission also included 15 leading Australian business representatives from companies including ANZ, Telstra, GPT, Leighton and Competitive Foods. Servcorp, RM Williams, Smec Holdings and NewSat
“It’s the right
also were represented. Future initiative at the business missions to the region are expected to include Bahrain, right time” Oman and Qatar. Ambassador Nazer The chairman of the Australia Gulf Council, Alastair J. M. Walton, said the delegation was pushing investment opportunities in the food and the agricultural industries, real estate, communications, engineering construction and consultancy services. Australia Gulf Council chief executive Michael Yabsley said Australian business representatives on the trip were looking at trade and investment opportunities in the region. “Our belief is that while there is a long-standing and strong relationship, it can be stronger,” he said. “There can be more Australian investment in the Gulf states, and there can be more from the Gulf states in Australia.” During meetings with the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Hawke urged Saudi Arabia to produce more food in Australia. He said there were “enormous”opportunities for food co-operation between the two countries. He also talked up educational opportunities. “Australia is a highly competitive country economically with a quality education system, which means that Saudis wishing to study in Australia can depend on a safe and secure society, quality education of world standards and friendly people,” Mr Hawke said. He did the same at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where the council also pushed for a resumption of talks for a free-trade agreement between Australia and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Kuwait is the biggest importer of live Australian sheep within the GCC. However, Mr Costello said he hoped Australia would expand its trade relations with Kuwait and other GCC states to go beyond the export of live sheep to include other commodities, mining services, construction and engineering expertise, telecommunications and education.
4 Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5
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Minister of Water and Electricity Engineer Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Husayn visited Australia for a business trip to discuss with their officials the aspects of cooperation in the sectors of water, electricity, investments and modern technologies. Al-Husayn and his accompanying delegation were received by Saudi Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand Hassan Nazer at Sydney Airport. In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Al-Husayn said that the visit comes in response to an official invitation from Stephen Robertson, Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. Talks are due to tackle the issue of exchange experiences in the field of water rationalization, development and training of Saudi nationals’ efficiencies and benefit from scientific research related to water resources.
SAUDI’S TO PRODUCE THEIR OWN
FOOD IN AUSTRALIA
Australian lamb and beef are well known to Saudi shoppers. Both are a regular feature in Saudi supermarkets. Likewise, Saudis became well aware of Australia and camels thanks to stories in the Saudi media earlier this year about the Australian government wanting to cull its wild camel population and impassioned calls by some Saudi readers for them to be given a home in the Kingdom. But if former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke has his way, Saudis will get to know a great deal more about produce from Down Under. Hawke wants Saudi Arabia to produce its food in Australia. He issued his appeal in Jeddah at a meeting of the Australia Gulf Business Council and the Jeddah
(From right) H.E Ambassador Hassan Nazer Minister
Abdullah Al-Husayn and Mr. Rida Al Nuzha
Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( JCCI). Despite agriculture being part of the old stereotype of the Australian economy, there were, he said, “enormous” opportunities for food cooperation between the two countries. The combination of Saudi capital with Australian land and experience could answer the Kingdom’s quest for food security. At the Gulf Africa Forum in Riyadh earlier this month, Mozambique and other African nations have also made similar suggestions. It is widely known that in its bid to conserve precious water supplies and reduce grain production by 2016, the Kingdom has been looking at ideas of farming elsewhere. The existing Saudi-Australian food trade is based on the traditional system of Australian producers selling to Saudi importers. The notion of Saudi companies producing food in Australia for the Saudi market would be a novel departure.
5 Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5
ISSUE 44 DEC 2010
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The Kingdom is a strategically important country in the region suitable for promoting mutual commercial interests because of its vibrant economic stability, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke said during a meeting with Saudi businessmen in Riyadh. Hawke, who was heading a 15-member trade delegation to the Saudi capital, made the comments on behalf of his team during an opening speech at the Saudi Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI). Hawke explained that the Australian economy is characterized by its agricultural products and mineral sectors. “You have the capital to invest and we have the capacity and know-how to implement the projects,” Hawke said, adding that this combination would strengthen the existing bilateral trade between the two countries. As Australia’s second largest market in the Middle East, the Kingdom is an important trading partner for Australia. In 2009, Australia’s merchandise exports to Saudi Arabia totaled A$1,724 million, making it Australia’s 17th largest market. Saudi Arabia was Australia’s biggest market for exports of passenger motor vehicles worth A$811 million in 2009. Other major exports were barley, meat products excluding beef, and live animals. In 2009, Saudi Arabia was also Australia’s third largest Middle Eastern market for live sheep, importing over 576,000 heads valued at A$55 million. On May 4, 2005, a memorandum of understanding on the Trade in Live Animals was signed by the Australian agriculture minister together with his Saudi counterpart. The MoU outlined conditions for the trade and includes assurances that livestock (sheep, cattle, goats) will be treated in line with international animal welfare standards. On March 21 2009, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke and his Saudi counterpart signed a joint declaration amending the 2005 MoU to provide further details
on the livestock trade. Hawke and his team members called on Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman and had a detailed discussion with Minister of Commerce and Industry Zainal Alireza on Saturday. The Australian team, which also visited Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, is here on its final leg of its Gulf tour. It will visit Jeddah on Sunday to hold talks with local businessmen in the Western province. “Australia is an important trade partner for members of the GCC. It is ranked ninth in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey and is an attractive investment market,” said Alastair J.M. Walton, chairman of the Australia Gulf Council, adding that the country provides a low risk, cost effective destination for international investors. “It also withstood the recent global economic crisis.” Walton said that his delegation is looking for a variety of areas in different sectors. “We are interested in the food and the agricultural industries, real estates, communications, engineering constructions and consultancy services.” He said that his country has rich expertise in infrastructure developments. He added that Australia could offer its consultancy services for infrastructure developments in the Kingdom, which is estimated to be $190 billion for the coming years.
Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5
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Her Excellency the Governor of New South Wales and president of the University of Sydney, Australia, Professor Marie Bashir, has opened the international Conference in support of Arab Researcher Dr. Amin Rihani. The Conference was held by the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies University and was sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia along with the Ministry of Higher Education. The conference was held in the presence of the Saudi Deputy Ambassador Mr Reda Al Nuzha, Saudi cultural attaché in Australia, Dr. Ali Bishri, various public figures, academic, diplomatic and intellectuals from Australia and around the Arab and Muslim worlds. The Deputy of the Saudi ambassador in Australia, Mr Reda Al Nuzha delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Mr Nuzha talked about the cultural legacy of literature left by Rihani. Also discussing the visit of Rihani to the Arabian peninsula in 1922 and also the meeting Rihani held with the founder of Saudi Arabia, King ‘Abd al-’Aziz ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman Al Sa’ud. The results of this unique trip were six important books
HAWKE CALLS FOR MORE
about the region. Of these books, his most notable were “A note The Kings of Arabia”,” The Modern History of Najd”, and “Ibn Saud: His People and His Land”. In one of Rhiani’s valuable books, “The Kings of Arabia”, which is by many considered to be one of the most beautiful of books of exploration, Ameen Rihani says: “I got to know all the leaders of the Arab World and I did not find among them a greater man than he (Ibn Saud). I am not exaggerating in what I am saying” He is truly great is his open welcome, his smile, his words, and his expressions. He undoubtedly rules his people with benevolence and not through authority.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke called on the Saudi government to send more Saudi students to Australia for higher studies since there is a conducive environment for receiving proper education. Hawke, , made his remarks in Riyadh during the trade mission to Saudi Arabia on December 2010 “Australia is a highly competitive country economically with a quality education system, which means that Saudis wishing to study abroad in Australia can depend on a safe and secure society, quality education of world standards and friendly people,” said Hawke. A large number of Saudi students are choosing to study in Australia, mostly under the King Abdullah Scholarship Program.
(From Right) Dr. Ahmed Shboul, Dr. Hajjar, the Governor General H.E Marie Bashir, Vice-Saudi Ambassador to Australia Mr Reda Alnuzha and Dr Albert Rihani
7 Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5
ISSUE 44 DEC 2010
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Broken Hill’s cultural organisations have been credited with “reviving the Afghans” by a leading Australian Muslim pioneer. The late Mr Kemal Ismen singles out the efforts of Broken Hill in a long awaited historical documentary film which explores the positive contribution Muslim individuals and communities have made to the development of Australia. In recognition of Broken Hill’s long association with the Islamic faith, the documentary “In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Muslims Down Under” will have its premiere screening in the city. The event has attracted national and international attention through the Middle-East based television network, Aljazeera, which broadcasts to more than 220 million households in over 100 countries. As part of the celebrations Broken Hill’s historic “Moslem Mosque”, which was erected in its present form in 1903-04, will be acknowledged and used for a full day of prayer on Friday December 10. According to Broken Hill Mayor, Cr Wincen Cuy, the Broken Hill Mosque continues to attract domestic and international visitors each year. “Australians from five different states and territories have also passed through the historic Mosque at the north end of Williams Street and with more than a century of history behind it the Mosque remains an important part of Broken Hill’s – and the nation’s – heritage. “That is part of the reason why City Council has supported the premiere screening of this documentary with a Mayoral reception,” Mayor Cuy added. Documentary-maker Nada Roude said “The documentary encourages a greater effort in understanding and appreciation of Islam and Muslims where sharing
knowledge, and sharing stories, is one of the most important ways of building a genuine sense of community in Australia,” “It strengthens the belief in fairness, equality and respect, the values we aspire to in Australia. “In the longer timelines of Australian history, Muslim people have a little known story. This documentary seeks to explore the story, in the footsteps of the ancestors,” she continued. Afghan cameleers were among the first Muslims to arrive in Broken Hill in the late 1880s and respected author, Ms Hanifa Deen Oswald, believes their recognition is long overdue. “The Afghan cameleers are what I call the silent pioneers,” Ms Oswald says in the documentary. “They opened up remote areas, they carried water, they carried mail, they carried goods, mining machinery. “Without the camels Australia would not have been able to advance because the bullocks and the horses could just not manage that rough terrain,” she continued. Since World War II Muslims have come from Turkey, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosova, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 340,000 Muslims were counted in Australia in the last Census in 2006 and at least 128,000 have been born here.
Dec 2010 Issue 44 Vol 5