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Prince Charles lauds Kingdom's hosting of Hajis

By ARAB NEWS | London | 28 Jan 2012

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the British throne, opened the exhibition of “Haj: Journey to the Heart of Islam” in London’s British Museum Thursday night.

“I wanted to pay tribute, if I may, to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques who, in accordance with Islamic teaching, generously hosts Hajis making the pilgrimage to Makkah, providing remarkable practical and logistic facilities,” Prince Charles said in his inaugural address.

Prince Charles continued, “This recalls the hospitality shown to earlier pilgrims by the families of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), itself following a noble tradition reaching back to Abraham who built the original Kaaba.”

“I am sure you will see that, by gathering together a remarkable collection of treasures from across the world, this exhibition brings to life the very human stories of the countless generations who have completed the Haj through the ages — from Singapore to Istanbul, from Nanjing to Mombasa. Through the vivid images and artifacts on display, the exhibition reveals the truly universal character of the Haj,” he said.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah gave a brief outline of the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to serve pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

“In 1925, the area of the Grand Mosque did not exceed 30,000 sq. meters with a capacity for 100,000 pilgrims. After the expansion of the Grand Mosque by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah the area exceeded one million sq. meters to accommodate more than three million pilgrims,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.

King Abdullah also ordered the expansion of Jamrat stone throwing facility to achieve a capacity of five million pilgrims, Prince Abdul Aziz said in a speech.

“The king also ordered the establishment of the world’s tallest watch tower in Makkah and the holy sites train service to transport more than two million pilgrims in addition to the establishment of King Abdullah Project for Zam Zam Water to ensure the purity of Zam Zam water,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.

“The efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aim at bringing peace to the whole world through the initiatives of the man of peace, King Abdullah, and his humanitarian projects that aim at the service of Haj and the development of the holy sites in Makkah,” Prince Abdul Aziz added.

Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf also attended the opening event.



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