ACTION THAT WENT VIRAL: The image of the three workers in a restaurant on a vertical skewer holding a large quantity of shawarma.The Riyadh Municipality clarified the image of the three workers preparing a large quantity of shawarma (grilled chicken meat on large vertical skewers) in unsanitary conditions is that of a restaurant in Turkey and not in the Kingdom.
The image went viral on social media networks raising a lot of concern about the hygiene and sanitation levels in the Kingdom.
The questions however can now be laid to rest following a long investigation by officials from the municipality who identified that the picture was taken in a Turkish restaurant in Turkey and that it had done the rounds of social network sites earlier.
The General Director of the Environmental Health Department in Riyadh, Mohamed Moaamn, confirmed that the captured image is of three workers in a famous restaurant in Turkey, and also confirmed that the picture had previously appeared on Turkish websites.
Moaamn expressed his appreciation toward the residents of the capital for alerting the municipality and reporting the three workers through the emergency hotline number 940.
The Riyadh Municipality had earlier called on all citizens and residents to cooperate with them and to report any information before receiving the picture about three workers preparing shawarma in unhygienic conditions at a restaurant.
The efforts to investigate and confirm the issue represents the municipality’s keenness, as per the instructions of the Mayor of Riyadh Region, Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Mokebel, to provide a safe, healthy environment for the customers in the capital and to seriously address any violation of the health regulations.
- Arab News
Dr. Camad Ali- By Javid Hassan*
Princess Maria Amor Torres, an American philanthropist, has joined expatriates in Saudi Arabia in paying glowing tributes to Dr. Datu Camad Ali, Executive President and founder of SPMUDA, an international NGO from the Philippines, on the occasion of his birthday today (Sunday).
They have also suggested that Dr. Camad Ali, who has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2014, could act as a catalyst for change in today’s globalized village. The way forward, according to them, is through cooperation among Indian and Filipino expatriates in the Kingdom for a common cause.
They point out that SPMUDA, which has a strong base among Saudis and Indian expatriates residing there, could use its contacts in mobilizing the technical and other resources of Indian and Filipino expatriates in the Kingdom. A triangular partnership among Saudi Arabia, India and the Philippines has been proposed for boosting economic cooperation in their mutual benefit. It will also give a booster shot to the ‘Look East’ policy common to both Saudi Arabia and India.
In her tribute, Princess Maria said:”As a family man, I know that his family comes first before anything else because this defines him as a person. I am a living witness that he cares for children equally for his wife that makes him one of the strongest and most respected leaders in the world!”
She continues: “My wish for his birthday is to achieve the mission and vision of SPMUDA and the Royal House of Baloi and to maintain, if not exceed, the present integrity and dignity of this organization globally.”
Describing Dr. Camad Ali as “a world leader”, she said “he is a combination of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and other peace leaders… Like them, his brilliant mind is combined with his golden heart and his love for humanity is immeasurable.”
Princess Maria, who is Founder-President, We Care for Humanity, an NGO based in Los Angeles, said that she deemed it a great honour in “nominating Dr. Datu Camad Ali for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Ali is the founding president of Southern Philippine Muslim and Non-Muslim Unity Development Association, International, one of the largest peace organizations in the world based in the Philippines.”
In her letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee dated February 9, 2014, Princess Maria Amor observed:” In many ways exceeding the challenging requirements and expectations for the award, Dr. Datu Camad Ali’s ambitions, intelligence, and accomplishments complement precisely the stellar community of past recipients and make him highly deserving of the honor and opportunity bestowed by the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Dr. Ali has so much care for the world that he managed to unite more than 2,000 representatives of goodwill and humanity across the globe towards one goal, ‘world peace’. Through his coalition with many other peace organizations and government agencies worldwide, he played important roles in the release of wrongly accused victims and prisoners of wars,” she points out..
In his birth day tributes, Abdul Hannan Tago, Senior Reporter of Arab News in Riyadh, said: “There are emerging noble leaders now from various countries who are dedicating their service for humanity. In the Philippines, we have Datu Camad Ali, the founder chairman of the SPMUDA International.”
He said: “This man happened to be a Muslim in that majority catholic country in Asia. But for him he understands that every human being is created to live equally and has rights to drink, eat and dress as others do on this earth. Camad does not look at the boundaries to prevent him in serving those unfortunate and poor people in the world. He uses his own resources to do so, while living in a very simple and small rented house.”
In this respect, Abdul Hannan notes, Dr Camad Ali stands out in sharp contrast to those given to “selfishness, blind and aggressive love for power and wealth.” He said “people in all continents, without exception, particularly in Asia, Africa and now in the Middle East, have suffered a lot from these individual behaviour in terms of their political agenda, grabbing all possible sources and using even destructive tools” in pursuit of their agenda.
He continues: “They cause not only eliminating their opponents in politics and wealth but also causing much damage to the environment. They don’t care what their equipments do for the health and environment.”
“Some of these elements,” says the journalist, “are using religion or ethnic affiliation for their agenda while looking at other’s belief as hindrance to their way to their main goals. For them, they would sacrifice other inhabitants on this earth if they simply oppose their ambitious agenda.
“Yet, there are very few in this world who would serve humanity and devote themselves for their welfare regardless of their race, color and faith. We had among them who have already passed away, like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi who fought for their people in their respective countries,” Abdul Hannan said, adding that Dr. Camad Ali has been following in their footsteps.
In another tribute, Prof. Mirza Baig, a Canadian professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, described Dr. Camad Ali “as an activist for human rights and peace. But to me he is not only a reformer and but also an environmentalist.”
He said: “Dr. Camad Ali believes in the respect of the human rights in the society and at the work place. He is the greatest admirer of nature and living organisms of the ecosystem. His mission is to ensure that enough food is being produced in a safe environment for every single human being. He has developed a working model for the living and working of all the human beings. He attaches the great importance to the forests and the other natural resources and wants to conserve them for the future generations.”
Prof. Baig concludes: “He is very much concerned over the climate change and helping organizations and the governments to cope with the emerging issues faced by the humanity and human beings.”
According to Syed Ziaur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of Mawiyah Medical Group in Riyadh, the SPMUDA chairman could act as a catalyst for change through his organization, which is well connected with influential Saudis and Indian expatriates. By mobilizing their resources, he could play a useful role in promoting economic development in the Philippines as well as in Saudi Arabia and India by turns.
In this context, Ziaur Rahman said the IT major Wipro, the third largest software exporter from India (which is also present in Saudi Arabia), has decided to set up a development centre in the Philippines.”The centre will employ 1,000 people in the next 18 months,” he quoted Wipro Chairman Azim Premji as saying on the sidelines of Fortune Global Forum held in New Delhi last year.
Besides the IT sector, Zia said Indian companies are also teaming up with their counterparts from the Philippines in construction projects. He referred to the GMR, a publicly traded company from Hyderabad (South India), which has gone into partnership with Philippines-based Megawide Construction Corporation. They landed a $700 million contract for modernizing Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the central Philippines.
In another development in the same context, 17 teams from various Indian colleges and universities participated last month in the annual Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) in the Philippines, where contestants had to design a prototype of fuel-efficient cars. The teams competed in various categories — gasoline, battery electric, diesel, and even hydrogen, the most popular category being gasoline. Seven core members from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology (VIT), Bangalore, for instance, received nearly 250 online applications to help build their energy-efficient car.
Realizing the growth potential in bilateral relations, the Philippine government has made it easier for Indian nationals to enter the country without a visa and stay there up to 14 days so long as they are holders of a valid visa from the European Union or any of six other countries—the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Britain. It may be extended for an additional seven days. The new policy is based on a Department of Foreign Affairs circular issued on March 20, 2013.
It’s an accident of history that India and the Philippines have had no cultural, political or economic relations on the level of other ASEAN member countries. In the wake of the economic boom fuelled by the discovery of oil in the Gulf countries, another turn of history has brought Indians and Filipinos closer at the work place.
Indian and Filipino expatriates, especially in Saudi Arabia, can have a competitive edge over others if they have good communication skills in Arabic, both oral and written. This is where SPMUDA Ambassadors in Saudi Arabia, both Filipinos and Saudis, could create synergy in the mutual interest of Saudi Arabia, India and the Philippines, or SIP countries, in short.
Whether it is investment, manpower supply or transfer of technology, they could come up with projects based on those parameters, enabling the partners to SIP from a regional pool, rich in manpower, technological and economic wealth. It’s an idea whose time has come. It will lend a new momentum to India’s ‘Look East’ policy as well.
*The writer is SPMUDA Ambassador of Goodwill in Bangalore.