From seafarer to economist: Saeed Lootah, 97, winds up his earthly journey

coastaldigest.com news network
June 29, 2020

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Dubai, Jun 29: Saeed bin Ahmed Al Lootah, a pioneering Emirati businessman and the founder of the world's first Islamic bank, is no more. He breathed his last on June 28.

Born in 1923, Saeed was instrumental in setting up the Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) in 1975 to provide the community with a Sharia-compliant alternative to conventional banking.

He established several companies, organisations and societies, including the Dubai Consumer Cooperative. He also established the Islamic Education School in 1983 and the Dubai Medical College for Girls in 1986.

In 1992, Haj Saeed established the first College of Pharmacology in Dubai. Later he launched the Dubai Centre for Environmental Research, the Dubai Specialised Medical Centre, and the Medical Research Labs for health control and research into medicinal herbs and Islamic (Nabawi) medicine. He also set up an orphanage.

Saeed bin Ahmed Al Lootah was a self-made businessman who progressed from being a seafarer and trader to an accomplished tutor, author, economist, banker, entrepreneur, businessman and visionary community leader.

According to details available on the S.S. Lootah Group website, his "fervent adherence to the core values of education, cooperation and economy" helped empower "people to excel at everything they do".

"He realised the need to build permanent houses and ventured into construction. His 'capital' at that time were his skills, knowledge and hard work," the website said.

He laid the foundation of S.S.Lootah Contracting Company as a joint venture with his brother Sultan in 1956. "With the enduring values of education, cooperation and economy set as the foundations of his work, Haj Saeed started a number of businesses as well as not-for-profit education and research ventures, with an aim to serve the people of the UAE.

"Thanks to his vision and leadership, our home grown ventures continue to demonstrate unique values that extend well beyond its functional benefits - creating greater economic, social and environmental benefits for people in UAE and beyond."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took to Twitter on Sunday to offer his respects.

Sheikh Mohammed said: "He was a trader who started with nothing. His touch is visible in several aspects of the Dubai economy."

Calling the deceased a "wise and smart man", Sheikh Mohammed said: "May Allah bless his soul and grant his family the strength to endure and persevere."

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, also paid his respects. "He combined economic leadership with charitable work. He launched charitable educational institutions and sponsored many orphans. His memory will live on. May Allah have mercy on him and grant his family patience."

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Arab News
January 14,2021

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Dubai, Jan 14: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud accused Iran of spreading havoc in the region, in a joint press conference in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

He further urged Iran to enhance the capabilities of the Iranian people instead of financing militias to destabilize the security of neighboring countries, Al-Arabiya TV reported.

“The Iranian regime must change its philosophy regarding its role in the region,” he said, adding that “the Iranian citizens should be a priority, and when that happens, things will change in the region.”

The Saudi minister also said the Kingdom was pushing towards achieving stability in the region.

He discussed the Kingdom’s success in implementing the Riyadh Agreement in Yemen, alluding to an Iranian role in supplying the Houthis in Yemen with weapons.

The Kingdom supports Washington’s decision to consider the Houthis a terrorist group, he added, noting their attacks on civilian areas in Saudi Arabia

With regards to oil, he said cooperation with Russia contributed to stabilizing oil prices within the OPEC+ system.

The Saudi Foreign Minister stated that his visit to Russia aimed to enhance coordination and cooperation in all fields.
For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said: “Russia welcomes the Al-Ula summit in Saudi Arabia and the agreements that it came out with.”

He said Moscow is interested in stability in the Arab Gulf region. “We support the Saudi position in rejecting foreign interference in the region’s issues,” he added.

Lavrov stressed that Moscow supported “a comprehensive political process in Libya with the participation of all parties,” adding that “We discussed with the Saudi Foreign Minister the crisis in Syria."

He said his country was cooperating with Saudi Arabia in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the stability of the oil market.

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Agencies
January 16,2021

Saudi Arabia to appoint women as court judges 'very soon' | Arab News

Riyadh, Jan 16: Saudi Arabia will soon appoint female judges in a landmark move to empower women, Hind Al-Zahid the undersecretary for women’s empowerment at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, announced on Friday.

Recently, Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani issued directives to appoint 100 women notaries for facilitating judicial services for women.

The ministry also recently appointed many qualified women in the fields of law, Shariah, sociology, administration, and technology in the ministry for the first time.

Justice Ministry has been focusing on female employment within the legal sector as part of its plans to support and empower women, widen their career options, and help them play a bigger role in this sector.

Al-Zahid, speaking to Al-Arabiya TV on Friday, stressed that the government is committed to empowering women.

She pointed out that the rate of Saudi women's participation in the labor market has reached 31 percent, surpassing the target set for 2025, which was at 25 percent.

Regarding the lack of female leaders in the public sector, Al-Zahid attributed that to the late entry of women in many ministries and agencies. She pointed out that the percentage of women leaders in the Ministries of Education and Health is the highest compared to other bodies, and attributed this to the early work of women in these two ministries.

Al-Zahid reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s seriousness in supporting women empowerment, at several levels, to enter the labor market, or remain in the labor market through a supportive environment, equal opportunities, and to reach leadership positions. She added that the neutral international indicators reflected the Kingdom's progress in supporting women's empowerment at all levels.

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Arab News
January 6,2021

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Jeddah, Jan 6: Social media in the Gulf region has been flooded with celebratory joy since news broke that Saudi Arabia had reopened its airspace and land and sea borders with Qatar as part of a deal to end a three-year diplomatic crisis. For many, the story is deeply personal.

On Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the GCC Summit in AlUla that the agreement to mend ties with Qatar underscored the importance of solidarity and security among Gulf, Arab and Muslim states.

A public embrace earlier in the day between the Crown Prince and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at AlUla airport capped the Qatari ruler’s arrival on Saudi soil for the first time since 2017.

For hundreds of separated families, the significance of the reopening of borders and resumption of travel between Saudi Arabia and Qatar cannot be overstated, given the unique social fabric of the Gulf region, with its cross-border ties of marriage and blood.

Videos surfaced on social media showing men, women and children dancing and rejoicing at the easing of the crisis. Many said they were looking forward to reunions in the near future with their loved ones on the other side of the border.

In one video, a Qatari boy could be seen jumping with excitement as he spoke with his father over the phone, exchanging promises of a reunion amid laughter, tears of joy visible on the boy’s face. “Yalla (come on), let’s go” the boy said and the father replied something to the effect: Get ready soon, my son.

Equally euphoric were the sentiments of Ismail Mohammed @soom3a70, a forward for Qatar’s Al-Duhail FC football club. Born and raised in Makkah, the city where his mother still resides, he took to the social-media platform to express his delight with the latest developments. “Good news mom, our get-together is near,” he wrote.

Similar scenes were probably playing out among members of many other families separated since 2017. Sara Abdulhakeem Abdullah, a 22-year-old Saudi who married her Qatari husband in 2018, can now freely travel to the Kingdom.

“I was awakened by my husband late last night with the news of the reopening of borders,” she told Arab News. “Words fail me. It is so hard to put my feelings into words. I had been trying for a long time to find an easy way to go back to Jeddah where my parental family resides.”

Despite the restrictions on air travel within the GCC countries on account of the coronavirus pandemic, last month Abdullah was able to briefly visit her loved ones in Jeddah with the support of her Qatari family. But the journey was circuitous and tiring both for her and her daughter, now a year old.

“Moving from one airport to another, waiting in transit for hours, is not the easiest thing,” she said. “The journey was worth it in the end as I had not seen my father or siblings since getting married.”

As a newlywed who had to adjust to a new life abroad for the first time in her life, Sara said it was not easy being unable to meet up with her parental family. The pain of the separation was even more pronounced during her pregnancy, when she was not sure when her parents and siblings would be able to meet the first granddaughter of the family.

Shortly before her due date, she was united with her mother and youngest sister but the reunion was still short of three family members. Although she was relieved to have them by her side, her joy was short-lived as the two visitors had to return to Saudi Arabia within a month.

“It was the most difficult thing one can ever imagine, a feeling I wouldn’t want anyone to experience. Those first few months of marriage were one thing, but not having my mother around when I needed her was the most difficult,” she said. “But it’s all old news now. The good times are soon to come.”

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