MINA - Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah and advisor to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said that Saudi Arabia is striving to transform Makkah into the first smart city in the Islamic world. Speaking to Al-Arabiya channel, he said that Makkah is open to any Muslim wishing to perform Hajj.

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also chairman of the Central Hajj Committee, said that the Kingdom is making all efforts to serve the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. He appreciated the great efforts of the volunteers and their spirit of enthusiasm and dedication in serving the pilgrims. “With concerted efforts, the Kingdom will reach what satisfies it in terms of the best services for the pilgrims and visitors to the Two Holy Mosques. What satisfies us is difficult to reach, but we are making our maximum efforts to serve the guests of the Two Holy Mosques,” he said while praising God for bestowing on Saudi Arabia the honor of doing this. “Believe me, no country except Saudi Arabia will be able to do this,” he said.

The Makkah emir pointed out that the shifting of government agencies to a unified headquarters outside the Holy Sites has facilitated offering many services in much better manner. “The Makkah development project requires concerted efforts. The Kingdom is more qualified to carry out the development of digital infrastructure, and the work is not easy, and cannot be completed in one year,” he said while noting that there are many interrelated projects in which all Hajj and Umrah service providers have to be participated.

Recalling his experience about Hajj in a younger age, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal said: “What struck most in my memory was the situation when vehicles got stuck in sand while pilgrims descending from Arafat on their way to Muzdalifah to stay overnight there. This was more than 50 years ago, and today the situation has become different and the pilgrims’ movement is taking place easily and smoothly, thanks to the great efforts of the government to construct roads and streets,” he said.

The emir also shed light on his relationship with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, saying: “When King Salman was the emir of Riyadh, I resorted to him in all the problems faced by me, especially in the care of young people, and he always welcomed me and was helpful. And for him I was as if a younger brother,” he added.

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