Saudi Arabia appoints women in senior positions at Grand Mosque and Prophet's Mosque

Kingdom continues Hajj preparations with citizens allowed to rent out homes to pilgrims

Saudi police officers Samar, Alaa, and Bashair in front of the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in July 2021. AP
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Saudi Arabia has employed 34 women in senior positions at Makkah's Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al Sudais, the president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, announced the appointments both in his organisation and the Agency for Women's Affairs of the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.

Authorities said the decision was part of “qualitative shifts” for Saudi women at the two agencies.

New housing options for pilgrims

The kingdom is allowing citizens to rent out homes to pilgrims during Hajj this year.

The Pilgrims’ Housing Committee at Makkah Mayoralty on Monday announced that it has started receiving requests to operate Airbnb-style property rentals.

Saudi citizens interested in renting out homes should contact designated engineering offices to be issued a permit, the committee said.

The offices are accredited by Makkah Mayoralty and the General Directorate of Civil Defence to inspect house and issue fitness certificates.

A project to offer 48 smart services to Hajj pilgrims has also been completed, Mr Al Sudais said.

Dr Mohammed Khandwani, a Hajj tour operator, told The National said government planning was under way to make this year's pilgrimage “a more comfortable experience”.

A seminar that took place on Sunday at Umm Al Qura University was “part of the valuable efforts” of the Saudi authorities, he said.

As of January 10, authorities also reduced the price of health insurance for pilgrims by more than half, from 235 riyals to 87 riyals.

Updated: January 24, 2023, 11:01 AM