The Higher Judiciary Council has announced that the Day of Standing at Arafah will be on Monday, February 10, 2003, and the first day of Eid Al-Adha will be Tuesday February 11, 2003.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information reported yesterday that all arrangements have been completed for receiving the media delegations for extensive coverage of this year's Hajj, including field visits to inspect the great expansion carried out at the holy sites as well as the facilities extended in the service of the pilgrims. Saudi Radio has prepared programs on Hajj, to be transmitted on a number of channels, and in various languages, including English, French, Urdu, Indonesian, Turkish, Persian, Swahili, Bengali, Somali and Turkistani. Information sheets and booklets on religious awareness are being distributed from 300 outlets in a number of languages from January 19 through February 21. Over one million pilgrims from overseas have already arrived in the Kingdom, 91,647 by land, 14,796 by sea, and the rest by air.
Yesterday, the Third Makkah Conference on 'Islam and Civilization' opened under the auspices of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL). The participants will review a number of topics including the principles of Islam regarding international relations, the relations of Muslims with others, and peaceful means of settling disputes. MWL Secretary-General Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki commented that the conference comes at a time when Islam is accused of supporting terrorism and extremism, and pointed out that Islam attaches great attention to Muslims' relations with others and to the rights of non-Muslims. "Islam", he reiterated, "is a religion of mercy, cooperation, peace and security, and not of disputes and conflict."