5th anniversary of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque’ allegiance-pledge – 1

History full of achievements that covered all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia managed in its march to maintain Islamic principles, struck balance between development and its tolerant religious values

The fifth anniversary of the Baiah (Pledge of Allegiance) to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah falls on Wednesday. “The Baiah” is the traditional Islamic system of the subjects expressing their approval and welcoming a new ruler.

Since the Pledge of Allegiance on Jamad Al-Thani 26, 1426 (Aug. 1, 2005) the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed enormous achievements in all fields, including education, health, social affairs, transport, communications, industry, electricity, water and agriculture.

Commenting on King Abdullah’s rule in the past five years, Speaker of the Shoura Council Abdullah Al-Asheikh said the past five years have brought a new era of security, stability, national unity and social cohesion combined with progress in all fields.

“History will record that King Abdullah fulfilled his commitment to the citizens when they gave him the Pledge of Allegiance five years ago. His major concern since then has been the welfare of the people of the Kingdom. He visited all parts of the Kingdom to see them in person and learn their needs. He initiated huge projects worth billions for their welfare,” Al-Asheikh said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

Madinah Gov. Prince Abdulaziz bin Majed said King Abdullah has become an influential world leader with his call for dialogue between followers of different religions, cultures and civilizations.

The king issued the call during the third Extraordinary Islamic Summit in Makkah in 2005. The General Assembly of the United Nations held a meeting on inter-religious dialogue in New York in November 2008 at the request of King Abdullah.

At the king's initiative, the World Conference on Dialogue, a first of its kind, was held in Madrid in July 2008.

The launch of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Award for Translation was another instance of the King's efforts to promote understanding between cultures and civilizations. The King attended the opening ceremony of the International Islamic Conference for Dialogue organized by the Muslim World League in Makkah in 2008.

The king approved the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Award for Heritage and Culture as an extension of his noble actions to build bridges of contacts between cultures and civilizations.

The king has been ranked the first among the leaders having the most popular support in the Islamic world and one among top 10 most influential personalities in the world.

As part of his efforts to root out terrorism, the king called for an international anti-terrorism conference in Riyadh in February 2005 and the establishment of an international anti-terrorism center.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza noted the significance of the king’s farsighted initiative to plan huge agricultural investments in order to achieve food safety in the Kingdom. Alireza also commended the king’s move to forge an industrial strategy with the aim of making industry as the leading source of revenue for the Kingdom by 2020. The minister considered the accession of the Kingdom to the World Trade Organization a vital move for the rapid development of the Kingdom’s economy.

The king participated in the G20 Summit in Washington in November 2008 to discuss solutions to the global financial crisis.

The Kingdom has been awarded Prize of Merit from the World Bank in recognition of the steps taken recently in the area of economic reforms.

The Kingdom also figures in the list of the top 10 countries that have undertaken economic reforms. In June 2008 the king opened the Jeddah Energy Conference in which 36 producing and consuming countries participated.

King Abdullah announced the allocation of $500 million in soft loans through Saudi Development Fund for financing projects in developing countries.

He also announced the Kingdom's donation of $1 billion for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip at the Kuwait Economic, Developmental and Social Summit in 2009.

The king made a grant of $500 million to the Lebanese people for the establishment of an international Arab fund for the reconstruction of Lebanon. In the third Paris Conference in January 2007, Saudi Arabia provided Lebanon with aid totaling $1 billion for developmental projects. It also provided a grant of $100 million to the Lebanese government for supporting its general budget.

The Kingdom's budget totaled SR540 billion in the fiscal year 2010, the largest in the Kingdom’ history.

In 2009, the king launched many vital industrial projects.

While the new projects in Jubail Industrial City were worth more than SR54 billion, Yanbu Industrial City received investments totaling SR 45 billion.

With the aim of finding a solution to the acute water shortage in the country, the king approved the establishment of integrated projects for water desalination and electricity generation with a capacity of 550,000 cubic meters of water and 1700MW of electricity at a cost of SR10 billion.

In his quest for clean energy for the country, the king issued an order to establish the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE).

It was the king’s realization that advancement in the science and technology is the key to the country’s real progress that resulted in the founding of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal in September.

Another step the king took in the direction of transforming the Kingdom into a knowledge-based society was to send a large number of students abroad for higher studies. As many as 80,000 men and women have been sent to more than 25 countries under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Foreign Scholarships.

During the king’s rule, 24 government and nine private universities have been established. They provided higher education to some 1 million men and women and employed a teaching staff of 33,000 in 2009-2010. The king also established 34,000 schools for five million students. The schools employ 470,000 male and female teachers.

The king has laid foundation stones of the new universities in Jazan, Najran, Baha, Hail, Northern Border Province, Tabuk and Al-Jouf at a cost of SR5 billion in the first phase of these projects.

In 2009 he approved the establishment of four universities, one each in Al-Dammam, Al-Kharj, Shaqra and Al-Majma'ah. The general budget for the fiscal year 2010-2011 allocated more than SR3 billion for these universities.

With a view to promote women’s education, the king laid the foundation stone for Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University for women in 2008.

Speaking on the Baiah anniversary, President of the Court of Grievances Ibrahim Al-Huqail said the king allocated SR7 billion for the development of the judicial system in the Kingdom.

In 2009, the king was awarded ''Prize of World Champion in the Battle Against Hunger in 2008'' in recognition of his support for UN humanitarian programs and his donation to World Food Program.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh lauded the king’s achievements as a ruler particularly the expansion works, including the expansion of the Jamrat Bridge aimed at the safety of the pilgrims. Al-Asheikh also was impressed by the king’s keenness to help people suffering from calamities across the world, including the Palestinians.

Muhammad Al-Khozaim, deputy president of the Holy Mosque Affairs, said in a press statement that King Abdullah's primary concern was the development of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. The Kingdom has spent more than SR70 billion for the development of the two holy cities in Makkah and Madinah in recent years.

“The most notable of the king’s service to the Haram was the expansion of the Masaa (the running space between Safa and Marwah) to four floors at a total cost of more than SR3 billion so that pilgrims can perform the Haj rites comfortably,” Al-Khozaim said.

Besides the expansion work of the courtyard of the Grand Mosque, he referred to the huge expansion work, including the installation of 182 giant umbrellas, being undertaken at the Prophet’s Mosque.