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Saudi Gazette, Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kingdom

Meet the six Saudis

on Qatif’s graffiti

‘HIT LIST’

By Hassan Al Mustafa

S

IX Saudi personalities have

been made a target after a

graffiti marking them was

found in the Eastern Prov-

ince governorate of Qatif.

Sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar, Nabih

Al-Ibrahim, Ahmed Mshikhs, Moham-

med Al-Turki, Sukina Meshekhis and

Waleed Sulais were personally identi-

fied in what appears as a hit list call-

ing them “traitors and spies”.

There has been a rise of voices

rejecting the extremist acts carried

out by the militants in Qatif, espe-

cially after the assassination attempt

on former municipal council member

Nabih Al-Ibrahim. This act has been

a major blow to the militants in Qatif,

which represent a drop in their legiti-

macy.

This has been evident after major

Shiites scholars and community lead-

ers have voiced their condemnation

against violent acts to achieve any

goals. Some argue these militants

have been using those exact figures in

the past as a religious cover for their

extremist actions.

The latest graffiti list is a clear

indication of the militants’ fear that

the province’s people might start sid-

ing with the communities’ popular

figures and that it might spell a rebel-

lion against them.

Sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar

Sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar is considered

one of the most prominent Shiite

scholar from Qatif, Saudi Arabia. Last

year, he publicly condemned attacks

on Saudi police and said the acts

“do not represent the true values of

people from the province”.

Nabih Al-Ibrahim

Nabih Al-Ibrahim is a civil engineer

who ran and was elected as one of

Qatif governorate’s municipal council

representatives. He survived an as-

sassination attempt last March for his

social activities to resolve unrest in

the district of Mousawarah in Awami-

yah. He has been an ardent opponent

of use of violence in the region and

has appeared on major Saudi chan-

nels and networks condemning mili-

tants who perpetuate them.

Ahmed Mshikhs

Ahmed Mshikhs is a Saudi activist

married to the daughter of Sheikh

Hassan Al-Saffar, Qatif’s most promi-

nent Shiite scholar. He was one of the

most outspoken on Twitter immedi-

ately after news of Nabih Al-Ibrahim’s

assassination attempt, creating one

of the first hashtags condemning ter-

rorism in Qatif. “There is not white or

black terrorism. Terrorism is terror-

ism. Standing against all its form is a

duty to our community and country

as a whole,” he said at the time.

Mohammed Al-Turki

Mohammed Al-Turki is a prominent

journalist from Qatif who wrote the

column “My screams before the final

bullet” condemning the assassina-

tion attempt on Nabih Al-Ibrahim.

“We stand against those abusers who

robbed us of our freedom, the small-

est of which is our freedom of opin-

ion,” he wrote in the column, calling

out the militants who tried to take

Al-Ibrahim’s life.

Sukina Meshekhis

Sukina Meshekhis is a Saudi journalist

currently working on Al-Hurra’s pro-

gram “Hadith Al-Khaleej”, a talk show

focusing on social issues surrounding

the Gulf region.

“We’ve been identified as traitor

and spies, but spies for who? And

who have we betrayed? What have

we done to deserve such titles? We

only stood up against terrorism and

only hope for peace and stability in

Awamiya,” she tweeted after the

photo of the graffiti went viral.

Waleed Sulais

Waleed Sulais is a prominent social

activist who condemned the at-

tempted attack on Al-Ibrahim’s life.

He called the militants “hooligan

criminals” in a tweet immediately

after the assassination attempt. — Al

Arabiya English

EMOTIONAL

MOMENTS

By Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

F

ATHER is the

first hero of

every son. The

bond between

the two is time-

less. A father

shapes his son’s

life and when

the son steps

into his dad’s

shoes, life comes

full circle. It is a

beautiful journey marked with emo-

tions, sacrifices, tears and joy, and above

all a bond of love that goes beyond all

descriptions.

It was this bond that brought

32-year-old Ameen Khan from India

to Saudi Arabia to get his jailed father

Banna Khan released.

Khan was imprisoned in the King-

dom for causing the death of a colleague

during a quarrel over a work visa. The

visa was meant for Ameen, who could

not utilize it due to the tragic twist of

events.

Banna Khan, a native of Ajmer in

India, worked as a shepherd in Khafji

in eastern Saudi Arabia. He was found

guilty of causing the death of fellow

shepherd Mohammed Vaziur Rahman

from Bangladesh.

The victim had sold a shepherd visa

to Banna Khan and the two quarreled

over an amount of SR1,000 in the deal.

Rahman was preparing to go on vaca-

tion and getting married. He insisted

on receiving the money and a heated

argument ensued between the two.

They ended up fighting, which led to

the death of Rahman. Banna Khan was

arrested and a court found him guilty

of involuntary manslaughter. He was

sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Even though Banna Khan had served

his prison time, his release was delayed

due to some incomplete formalities. His

family kept calling everyone who could

help and when all efforts went in vain,

Ameen Khan decided to come to Saudi

Arabia himself to pursue the case and

win his father’s freedom.

“Earning money for the family was

not the sole purpose of my travel to

Saudi Arabia to work in an agricultural

farm in Najran. Seeking the release of

my jailed father was my primary mo-

tive,” said Ameen.

He said he arrived in Saudi Arabia in

October 2016 and since then he made all

efforts to seek the release of his father

and his employer was fully cooperative.

He traveled to Riyadh and Dammam to

find out the details of the case and also

to apply for a travel document at the

Indian Embassy in Riyadh.

“I worked in a private company in

my native Rajasthan where I wanted

to settle down. I decided to come to

Saudi Arabia after all my efforts for my

father’s release failed. Thanks to Sheikh

Ghaneim, my employer in Najran,

who rendered every possible help in

completing the legal formalities, my

father won his freedom after a decade in

prison,” said Ameen.

Ameen said his father was deported

a few days ago. Now he himself is plan-

ning to return home to give him big hug.

He said he did not meet in the prison

because he thought he would not be

able to control himself during the brief

visit.

“I saw him last about 12 years ago

when he came to India for vacation. He

was a handsome person with handlebar

mustaches, but now he is looking weak

and tired with a long-flowing beard as I

can make out from his pictures,” Ameen

said.

“My employer offered to take me

to the prison to visit my father, but I

refused. I opted to wait until his release

and go to India to hug him tightly as

long as I wished,” Ameen said in an

emotional tone.

Ameen left for Jaipur, Rajasthan,

from Abha on Wednesday but he was

not sure about his return to the King-

dom. “I came here faith one mission and

that has been accomplished,” he said.

Ameen said his father had raised

him in a manner that prepared him to

face life’s challenges.

Ameen Khan with his employer.

Banna Khan after

his release from prison.

Ameen Khan

Banna Khan at the time of his arrival in

Saudi Arabia.

Farm laborer in Najran frees father

from Saudi jail, travels back

to India to give him a big hug

There is not

white or black

terrorism. Terrorism

is terrorism. Standing

against all its form

is a duty to our

community and

country as a whole.

Ahmed Mshikhs

The latest graffiti list

is a clear indication

of the militants’ fear

that the province’s

people might

start siding with

the communities’

popular figures and

that it might spell

a rebellion against

them.

s

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