1996 News Story

Saudi Arabia looks back on 64 years of development

Foreign policy: Riyadh
Member of the Supreme Council of the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University and General Supervisor of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Dahieyan, has commended the foreign policy of the late King Abdul Aziz, founder of the modern Kingdom, as focusing on national pride, courage and wisdom as well as support of the principles of Islam and of Arabism.   The scholar recalled one historic decision which King Abdul Aziz took:  his refusal to join the League of Nations because of its advocacy of colonialism;  later, however, he responded positively to participation in the United Nations, and Saudi Arabia was one of the states which signed its Charter in 1945.  King Abdul Aziz also fostered Arab solidarity as one of the founders of the League of Arab States;  in fact, the Kingdom was the first completely sovereign and fully independent Arab nation to gain international recognition.

Serving God’s Holy Book:  Madinah
To date, the King Fahd Printing Complex for the Holy Qur’an, which is located in Madinah, has produced a total of 113.7 million copies of the Holy Qur’an since its opening twelve years ago.  Of these, 99.8 million copies have been distributed throughout the world;  the rest have been given away to pilgrims during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.  The complex, which spreads over an area of 250,000 square meters, and comprises a mosque, a clinic, a library, restaurants and other facilities in addition to the printing and administrative buildings, has other products such as the Holy Qur’an on audio-tape, and works on the Sunnah of the Prophet, in addition to interpretations in over twenty languages.  Currently a project is under way to publish the Holy Qur’an with interpretative notes in a number of languages as well as in Arabic.

Sponsoring Islamic studies worldwide: London
Professor of the King Fahd Chair for Islamic Studies at London University Dr. Muhammmad Abdulhalim has expressed his appreciation of the role played by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz in the service of Science, Islam, and the Humanities, saying that all Muslims outside the Kingdom should feel pride in its achievements.    In Britain, Muslims are especially happy about accomplishments such as the establishment of the King Fahd Academy in London where over 1,000 boys and girls can study the Arabic language and Islam in addition to the sciences.  With the King Fahd Chair has come an Islamic Center, one of the largest in the West, which offers Masters Degrees in Islamic Studies, and interprets in English the words of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.   The Center has already organized a number of academic seminars and lectures, and plans to have scientific cooperation with other institutes of higher education, starting with the University of Kuwait.

The support of King Fahd to Muslims worldwide: New York
Imam and Khateeb of the Holy Mosque in Makkah Dr. Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid inaugurated the Islamic Center in New York on September 20, delivering the Friday sermon and leading the prayers at the new facility, which was set up with generous assistance from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz.   King Fahd is renowned for his support of Islamic establishments all over the world which are set up to enable Muslims everywhere to perform their rituals in peace and comfort.

Development at home: Riyadh

Minister of Education Dr. Muhammad Al-Ahmed Al-Rashid has commended the Kingdom’s progress in the field of education, recalling the various historic stages since the late King Abdul Aziz laid the foundation by establishing a Department of Education in 1945, and since Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz was appointed the first Minister of Education in 1954.   Especially worthy of note is that a senior official of the General Presidency for Girls’ Education reports that the growth rate in female education is 18 percent higher than was targeted in the fifth Five-Year Development Plan (1990-94).

Minister of Health Dr. Osama Shobokshi reports that this year the Kingdom has attained “Health for All”, and is now the equal of developed countries in terms of infrastructure and comprehensive development.   General hospitals run by the Ministry of Health now total 176, with a capacity of 27,000 beds.  In addition, there are 1,724 Primary Health Care Centers.  The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reports that charitable societies play an active role in the care of the needy, and that these have a total capital of SR 159.8 million with reserves of SR 361 million.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in recognition of the great achievements accomplished by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the field of agricultural development, awarded it the International Certificate of Merit.   Saudi Arabia has been self-sufficient in wheat since 1985;  the storage capacity of the silos of the General Organization for Grain Silos and Flour Mills now exceeds 2.4 millions tons;  and the Kingdom is a producer of a wide variety of agricultural products including grapes, citrus fruit, eggs, poultry, milk, beef, and mutton.

The industrialization of Saudi Arabia has helped the country export its industrial products to 90 countries, earning annually upwards of SR 15.4 billion.   There are 2,476 operational industries employing more than 218,000 workers with a capital investment of SR 163 billion.   There are three major categories of industry:  petrochemicals, oil refining, and down-stream industries.    In the sphere of petrochemicals, a dynamic role is played by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), which was formed in 1976, and comprises 21 large plants, 12 minor factories, and 112 light industrial and support facilities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia possesses a highly advanced communications network, and has participated in such international projects as the Arab satellites and sea cables systems.   In telecommunications, there are now 1.9 million telephone lines, 16,000 public telephone booths, and more than 155,000 mobile telephones, from which Saudis can make direct contact with 202 countries around the world.   There are 7,000 telex lines, and 273 telegram service centers.   As for postal services, these cover 4,664 urban centers, and make full use of state-of-the art facilities.