Riyadh, September 27: Over 600 Chinese nationals working on the Haramain Rail project have embraced Islam in a recent ceremony in Makkah.
They are workers of the Chinese Railway Company, which won the multibillion contract for implementing the 450km rail road linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and Rabigh.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Khudhairi, undersecretary at the Makkah Governorate, said that this yearâ€™s celebration of the Kingdomâ€™s National Day coincides with a number of auspicious and historic occasions.
These included launching of the prestigious international research university – King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST), celebration of Eid Al Fitr and a recent ceremony of Chinese workers pronouncing their Shahada.
Dr. Abdul Aziz, who witnessed the event, described it as a â€œdirect response to critics of the government for contracting Chinese company.â€
Among the converts, there are 70 workers who are engaged in the construction of Makkah monorail project, which links the holy city with the holy sites of Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat.
â€œTheir conversion took place 24 hours after getting books introducing Islam in Chinese language at their worksite at Arafat, which is outside the Haram area,â€ he said adding that the credit goes to the Office of the Call and Guidance for Expatriates in Makkah.
Efforts are underway to spread the message of Islam among some 5,000 Chinese nationals working on the Haramain train,â€ he said adding that the major problem for the Call and Guidance Office is the lack of enough books on Islam in Chinese language.
It is noteworthy that the first phase of Haramain Rail consisting of 70km has well been started a few months ago. This represents expropriation of land, filling works, construction of bridges and tracks. The project is expected to be operational in 2012.-Agencies