Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:00 pm (KSA) 17:00 pm (GMT)

Saudi King Abdullah wins annual Islamic prize

The annual King Faisal prize for services to Islam was awarded to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, official Saudi news agency SPA said on Saturday, the same day plans for a massive expansion to the Grand Mosque were declared.

The prize announcement was made by Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz after a meeting of the awards committee.

Five prizes have been awarded every year since 1979, each worth 200,000 dollars (135,000 euros), in honor of former Saudi King Faisal who was assassinated in 1975.

Other prizes mark services to Arab literature, Islamic studies, medicine and science.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, approved an expansion to the northern courtyard of the Grand Mosque -- also known as Al-Masjid Al-Haraam -- press reports said Sunday.

Prince Miteb, minister of municipal and rural affairs, announced yesterday said the project would include construction of pedestrian tunnels and a service station, Saudi English-language daily Arab News reported.

The royal approval covers expropriation of real estate on the northern and northwestern sides of the mosque, covering an area of 300,000 square meters.

Hani Al-Hazimi, a Saudi businessman, said expropriation of land in the area started some time ago and that people were being compensated generously. “Some have got more than SR100 million,” he told the paper.

Last year, the Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Affairs implemented several utility and service projects at a cost of SR1.2 billion.

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