Yemen & its Relations With South East Asia [Archives:2001/35/Business & Economy]

August 27 2001

Mahyoub al-Kamali
Yemen has a distinguished relation with the countries of the South East Asia as the Yemeni traders who settled in the countries of the region contributed to the shaping of culture and civilization of those nations.
Yemen immigrants who settled in South East Asia established many religious institutions there and also were the first to spread the Islamic religious teachings in addition to the other new fields of knowledge and arts. Therefore, Yemen has a strong relation with countries of the region such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Recently, a tourist group of 35 people from Singapore arrived in Yemen to visit several religious sites including the ancient Islamic mosques. The trip was organized by the Singapore-based Al-Qana’ah Travel & Tourism, which was established by Lutfi La’jam (who is of Yemeni origin) in coordination with the Adinas Tourism Agency owned by a businessman Bashamakh.
Mahyoub Al-Kamali of Yemen Times conducted brief interviews with some members of the Singaporean group and filed the following excerpts:
Sheikh Mahmud Abdul Majid said that he has had the intention of visiting Yemen for over 30 years and finally he realized his dream. Sheikh Abdul Majid added that the he has been surprised by the generosity of the Yemeni people. Talking about the role of Yemenis in spreading Islam in the region, Sheikh Abdul Majid said that he himself is a student of some Yemeni religious scholars like Sheikh Abu Bakar Taha Al-Saqqaf, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Faqih and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Eidroos. These religious scholars came to Singapore and established the Janadyah Islamic School and their books are still instructed at the Islamic universities and institutes up to now. Speaking about the historic and religious sites he visited, Sheikh Abdul Majid said that ” he visited Tarim, Shibam of Hadhramout, the grave of the Prophet Houd, the Old City of Sana’a and Wadi Tdahar.
While Zuraimi Noreddin, another Singaporean, said that ” he visited many places in Yemen including Mareb and added that he was extremely amused by the ancient sites he visited.


Mostly all the members of the Singaporean tourist group expressed their willingness to visit Yemen once more and said that they will call their friends in Singapore to visit Yemen to see the spectacular scenes and the ancient historic sites in Yemen. Furthermore, they complained of the unavailability of tourist guides who are well-informed about the Islamic and the archeological sites.
Sallem Ba’abid the Executive Manger of Adinas Tourism Agency said that the visit of the group to Yemen is the first one by his agency and added that the Yemen is a very important destination for South East Asians due to the availability of so many religious sites. Ba’abid added that another tourist group from Singapore will be visiting Yemen soon.