A video of a Saudi security officer is grabbing attention on social media after guiding an Iranian pilgrim in Medina in the latter’s mother tongue language of Farsi.
The security personnel, identified as Mohammed al-Harbi, is seen speaking in Farsi to the pilgrim at the premises of The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.
“I have been working in the security forces guarding the holly site. I learned Farsi by dealing with the Iranian pilgrims for more than 15 years,” said al-Harbi.
Al-Harbi said that he “loves this language” and explained how he keeps record of all the unfamiliar terminology so he can later search for it in the dictionary. The officer described the Persian language as a melting pot of other different languages such as Arabic, English, and Urdu.
The conversation with the Iranian pilgrim
The video filmed by al-Harbi’s colleague, Ziad Zabin, showed al-Harbi first discussing the Quran museum with the Iranian pilgrim. “He was shocked to hear me speak in the same language,” al-Harbi said.
He then gave the pilgrim directions to gate number 5, and asked him about his Hajj experience this year, in hopes that all his needs and satisfactions were met. “I told him that we are at his service, and that is an honor to cater to all the Kingdom’s visitors,” he said.
Al-Harbi described the pilgrim’s positive response as heartfelt. “I heard nothing but praise from the Iranian pilgrims that admire how we treat people and how organized we are… they are also amazed by the cleanliness of the perimeter”.
Al-Harbi told Al Arabiya English that he feels great pride in what he does.
Saudi Arabia against racism
Al-Harbi became seasoned in the language that he is now capable of distinguishing different local dialects.
“Learning a new language is always difficult, but with determination, humans exceed all barriers,” he stated. He also explains how his ability to communicate with Iranians helped eliminate any perceptions of racism and rivalry.
Our mission is to reflect the real image of the Kingdom,” hed said. He also explained that actions can speak louder than words. “You do not need to speak a certain language to convey the good will of the Saudi people”.