Although coronavirus pandemic restrictions have prevented personal visits to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), it has provided an opportunity for Astan Quds Razavi to develop programs in cyberspace.

Mohammad Hasheminejad, the director of AQR Deputy Office for Foreign Pilgrims Affairs says that before the outbreak, pilgrims and tourists from 120 countries used to visit the shrine city of Mashhad to enjoy special programs in Arabic, English and Urdu languages. “But COVID-19 made it difficult for these pilgrims to pay their visits and the deputy office in charge of pilgrim affairs could not host the guests as usual.”
He added: “Under these circumstances, boosting cultural and promotional programs in cyberspace was placed on the agenda and along with the increase in the number of programs for Iranian pilgrims, the productions for foreign pilgrims also received an uptick in the last 10 months,” he said.
He pointed out that their programs are very well received these days and it has been a very good experience. “The programs in the porticos of the holy shrine, due to space constraints, had a maximum of 700 viewers, but now due to cyberspace broadcast of programs, the number of viewers has jumped to more than 10,000, or about 15 times more.”
“The experience indicated that many lovers of Imam Reza (AS) who were not able to travel to Mashhad for various reasons in recent years, have now become regular audience through cyberspace. That is why we will continue our services even after the pandemic,” he noted.
Hasheminejad also stated that during the past years, about 30,000 foreign pilgrims and tourists provided their emails and addresses to keep in touch with the establishment and the deputy office offered a digital content package every week to keep these audiences connected. “The office is in contact with 1,600 cultural centers in 120 countries and uses this capacity to promote Razavi and the Islamic Revolution’s culture.”
Evaluating organization of specialized webinars in the presence of influential figures from the Islamic world as another achievement by the Astan Quds Razavi, the official said: “An important program in recent months was holding meetings over blasting insult to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by some European countries, including France, which received extreme public welcome from many countries.”
Astan Quds Razavi is the body in charge of Imam Reza (AS) holy shrine in Mashhad, northeast Iran.

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