Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Single and mingle in Dubai

Male expats comprise about 70% of Dubai population and single males constitute the majority of them. However, these single males are labourers and low pay workers who may be married but due to restrictions, cannot bring their families.

There are other restrictions of being singles in Dubai. Certain residential areas are not for singles to live even by sharing. Some public parks do not allow singles to enter. Some times, these single males are nuisance with their kind of flirting around.

It is not uncommon to see single males walking by holding hands...well, I guess that's their culture.

The report below is about western single people in Dubai....please read with open mind.

Mingle in the City
Although Dubai is a multicultural melting pot made up of hundreds of different of nationalities, one thing the majority of us have in common is that we’re expats.
And while living in the UAE offers us fantastic opportunities to experience other cultures, learn new languages and customs, it can also mean that close friends and family are thousands of miles away. So just how easy is it to make new friends?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest complaints heard among expats is that it can be difficult to meet new people and establish friendships. This city, which needs to be navigated by car, doesn’t allow for easy interaction; many work long hours and barely see the outside of their office, nevermind mingle with mates, while others grumble that friends have married or moved away in this typically transient society.
After living for two-years in Dubai, Lara Young from the UK, decided that she was going to offer Dubaians an easier way to network and socialise. She set up ‘Single in the City’ (SITC) - Dubai’s first networking and events company that gives the unattached in the city the opportunity to try out new hobbies, meet like-minded friends and get together at weekly organised events, including karaoke nights, salsa dance lessons, art classes, sports and more.
“In the last two years of living in Dubai, I always went out to the same places with the same people,” says Lara. “I found it really hard to meet new people and was sick of going to the same hotels and bars. So I thought I’d create something like a Facebook, where you can meet people but also have the end result of bringing them together.
“I saw a real need for SITC here. Many of us are in the same boat: expatriate, away from friends and family, and working hard,” says Lara. “SITC is a way of trying to bring this community of people together at interesting events and enabling them to network and make like-minded friends.”
There are things to do in Dubai, but Lara says as a single person it’s never as much fun, so the idea behind SITC is to give people the opportunity to do things together as a group, which is more interesting.
“Single in the City is for people who are looking to broaden their social circle - and there is nothing wrong with that. But we are not a dating service - in no way, shape or form a dating service,” stresses Lara.
Dubai is reportedly one of the top cities in the world for the use of social network sites, so people here are obviously keen to interact. It’s no surprise then that in the six weeks since SITC launched, over 2,000 members have signed up.SITC member, Alexandre Sivirichi, 23, from New York, says that he finds it hard to make friends in Dubai because it’s a very isolated city.
“There are not many options apart from hotel restaurants, bars and clubs to have a drink at and socialise. I tend to go out with my co-workers. I think people stick to themselves more here than in New York.”
Elodie Calvet, 29, from Paris blames Dubai’s ‘superficiality’ for her difficulties making good friends. “It is not difficult to meet people in Dubai, but it is difficult to meet ‘good’ people. “It is a very superficial city and people play roles. You need to fit in the mould,” says Elodie. “Joining SITC means I can meet lots more new people. It is great to have fun activities organised; the last karaoke night was a lot of fun.”
For Max, 28, from London, the fact that many of his friends are now married, and settled, led him to check out SITC.
“I think if SITC can create a real fun single social community that would be great for me and many others like me in Dubai,” says Max. “I’d hope they can deliver on bringing us new and exciting places/things to do; things that get people out of their comfort zone and away from hotel bars,” he adds.

Mingle if you’re single
From fancy gala dinners, private parties, lively karaoke nights, wine tasting evenings, sports outings, book club debates or even a round of golf - each week Single in the City organises events for members to attend. It is free to sign up as a ‘silver’ member, however, ‘pearl’ and ‘diamond’ membership categories charge an annual fee.
For more information log on to www.singleinthecity.ae

Thousands turn to Islam in Dubai - official figures

Almost 3,000 people, the majority of them women, from dozens of nationalities became Muslims in Dubai last year, it was announced on Thursday.
A total of 2,763 individuals - 1,869 of them women - from 72 countries embraced Islam in 2008, an increase of 71 percent over 2007, according to figures released by the Islamic affairs and charitable activities department.
Announcing the data Dr Hamad bin Al Sheikh Al Shaibani, director general of the department, said: ''We are delivering our message properly by spreading Islamic culture and instilling national identity through giving greater attention to mosques, holy Quran sciences, Islamic heritage, research fatwa and charity works.”
The Islamic message was being delivered through a moderate school of Islam by highly qualified and conversant individuals using the most advanced methodologies, he added.
''We are lending special care to new Muslims, providing them with all they need from audio-visual materials, books, lectures and training programmes in all languages so as to become true Muslims,” Al Shaibani said.

Obama's First Interview (for Arab/Muslim World)

President gives first interview since taking office to Arab TV
Obama tells Al Arabiya peace talks should resume


See the interview in English on the Video Forum at http://evideo.alarabiya.net

DUBAI (AlArabiya.net)

In his first interview since taking office, President Barack Obama told Arab satellite station Al Arabiya that Americans are not the enemy of the Muslim world and said Israel and the Palestinians should resume peace negotiations.

“My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy,” Obama told Al Arabiya’s Hisham Melhem in an interview broadcast Tuesday morning.

During the presidential election campaign last year, Obama vowed to improve U.S. ties with the Muslim world and after he won promised to give a speech in a Muslim capital in his first 100 days in office. The President repeated this pledge in the interview but did not give a time or specify the venue.

The President repeated a pledge to adress the Muslim world from a major Islamic city

Obama pointed out that he had lived in the world’s largest Muslim nation, Indonesia for several years while growing up, and said his travels through Muslim countries had convinced him that regardless of faith, people had certain common hopes and dreams.

In the interview, Obama called for resumed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and said his administration wanted to begin by listening and talking to all parties involved in the conflict without prejudging their concerns.

He also praised Saudi King Abdulla for putting forward an Arab peace plan and said his administration would adopt a more extensive and regional approach in its relationship with the Muslim world.

“[W]e are ready to initiated a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest,” said Obama, noting that only then can progress be achieved.

" I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state – I’m not going to put a time frame on it – that is contiguous "
President Barack Obama

Obama, who took office a week ago, said he had already begun to fulfill the promises he made during his campaign by naming former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell as his Middle East peace envoy and sending him to the region within days of becoming president. Mitchell arrived in the region Monday evening on the start of a nine day tour.

Although Obama expressed support for a contiguous Palestinian state, he hedged on specifying when or with what borders.

“I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state – I’m not going to put a time frame on it – that is contiguous,” the president told Al Arabiya.

Obama reiterated America’s support to Israel and the “paramount” importance of the Jewish state’s security, making no mention of the suffering of Palestinians, the Gaza war, or the continuing Israeli blockade of the beleaguered territory.

Prior to his Jan. 20 inauguration Obama had remained silent about his views on the 22-day Israeli offensive in Gaza that left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.

He also reiterated his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, close the infamous Guantanamo prison and respect the rule of law.

Breaking with his predecessor George W. Bush, who had a penchant for adopting terms like Islamofacism and crusade that heightened tensions with the Muslim world, Obama underscored the importance of language and repeated the importance of listening as a part of communication.

“[M]y job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world that the language we use has to be a language of respect,” he said.

“[T]he language we use matters,” he continued. “We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name.”

Yet his continuing silence on the enormous amount of civilian casualties during the Israeli offensive and accusations by the U.N. and humanitarian organizations that Israel committed war crimes also spoke volumes to an audience that has waited for America to take a more balanced approach to the conflict.

Top

TRANSCRIPT

The President said the US cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what is best for them

The following is a full transcript of Hisham Melhem's interview with President Obama on Al Arabiya TV:

Q: Mr. President, thank you for this opportunity, we really appreciate it.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.

Q: Sir, you just met with your personal envoy to the Middle East, Senator Mitchell. Obviously, his first task is to consolidate the cease-fire. But beyond that you've been saying that you want to pursue actively and aggressively peacemaking between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Tell us a little bit about how do you see your personal role, because, you know, if the President of the United States is not involved, nothing happens – as the history of peace making shows. Will you be proposing ideas, pitching proposals, parameters, as one of your predecessors did? Or just urging the parties to come up with their own resolutions, as your immediate predecessor did?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away. And George Mitchell is somebody of enormous stature. He is one of the few people who have international experience brokering peace deals.

And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the
United States starts by dictating -- in the past on some of these issues --and we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen. He's going to be speaking to all the major parties involved. And he will then report back to me. From there we will formulate a specific response.

Ultimately, we cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what's best for them. They're going to have to make some decisions. But I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people. And that instead, it's time to return to the negotiating table.

And it's going to be difficult, it's going to take time. I don't want to prejudge many of these issues, and I want to make sure that expectations are not raised so that we think that this is going to be resolved in a few months. But if we start the steady progress on these issues, I'm absolutely confident that the United States -- working in tandem with the European Union, with Russia, with all the Arab states in the region -- I'm absolutely certain that we can make significant progress.

Q: You've been saying essentially that we should not look at these issues -- like the Palestinian-Israeli track and separation from the border region -- you've been talking about a kind of holistic approach to the region. Are we expecting a different paradigm in the sense that in the past one of the critiques -- at least from the Arab side, the Muslim side -- is that everything the Americans always tested with the Israelis, if it works. Now there is an Arab peace plan, there is a regional aspect to it. And you've indicated that. Would there be any shift, a paradigm shift?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, here's what I think is important. Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia --

Q: Right.

" I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage "
President Obama on the Saudi peace plan

THE PRESIDENT: I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage --

Q: Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: -- to put forward something that is as significant as that.
I think that there are ideas across the region of how we might pursue peace.

I do think that it is impossible for us to think only in terms of the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what's happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These things are interrelated. And what I've said, and I think Hillary Clinton has expressed this in her confirmation, is that if we are looking at the region as a whole and communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.

" Now Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States "

Now, Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount. But I also believe that there are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side.

And so what we want to do is to listen, set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years. And I think if we do that, then there's a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs.

Q: I want to ask you about the broader Muslim world, but let me – one final thing about the Palestinian-Israeli theater. There are many
Palestinians and Israelis who are very frustrated now with the current conditions and they are losing hope, they are disillusioned, and they believe that time is running out on the two-state solution because – mainly because of the settlement activities in Palestinian-occupied territories.

Will it still be possible to see a Palestinian state -- and you know the contours of it -- within the first Obama administration?

" I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state "

THE PRESIDENT: I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state -- I'm not going to put a time frame on it -- that is contiguous, that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life.

And, look, I think anybody who has studied the region recognizes that the situation for the ordinary Palestinian in many cases has not improved. And the bottom line in all these talks and all these conversations is, is a child in the Palestinian Territories going to be better off? Do they have a future for themselves? And is the child in Israel going to feel confident about his or her safety and security? And if we can keep our focus on making their lives better and look forward, and not simply think about all the conflicts and tragedies of the past, then I think that we have an opportunity to make real progress.

Obama praised Saudi King Abdullah for his Middle East peace plan

But it is not going to be easy, and that's why we've got George Mitchell going there. This is somebody with extraordinary patience as well as extraordinary skill, and that's what's going to be necessary.

Q: Absolutely. Let me take a broader look at the whole region. You are planning to address the Muslim world in your first 100 days from a Muslim capital. And everybody is speculating about the capital. (Laughter) If you have anything further, that would be great. How concerned are you -- because, let me tell you, honestly, when I see certain things about America -- in some parts, I don't want to exaggerate -- there is a demonization of America.

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.

Q: It's become like a new religion, and like a new religion it has new converts -- like a new religion has its own high priests.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

Q: It's only a religious text.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

Q: And in the last -- since 9/11 and because of Iraq, that alienation is wider between the Americans and -- and in generations past, the United States was held high. It was the only Western power with no colonial legacy.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

Q: How concerned are you and -- because people sense that you have a different political discourse. And I think, judging by (inaudible) and
Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden and all these, you know -- a chorus --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I noticed this. They seem nervous.

Q: They seem very nervous, exactly. Now, tell me why they should be more nervous?

" Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world that the language we use has to be a language of respect "

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that when you look at the rhetoric that they've been using against me before I even took office --

Q: I know, I know.

THE PRESIDENT: -- what that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt. There's no actions that they've taken that say a child in the Muslim world is getting a better education because of them, or has better health care because of them.

In my inauguration speech, I spoke about: You will be judged on what you've built, not what you've destroyed. And what they've been doing is destroying things. And over time, I think the Muslim world has recognized that that path is leading no place, except more death and destruction.

Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.

Q: The largest one.

THE PRESIDENT: The largest one, Indonesia. And so what I want to
communicate is the fact that in all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I've come to understand is that regardless of your faith -- and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers -- regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams.

" Sending George Mitchell to the Middle East is fulfilling my campaign promise that we're not going to wait until the end of my administration to deal with Palestinian and Israeli peace, we're going to start now "

And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that. Andthat I think is going to be an important task.

But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration's actions. And I think that what you will see over the next several years is that I'm not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say, or what's on a television station in the Arab world -- but I think that what you'll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity. I want to make sure that I'm speaking to them, as well.

Q: Tell me, time is running out, any decision on from where you will be visiting the Muslim world?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not going to break the news right here.

Q: Afghanistan?

THE PRESIDENT: But maybe next time. But it is something that is going to be important. I want people to recognize, though, that we are going to be making a series of initiatives. Sending George Mitchell to the Middle East is fulfilling my campaign promise that we're not going to wait until the end of my administration to deal with Palestinian and Israeli peace, we're going to start now. It may take a long time to do, but we're going to do it now.

" We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name "

We're going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital. We are going to follow through on many of my commitments to do a more effective job of reaching out, listening, as well as speaking to the Muslim world.

And you're going to see me following through with dealing with a drawdown of troops in Iraq, so that Iraqis can start taking more responsibility. And finally, I think you've already seen a commitment, in terms of closing Guantanamo, and making clear that even as we are decisive in going after terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians, that we're going to do so on our terms, and we're going to do so respecting the rule of law that I think makes America great.

Q: President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad, "war on terror," and used sometimes certain terminology that the many people -- Islamic fascism. You've always framed it in a different way, specifically against one group called al Qaeda and their collaborators. And is this one way of --

THE PRESIDENT: I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.

And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in
distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda -- that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it -- and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.

But to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship.

" But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress "

Q: Can I end with a question on Iran and Iraq then quickly?

THE PRESIDENT: It's up to the team --

MR. GIBBS: You have 30 seconds. (Laughter)

Q: Will the United States ever live with a nuclear Iran? And if not, how far are you going in the direction of preventing it?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I said during the campaign that it is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of U.S. power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran.

Now, the Iranian people are a great people, and Persian civilization is a great civilization. Iran has acted in ways that's not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region: their threats against Israel; their pursuit of a nuclear weapon which could potentially set off an arms race in the region that would make everybody less safe; their support of terrorist organizations in the past -- none of these things have been helpful.

But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress. And we will over the next several months be laying out our general framework and approach. And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.

Q: Shall we leave Iraq next interview, or just --

MR. GIBBS: Yes, let's -- we're past, and I got to get him back to dinner with his wife.

Q: Sir, I really appreciate it.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.

Q: Thanks a lot.

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate it.

Q: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you

Lembu-Lembu Yang berGERAK


Mengorbankan lembu, kambing, dan kini unta dsbnya memang sudah menjadi sebahagian dari tradisi raya korban. Satu ibadah yang bercampur baur dengan pencemaran nilai dan budaya semasa.

Malah, boleh juga menjadi strategi politik untuk iklan percuma sebagai wakil rakyat, ketua bahagian/cawangan, ketua pemuda/wanita/puteri/putera dsbnya.

Pertambahan jumlah haiwan untuk dikorbankan mengikut kariah juga boleh menjadi perlumbaan, siapa yang lebih banyak.

Lembu hanyalah haiwan yang menjadi perlambangan dalam pengorbanan. Lembu adalah haiwan yang banyak berjasa dan ramai anak-anak manusia membesar denga susu lembu.

Maka lembu yang bukan haiwan dan berGERAK dengan dua kaki juga boleh dipergunakan untuk memperlembukan mereka yang tidak, atau masih belum dilembukan oleh politik ketuanan lembu demi lembu yang tidak sedar mereka juga adalah bertaraf lembu.

Memang ramai orang politik menggunakan korban lembu sebagai propaganda cap lembu keramat untuk memperlembukan minda penyokong dan demi kelihatan sebagai lembu suci. Ahli-ahli politik bersongkok, bersamping merah yang sebenarnya bertaraf lembu korban kerana turut dilembukan oleh orang lain, tidak boleh selamanya menyalahgunakan lembu demi kerjaya dan survival.

Lebih menyesakkan melihat gelagat lembu-lembu yang berGERAK untuk memperlembukan orang lain melupakan yang semua lembu-lembu berkaki dua dikalangan mereka adalah lembu-lembu yang lebih lembu minda serta perjuangan ketuanan palsu dari lembu haiwan yang berak merata-rata.
Lembu-lembu politik, sama ada montok dengan lemak rasuah atau masih baru untuk menggemukkan tubuh dengan rasuah, mereka pada realitinya sekadar menunggu masa untuk dikorbankan. Lembu-lembu dalam kandang ketuanan lembu boleh melompat ke kandang baru untuk bersama perubahan dan berubah dari menjadi lembu yang dicucuk hidung sepanjang masa kepada manusia yang boleh membedakan lembu-lembu politik.
Ahli-ahli politik bertaraf lembu dan para lembu berGERAK bakal menjadi korban, bukan sempena hari raya haji, tetapi korban pada suara rakyat yang bukan lembu dulu, kini dan selamanya!

'This will be the year of al Qa'eda'

Following terrorist threats, Yemeni security personnel stop a car in a street nearby the US embassy in Sana'a on Tuesday. Mohammed al Qadhi / The National

Mohammed al Qadhi, Foreign Correspondent

SANA’A // An announcement that Saudi and Yemeni militants have joined forces has sparked concern that al Qa’eda has regrouped and is gearing up for a new wave of attacks.

“I expect that this year will be the year of al Qa’eda. The militants started strongly by releasing a videotape and merging Saudi and Yemeni cells into one group,” said Abdulellah Haidar, a Yemeni journalist who specialises in al Qa’eda and Islamic movements.

“I do, therefore, expect this year will witness a series of attacks for al Qa’eda against key installations, mainly oil and foreign interests. This has been very clear in their new videotape.”
In the videotape, posted last Friday on the internet, al Qa’eda announced that Said Ali al Shihri, a Saudi national recently released from Guantanamo Bay after spending nearly six years inside the US prison camp, is now the No 2 of al Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula, which groups militants in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came as Barack Obama, the new US president, ordered the detention facility closed within a year. Haidar, who interviewed the group’s leader, Nasser al Wahishi, about 10 days ago at an undisclosed location, said the appearance of the leaders in the video without covering their faces demonstrated a challenge to both Yemeni and Saudi regimes.

“When such people wanted by the intelligence uncover their faces, it means they are strong and that nobody can reach them. I have met them and spoke to them. They were confident of their ability. I also saw [during the interview] a number of young militants in their twenties from different nationalities, including Saudis. The government announces every now and then new arrests, but what I have seen shows these people are recruiting more and more fighters,” Haidar said.
The involvement of Mr al Shihri in the group demonstrates they are no longer local but involving militants from different nationalities. The government announced last week it had shut down a new cell that was plotting an attack. One of those killed was a Saudi national, it said.

“A Saudi plot to launch attack in Sana’a means a lot. This indicates what is coming will be worse and that they will hit from Sana’a to Riyadh,” Haidar said. Haider’s interview with Mr al Wahishi was published in the weekly Annass newspaper on Monday.

During the interview, Mr al Wahishi said they would attack oil facilities and western interests, tourists and even soldiers protecting these installations. Naser al Bahri, a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, said these threats should be taken seriously.

“These people will carry out painful attacks. They have announced that they will and they must carry them out or they will lose credibility with their funding agencies. They might carry out assassinations against foreigners and key security officials as well as oil installations,” said Mr al Bahri, who was imprisoned after the USS Cole attack in Aden in 2000 and was released after renouncing violence.

He said a group of former al Qa’eda militants plans to meet with the militants to convince them to renounce violence.

“Danger is looming as these people will use the loose security situation in Yemen, unlike in Saudi Arabia, to carry out attacks. We have a plan to conduct dialogue with them to calm down this tense situation,” Mr al Bahri said.Haidar said he believes the message in the videotape also hoped to exploit the conflict in Gaza in an attempt to win support.

“Many people went to the streets across the region, demanding jihad against Israel. This group offers the option as it recruits new militants under the pretext of fighting infidels. In this way, they will be able to recruit more militants,” he said. He also said al Qa’eda is able to make use of the instability in Yemen, where the government is facing unrest in the north and south, a political storm and increasing economic hardship.

Four days after the release of the tape, the US Embassy in Sana’a said it had received terrorist threats. Streets leading to the embassy were closed and security around other embassies and key installations was tightened. That night, shots were fired between Yemeni security forces and unknown gunmen, an embassy spokesman said.

The interior ministry said the shooting had nothing to do with the threat on the embassy. The government has not commented on the latest video. Yemen suffered a series of terrorist attacks in 2008 mostly targeting foreigners and embassies, including the Sept 17 attack on the US Embassy that killed 18 people.

Start of prayer broadcast cancelled

Well, this is NEWS....I hope the authority will allow iqama back...what's wrong?
Normally, in this part of the world, iqamah (start of prayer) has certain period after the azan, such as 30 mins after azan for fajr (subuh), 20 mins for zuhr, asr and isha', 5 min for maghrib.
Within 2 km radius from my house, there are 5 mosques and still sometimes....it is good to hear the iqamah before driving/running to the mosque..then again, Dubai still allows iqamah


Start of prayer broadcast cancelled
Anna Seaman
ABU DHABI // The loudspeaker announcements signalling the start of prayer have been cancelled by the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf). The call for iqamat-as-salat, which signals the beginning of the congregational prayers for Muslims, is no longer being relayed from speakers at mosques in the city of Abu Dhabi.
In a statement issued yesterday, Awqaf said the iqama call had been cancelled to stop worshippers running to the mosque at the last minute. The appropriate way to go to the mosque was to walk slowly and with purpose at the sounding of the azan, or call to prayer, it said.
“It is sufficient for the iqama to take place inside the mosque, without it being broadcast,” the statement read. “The iqama is for the benefit of those already present inside the mosque … and scholars agree that the iqama should be delivered at a softer, quieter voice than the call to prayer.”
The purpose for the iqama is to help the imam lead worshippers inside a mosque so that everyone’s prayer movements are synchronised. The azan, on the other hand, indicates that the time to pray has arrived and, technically, it is possible to pray at any point after this sounds.
However, in the Islamic tradition it is preferable for a Muslim to pray as part of a congregation in a mosque unless attendance causes hardship. Even when going to a mosque is not possible, many Muslims who share a space at work or in living quarters prefer to pray together, with one of them leading the prayer.
Although those already inside the mosque will still hear the iqama, many people feel the decision by Awqaf hinders their ability to pray in unison with those inside the mosques.
Ahmed Yousef, who works in IT, said he could not believe the news. “I noticed the iqama had stopped and I went to the Awqaf website to see if it was official, but I couldn’t find anything. “Now I have heard about this statement I am very sad. It will affect everyone. The iqama is as important as the azan [call to prayer] and I see no reason for it to stop.”
Awqaf said that by reducing the volume of the second announcement, people will be obliged to go the mosque as soon as they hear the azan, thus encouraging more worshippers to pray in congregation.
“When a Muslim hears the call to prayer, he or she ought to head to the mosque,” said the statement.
“The Muslim scholars have agreed that a call to prayer should be from a minaret high above ground. In our day and age, it is sufficient to broadcast the call to prayer through loudspeakers. As for the iqama, the Prophet and his contemporaries did not deliver it from the minaret.”
The decision has caused controversy in the capital, particularly among women, for whom it is not compulsory to pray at the mosque, and for those unable to leave their homes.
Karima, a mother of four, who asked that only her first name be used, said: “Five times a day I wait at home until I hear the iqama to begin my prayer. Now, as I won’t know when it is, I might delay my prayers unintentionally.”
Karima added that as there had been no official announcement, many missed the timing for their prayers before realising the iqama was not going to sound.
“For women praying at home, or even men who can’t make it to the mosque, we need the call as a reminder. If they had told us, then at least we would have known,” she said.
Hessa al Hirsi, a housewife from Abu Dhabi said: “This news really hurts me. We are in a Muslim country and to hear that they are imposing these rules is terrible. If it starts here then where will it stop? I’m afraid they will cancel the azan altogether and then my children will grow up without a reminder to pray.
“The prayer is the most important icon in our religion and anything preventing it is not acceptable.”
In the other emirates and in Al Ain, the iqama broadcasts continue. It is not known whether Awqaf will enforce the decision nationwide.
Mr Yousef said: “I think I speak for every Muslim when I say I hope the iqama returns soon.”