Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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
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.
See the interview in English on the Video Forum at http://evideo.alarabiya.net
“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.
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.
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
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.”