Thoughts on Dubai

I have heard a lot about Dubai from various people. I recenly have made a number of trips there and I thought I should share with you what I think about Dubai.I must say I am impressed that the Ruling Emirs have had foresight enough to realise that their oil wealth will not last forever and so they have put that wealth to use by aggressively developing Dubai in to a thriving Business & Commerce centre and tourist resort; really top marks to the Makhtooms for this foresight. However, there is a down side. The down side is the over-westernisation of Dubai, whilst it remains a Muslim country standards of dress and conduct are very permissive. I think that with the influx of western tourists, the influence of their dress has filtered through to the population. I noted whilst walking around that a lot of young Arab women have adopted the “midriff exposing” mode of dress, and there is, what seemed to me a lot of boyfriend/girlfriend type couples walking around. I was staying in one hotel where the foreign hotel staff, Filipino ladies, were wearing quite short skirts and this surprised me. I would expect that a country such as Dubai would at least dictate a minimum decent standard of dress for both men and women, especially in public places. Having said that, female Government officials are pretty well hijabed.

I was pretty shocked at Arab TV in general, it seemed to me that there is a lot of innuendo in the programmes. Whilst channel hopping and waiting for “al-Rihla with Shaykh Hamza” show, I noticed an Arab pop video and was flabbergasted by it. By western standards it would be considered mild titilation, but even mild titilation from an Islamic stand point is indecent, this is all the more worse when you consider the Holy Month of Ramadan as well. There is also religious programming but it is very boring, usually you have some stern-faced Shaykh sitting there sermonising and taking phone calls for an hour, ya Shaykh “smile your on TV!” There is one redeeming show and that was the recent “al-Rihla with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf” aired at Iftar time on MBC. The production on the show this year has been nothing short of excellent, the show had a reaaly creative director [Eissa Bougary] and a great production crew that has produced probably the slickest, professional and visually stunning show in the history of Arab TV programming. Both style and content are absolutely superb, well done the director (and good friend) Eissa Bougary and the rest of the production crew.

I will be back with some more comments on Dubai, insha’Allah.



New Committee Formed at local Mosque

Just want to inform everyone that after much deliberation, politicking and argumentation, a new [executive] committee was formed. Whilst it is not perfect, I believe that there are people there who can and will run the affairs of the Mosque properly and effectively, we will make sure of that by constant questioning. There is one person on the committee who is a young educated brother who will be a breath of fresh air in the proceedings, may he be the first of many such people who get introduced into the committee. In response to the formation of the committee I had the following post on my blog:

“Despite the efforts of the majority party and its ‘rukn’ we see that again in ______ a Mosque committee has been formed on ‘caste’ grounds. This can surely not achieve as much as a diverse and equal committee could have. We see that those who have preached for ‘brotherhood and tolerence’ have in fact proved they are totally alien to these basic Islamic principles and only paid lip service to them. No effort was made to form a joint committee that is inclusive of Muslims from ALL backgrounds, and nominations were made solely on the basis of ‘qawmiyat’.

When our children face discrimination in almost every field of their lives, when our daughters are forced to remove hijab in school, I would not have a problem if it is a raja, jatt or pathan who deals with the issues to fight for our rights. It seems this is just another field that our children must get used to where they will face discrimination and inequality, the House of Allah.

May Allah grant the best amongst us the opportunity to provide the best service in his way. Ameen.” — Anonymous

Whilst I agree with most of the sentiments expressed in the above, the accusation that the committee is not made up of a diverse range of people and is formed on “caste grounds” is inaccurate. I am absolutely convinced that had the Jat/Chaudry party had the greater share of the vote they too would have exclusively picked people from their own party. This is the result of the way the elections are organised. When the Labour party wins it does not offer cabinet positions to the Tory party. In order to move away from such a system we need to re-think the electoral process. I propose we have a party independent of any of the existing ones, based on people who are willing and able to work for the mosque from any background (aqidah: Sunni). This party should be made up of professional and educated people, doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, managers, IT people etc and have a clear manifesto for the Mosque and actually canvass people’s support prior to an election. Only then can we hope to move away from the millstone of the sub-continent qawmi politics.

As for the committee, it is of 34 members and broadly represents the community, the Jat/Chaudry group have the most seats, but all the other parties together have the majority and have a united alliance and understanding. I think this person is talking about the executive positions of which there are seven as follows: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Vice-Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer and Organiser. The executive positions are made up of 2 people from the Pathan community, 1 person from the Shareefs (Ahl al-Bayt), 3 from the Rajput community and 1 person who does not identify himself with a caste and is of neither of the preceding ones. Unfortunately there is no representation from the Jat/Chaudry community and I believe that one of the executive positions should have been give to this community as there are a number of good people able and willing to do the work of the mosque. As for the majority party it would be interesting to see if they will withhold donations because that is what happened last time; I hope not.

Brother if you are reading this and I would imagine that you are or will read at some stage, I would like to sit down and discuss these issues with you. We need a change of attitude and personally I am striving for that change and would like to co-operate with like minded people and it would seem that you are like minded. I think the time has come for us “British Muslims” to demand a greater role in the affairs of the Mosque and the only way is to get together and talk which I am happy and willing to do, are you? You know me and you can contact me and if you are sincere as you say then call me.