I took this photo last year at the Bringing Peace to Somalia conference in 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.