View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rain Still Falling Over Fujairah

The rain fell steadily throughout last night.

The skies are dark and continue to look threatening. The odd spit rather than downpours.

The streets are increasingly being flooded and drivers are looking for alternative routes to get to their destination.

Earlier reports and pictures are posted at this link as well as this one.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The streets are increasingly being flooded…” This is a street in Faseel, a five minute walk from the beach.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Emiratis Infuriate Iranians

What do you call the stretch of water out from Abu Dhabi and Dubai which extends over to Iran?

It may depend on where you live.

If you live in Iran, you’ll call it ‘The Persian Gulf’.

If you live in Dubai or Abu Dhabi you will probably call it ‘The Arabian Gulf’.

If you are a wimp or a lover of ‘salaam’ you may simply call it ‘The Gulf’.

The naming of this gulf continues to be a contentious issue and if you want more mud to sling across the gulf, check out this article or this Wikipedia article on the Persian Gulf Naming Dispute.

This little shop (pictured), posing as a supermarket, calls itself ‘The Arabian Gulf Supermarket’. Funnily enough it is located in Fujairah, a stone’s throw from the sea, not the Arabian or Persian Gulf but the Gulf of Oman that stretches out to the Arabian Sea.

Probably the shopkeeper is oblivious to the controversy but his sign and shop name is like a shoe thrown toward Iran.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “This little shop, posing as a supermarket, calls itself ‘The Arabian Gulf Supermarket’.”

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oil and Algae Plaguing Fujairah Coastline

Emmanuelle Landais, in a Gulf News article today (11 January 2009) surveys the oil spills [accidental] and illegal dumping [intentional] that have been afflicting the Fujairah coastline.

A picture appears with the story showing a Qidfa fisherman walking along the two kilometer stretch of beach pondering the oil slick. The story is unclear as to whether there has been a fresh oil spillage this year but I have asked for clarification.

The red tide algae continues to have a devastating effect on the fishing industry and it appears to be more pronounced the further north (towards Dibba) you go.

On the Khor Kalba beaches recently the redness and the smell have not been so apparent but a tourist visiting Khor Fakkan recently wrote me a letter asking about the color of the water and wondering whether it was safe to swim. It would be good to hear an answer on this from microbiologists and health specialists. I have been swimming off the east coast recently but I didn’t put my head under.

Another continuing issue with red tide algae is the extent to which it is affecting the fish and how safe it is to buy the fish at the local fish markets. Some vendors were earlier fined for selling fish that had washed up on the beach, obviously victims of the oxygen deficit caused by the algae.

As with oil, the extent of the algae problem depends on which beach you are looking at and on what day you look.

Algae Persists
Read this most recent report by a blogger who sailed around the Fujairah and Omani coasts and posted this report on 11 January 2009:

“It was good to see some of our surroundings - Dibba is only a few hours away so definitely could be a weekend get-away. What was sobering was seeing the red tide - or algae bloom. Apparently it happens every year for only two weeks or so. But the red tide arrived in September this year and is still there. The algae blocks the oxygen for up to five metres from the surface so fish are dying. It also blocks the sunlight so the coral reefs are dying - a diver from Emirates Diving said 98 percent (!) of the reefs around Dibba are dead. From what I can gather the algae bloom occurs naturally from nutrients welling up from the cold sea currents but can also be caused by man made factors such as fertilizers or other contaminates. What is truly amazing is we had no idea that this was happening. We heard earlier in the year that thousands of fish had died in Fujairah but everyone we talked to said they heard the red tide was gone. I can tell you driving along both coasts we could see the purplish tinge of the water. The fishing villages in Oman haven't sent boats out in months. We saw only a few spots where the water was clear. We snorkeled through bands of reddish purple water where you could not see a thing as it washed over the reef. Very, very scary. Apparently the right condition of waves and wind will make the red tide disappear so let's hope it goes away soon.”

Swimmers, divers, fishermen and hotel are all being affected by the oil and algae on the UAE’s east coast.

Got a report to share on the oil and algae you have spotted recently on the UAE’s east coast?

Dr Geoff Pound

Contact or connect with me on Facebook at this link.

Image: The water around the Fujairah Marina last week looked ominously red and brown. Is this the result of oil from the motors of boats, the presence of red tide algae or an inexplicable cocktail?
(Click on the photo for a closer examination)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If Olaya Street Could Talk and the United Arab Emirates

If Olaya Street Could Talk is the name of a recently published book written about Saudi Arabia.

This volume has important insights for anyone living on the Arabian Peninsula.

The author writes not only of Olaya Street, the main commercial road of Riyadh but of the entire Arabian Peninsula and how it filled him with awe.

His curiosity and the rise of a “strange attachment” to this foreign land led him to stay, to marry and to raise a family in that country.

People living in the KSA or any Arab land will learn much from the author about Arab culture and meeting the challenges of living in an expat bubble.

A review of this book can be found at Reviewing Books and Movies.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Front cover of If Olaya Street Could Talk.

$100 between NZ and Oz on Emirates Airline

Further to a recent article about Dubai-based Emirates Airline cutting fares, here is another massive reduction to stimulate the economy, get people travelling again and fill up the empty seats in those newly acquired Airbuses.

In the financial downturn there look to be some bargains and negotiating power for customers.

Source: Fly with Emirates to NZ @ $99 One Way, OzBargain, 10 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Friday, January 9, 2009

Etihad Airways Takes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Advertising to New Heights

Abu Dhabi, the richest city in the world, scored a major coup in snaring the Grand Prix to its city, scheduled this year (2009) for 1 November.

To celebrate, the up and coming Etihad Airways is linking with the inaugural Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by repainting one of its A340-600 aircraft with the F1 colours.

Etihad Airways will be wanting to capture something of the F1 spirit—success, speed, sexiness—without too many blowouts, unscheduled pit stops and smashes.

Source: Flight Global, 9 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Repainting one of its A340-600 aircraft with the F1 colours.”

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Financial Recession Leads Emirates Airline to Slash Fares

There are some interesting trends in the airline business, especially affecting fares in and out of Dubai.

New Partnership
On 12 December 2008, Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, entered into an affiliation with Jet Airways to code share daily flights from Mumbai and New Delhi to Dubai in a move to offer better connectivity to its passengers.

New Competition
On 7 January 2009 Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, India’s second biggest airline firm, announced it will introduce its first flight to West Asia connecting Bangalore with Dubai from 8th February, a move which prompted predictions that this which could fuel another round of fare cuts on the sector.

New Airfares
The predictions did not take long to be fulfilled for today (8 January 2009), Emirates Airline announced it has reduced air fares across all its destinations in India with immediate effect. To check out their ‘Bargain in India’ fares follow this link.

The airline has also slashed its economy class fares to other key destinations in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

New Opportunities
It looks like the financial recession is leading many people to cut travel and international holidays in order to save what money they still have. For those who still have some spare cash it appears that international travel is getting cheaper, especially on routes in and out of the United Arab Emirates and India.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Some interesting trends in the air…”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Masdar Being Promoted in Australia

UAE’s new eco city, Masdar, is being promoted in Oz with the visit of Gordon Falconer.

Check out the new video on Masdar that has been screened on Australia’s Channel 10.

Link: Super-Eco City Being Built in Dubai [it is Abu Dhabi], Fresh Creation, 6 January 2009.

A critique of Masdar and a challenge to the UAE about its ecological goals is posted at this link:

Masdar Model City is Environmental Extravagance, Experiencing the Emirates, 20 February 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Masdar HQ, Abu Dhabi.

Emirati Heads British Football’s Rich List

Check out the Emirati who has topped the Football Rich List and see where your favorite footballer stands on the player’s list at the end of 2008.

Link: Football’s Rich List, Daily Mail Online, 7 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Send me a message or connect with me via Facebook.

Image: So rich he’s printing his own money? (Photo courtesy of DM and Getty Images at above link).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Greatest Visual Pollution in the UAE

Coming from Dubai or Abu Dhabi on the Sharjah–Al Dhaid Road travellers come across what must be the ugliest sight on a stretch of road in the UAE.

You pass the Sharjah Scout Camp on the left and approach an Industrial building with pylons in front of it before reaching a blue sign saying, “Batayah, Al Fujairah, Khor Fakkan” and a sign to the new highway that goes east saying, ‘Central and Eastern Region’.

It is important for the power to get through but there has been no attempt to set the pylons back from the main highway or do it in such a way that appeals to one’s aesthetic tastes.

This looks ugly (pictured) but if beauty is in the eye of the beholder some might find the lines and patterns to be particularly appealing.

Is this the greatest visual pollution in the Emirates or what other sight would get your vote?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Travellers come across what must be the ugliest sight on a stretch of road in the UAE.”

Further Change to Travel Instructions from Dubai to Fujairah

This is a further change to the updated travel instructions (18 December 2008) from Dubai to Fujairah.

The relevant change is indicated in italics:

There is a significant change in the road system for people travelling from Dubai to Fujairah and it hasn’t been clearly explained by the road signs.

I have made changes to my ‘Directions from Dubai to Fujairah’ posted at this link.

Flick through to the heading 20.00kms (which marks the 20 kms mark from the Dubai International Airport Terminal 1) as this is where the change occurs.

At this roundabout (at the end of Highway D50) where one could go (first right) to Dubai/Abu Dhabi or (next right) to Al Awir or further round (anticlockwise) to the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Rd, I had said coming in at a 6.00pm position you go around and exit at a 9.00am position.

On the D50 highway just before the roundabout there is a sign on a green board that has instructions blotted out. At this roundabout there has been a significant change.

You still come in at a 6.00pm position but you turn right, taking the road to Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi. This takes you in the opposite direction that you ultimately want to be going.

After only 200 metres, taking Exit 63 (Blue sign to Al Awir; Sharjah and Al Dhaid) you turn right like a hairpin bend on a Grand Prix track. This takes you back 150 metres where you turn right and go underneath the road and turn right again.

You drive another 150 metres (towards Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi) and turn right (another hairpin bend) but this has you on the other side of the road and now back on the highway.

You drive another 150-200 metres and finally reach the roundabout [No Longer].

The roundabout has been removed and the Al Awir direction is now reached by taking Exit 64 [see blue sign board pictured]. Don’t take this route to go to Fujairah.

Continue straight and
you will find you are on the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Road with ugly pylons on the right side of the road. This is where you notice you are in the desert.

If you keep on going too far you will find yourself on the Al Khawaneej Rd heading back towards Dubai and you will have to go to the next roundabout before you can return and Take Two.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The Al Awir direction is now reached by taking Exit 64 [see blue sign board pictured]. Don’t take this route to go to Fujairah. Continue straight...”

Monday, January 5, 2009

Eight Emiratis Make the Fifty Richest Arabs List

Did you make the list in 2008?

Arabian Business.Com has released the complete list of the World’s Richest Arabs who hail from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Check out their bank balance at the end of 2008, the sectors from which they made their pile and where they rank with other Arab billionaires.

The reader’s comments are interesting. One hinting reader says:

“If any of these billionaires give zakat [alms to the poor] to poor people like me, they are creating another billionaire.

Source: The World’s 50 Richest Arabs, Arabian Business. Com, 14 December 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Header of the Richest Arabs List (courtesy at the above link).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Challenges for Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson in Dubai

On the Grapevine
The word buzzing around the news sites (e.g. see this link) is that Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson are looking to buy a house in Dubai, possibly on the Palm Island development.

Media Haven, Sun and Glitz
Noting the recommendation from the Beckham family, the attractive factor appears to be the chance to escape the media frenzy of LA. When the Beckhams snapped up a luxury pad in Dubai, they could use it to escape the frenzied media circus back in LA.

There is also the lure of the beach and sunshine. Furthermore, Lindsay loves the glitziness and opulence of Dubai and the pair were entranced with the resort after Sam did a gig at the recent opening of the Atlantis Hotel.

Property Market
With property prices dropping across the Dubai market it should not be a problem for Lohan and Ronson to snare a luxurious abode. As indicated in this article, UAE property marketers regularly drop the price or give houses away to celebs to encourage other less known investors to put their dirhams on the table.

Challenges in Dubai
There are further challenges that Lohan and Ronson will face that pertain to the UAE law and culture.

Over Exposure
As a sun lover, Lohan has the habit of throwing off the clothes in order to get a sun tan. This tendency will attract the paparazzi as it did recently on Miami Beach. If Lohan is seen in bikinis like this one she may well contravene the Decent Laws of Dubai, even though they are not as strict as the laws in neighboring Sharjah.

Before they buy their house, Lohan and Ronson might do well to read this article entitled, ‘What to Wear in the UAE’ and this article on ‘respectful clothing’.

Unmarried People Associating
In writing about the ‘Sex on the Beach’ saga of 2008 it was mentioned that the UAE law proclaims that “an unmarried man and woman are not allowed to associate by themselves in an apartment or a car.” The laws have not been adjusted to apply to two lovers of the same sex and this leads to a further challenge.

Lesbian Liaison
Lohan and Ronson are in a lesbian relationship. While the UAE has invited high profile homosexuals such as Elton John and George Michael to perform their concerts in the Emirates, homosexual activity is illegal in this country.

The 2008 incident of two women jailed and deported for kissing, fondling and engaging in ‘indecent acts’ on a public beach in Dubai [different from the case cited above] revealed that the Dubai courts were taking a hard line and were keen to make the sentence tougher because it was two women involved in the act.

American universities invited to establish Middle Eastern branches in the Emirates, usually have a tradition of maintaining human rights and equal opportunity in students admission without prejudice to race, culture, disability, gender and sexual orientation. But they are finding it difficulty to be true to their convictions in the UAE. See New York University-Abu Dhabi campus; US Colleges, UAE Campuses and Conflicts of Interest.

The UAE law is not always applied consistently and the values are unclear and often confusing (see this article for detail).

Because transgressors who get caught in the UAE are often hit hard it would pay for Lohan and Ronson to do their homework and have a hard think before signing up for a house and a lifestyle in the Emirates.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Weighty Work for UAE Beach Cleaners

Most days workers from the respective UAE Municipality clean the beaches of the country.

In addition to the usual trees, wood and rubbish from boats the workers have to clear up an inordinate amount of trash and the frequent oil slicks that wash up on the UAE beaches.

Fortunately each Municipality has one or more mechanical beach cleaner and sifter. One of the team will drive the machine up and down the beach while the other will pick up things by hand and do the hard and dirty work.

I have posted some photos today at the following link in order to illustrate some of the surprises and challenges that these workers face in their job:

Weighty Work for Local Beach Cleaners, Facebook, 3 January 2009.

Image: The driver of the Beach Cleaner and Sifter at Khor Kalba beach today contemplates how he and his fellow worker might deal with this huge challenge. The beautiful Hajar Mountains form the backdrop to their daily work.

Dr Geoff Pound

Here Comes the Sun Over the UAE East Coast

One of the advantages of living on the east coast of the UAE is being able to see the sun rising over the Arabian Sea.

The sunrise from Khor Kalba beach is so often spectacular (there are some photos at this link taken on 2 January 2009 when the sun battled to break through the clouds and sea fog).

Every day it is different as the red ball conjures its magic over the waves.

This morning it was a different performance. One view of the sun is pictured here and a short series of pictures is posted at the Facebook link below:

Sun Rising over UAE’s East Coast Today, Facebook, 3 January 2009.

If you don’t live on the east coast, come and visit and get up early enough to see the solar fireworks displays.

Further on Fujairah:
Recent Articles on Fujairah in Focus or click here to subscribe:

Fujairah Ruler Mourns the Death of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, FIF.

Fujairah Corniche: A Great Place for a Jet Ski…to Improve Your Golf Swing…Mend Your Nets…Have a Lie DownExercise

Looking to buy an apartment in Fujairah with a sea view? What about this one? Or this one? Or this high tower?

Ever seen the Fujairah fort…in the day…or at night?

If you’re coming to Fujairah, you may need these updated travel instructions from Dubai/Sharjah.

Don't forget bull butting in Fujairah on Friday afternoons. It is good to visit in the cooler season. Arrive at a flexible 4.00pm (Fujairah time!) You've been to Madrid and Pamplona for bull fighting, bull goring and blood and guts? Add to your experience with an episode of Fujairah bull-butting . Click here for your orientation. You still won't be able to understand the mystery but it is a chance to enjoy what Fujairah residents have been doing for centuries.

Send me a message or connect with me via Facebook.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Kalba fisherman in the morning sunlight.

Chill Out on Versace Hotel Refrigerated Beach in Dubai

Stories are popping up in the Times Online and the New York Times about plans by Versace, the renowned fashion house, to create the world’s first refrigerated beach so that Dubai hotel guests can walk comfortably across the sand on scorching days.

In these articles Soheil Abedian, the founder and president of Palazzo Versace, is quoted as saying that he believed it is possible to design a refrigerated beach and make it sustainable. “We will suck the heat out of the sand to keep it cool enough to lie on,” he said. “This is the kind of luxury that top people want.”

International writers love to seize about the bizarre and the luxurious when it comes to articles on Dubai and the UAE but the country has given plenty of material so that the ‘believe or not’ essays can be written frequently about the Emirates.

Environmental Concerns
Beyond the bizarre is the concern that such stories appear in the ‘Environment’ section of the newspapers. Readers with strengthening environmentalist convictions will find these articles increase their rage, especially when a luxury-chilled beach is being planned for the country that has the world’s largest ecological footprint and at a time when many will conclude that such a cool creation is thumbing the nose at international efforts to reduce global warming and combat climate change.

Jonathan Leake, Chill Out, You Beautiful People, the Versace Beach is Refrigerated, Times Online, 14 December 2008.

James Kanter, Global Tourism and a Chilled Beach in Dubai, The New York Times, 2 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A luxury beach resort wants to make this experience cooler (photo courtesy of the NYT at the above link).

American CBS Network Declares Dubai Has Gone Bust

A New Year story on America’s CBS evening news looks at the downturn in Dubai, especially in the property market and building industry.

The article and video is full of hyperbolic statements such as, ‘Once Booming Dubai Goes Bust.’

Judging by the comments on the site, it seems that this is another of the ‘riches to rage’ stories that international viewers and readers love to see.

To see and read the report: Once Booming Dubai Goes Bust, CBS, 2 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Villas on Jumeira Palm Island, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo courtesy of CBS News Photographic Essay)

Friday, January 2, 2009

UAE Mourns the Death of the Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain

Death of UAE Ruler
It was reported on Friday 2 January 2009 by WAM, the state news agency, that the ruler of Umm al-Quwain, one of the seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, has died.

Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla, died on the morning of Friday 2 January 2009, in London.

Funeral Prayers
WAM further reported (2 January 2009) that special prayers for the dead would be offered for the late Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla on Saturday, January 3, after the "Asr" evening prayers at the Grand Mosque in Al-Ras, in Umm Al-Qaiwain.

H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al-Mualla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al-Qaiwain, would receive at his palace condolences for three days, beginning from Saturday.

Week of Mourning
The UAE President, Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, has ordered a week of national mourning and all government institutions to close for three days starting from Friday.

While not all emirates have issued statements pertaining to their state, several appear to be following the lead of Dubai where a week of mourning has been declared in the Emirate, during which flags shall fly at half mast, while all federal and local government departments and institutions shall remain closed for three days beginning from Friday.

All celebration activities, scheduled for Saturday, to mark the third anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as Ruler of Dubai, have been cancelled.

The wedding party of Sheikh Saeed Bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum and the daughter of Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, scheduled for Sunday 4 January, has been postponed.

Life and Legacy
Much will be recalled in the next few days about the life and legacy of Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla.

Shaikh Rashid was born in 1932 of the Al Ali tribe and he received a religious education at the hands of his father.

In the late 1950s he gained experienced in state affairs and became the ruler of Umm Al Quwain in 1981, after the abdication of his father, Shaikh Ahmad.

Shaikh Rashid was a close friend of the first UAE President Shaikh Zayed.

A tribute in Friday’s Gulf News lauded Shaikh Rashid's farsightedness, vision and wisdom.

Furthermore it stated that once when he was asked how he wanted to be remembered, Shaikh Rashid said: “I want to be mentioned in history as a fair ruler who tried his best to make his people enjoy the greatest deal of welfare, and that I had dedicated my life to preserve noble values that were followed by our ancestors.”

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al-Mualla.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Challenges Facing the Arab World in 2009

Rami Khouri, in the International Herald Tribune, takes a year-end look at trends in the Arab world during the past 12 months [and] reveals little to be optimistic about.

Here are some tasters from this article:

“The core weaknesses, distortions and dysfunctionalities of the Arab world all seemed to worsen during the past year. Here are the major trends that I believe define our region these days, and will persist for some years to come…”

On the One Hand
“On the one hand, many in our region continue to look abroad for protection or salvation, in the form of countries, ethnic groups or political movements that rely on foreign patronage for their survival more than they do on their own people."

"We remain deeply mired in a colonial-era mentality in many respects. The massive attention paid to awaiting the new Middle East policies of the Obama administration in the United States is the most dramatic manifestation of trend.”

On the Other Hand
“On the other hand, the single most important change in the Arab World in the past two decades has been the attempt by several hundred million people to break away from this "vassals-of-the-West" mentality, and instead to assert one's own identity and interests. The various Islamist movements in the region have been the main vehicles for such self-assertion, but these movements have not been able to translate their proven credibility into coherent state-building momentum.”

To read the entire article, follow this link:

Rami Khouri, Arabia’s Troubling Trends, IHT, 1 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “On the One Hand…. On the Other Hand…”

Prescription for Transforming Islam

With a new President in the White House, author and activist, Irshad Manji, states her prescription for transforming Islam, which includes a special role for the UAE and the Gulf States.

Here are some excerpts from her Newsweek essay published on the last day of 2008:

Empower Women
Ultimately, it is women who will help Muslims help themselves. The new U.S. president can benefit the Islamic world by engaging the entrepreneurial talents of Muslim women…

Encourage Microcredit
Enter a tiny miracle known as microcredit.

In this season of financial turmoil, it takes chutzpah, I confess, to propose more lending as the answer to anything. But extending minuscule loans to Muslim villagers has demonstrated its worth time and again, inspiring near-perfect repayment rates that shame today's industrial banks.

Better yet, microcredit has the backing of Islam. Khadija, beloved first wife of the Prophet Muhammad, was a self-made merchant who employed her husband for many years. If Muslim men are serious about emulating the life of Islam's messenger, they should have no qualms about letting their wives work for themselves. Moreover, according to traditional Islamic teachings, when a woman earns assets, she may spend 100 percent of them as she sees fit. Through microloans, Muslim women can launch community businesses that build profits and, ultimately, change cultures….

I know of a woman in Afghanistan who accepted a $200 microloan, started a candle-making venture, and used some of the returns to pay for reading lessons. She found female-friendly verses in the Qur'an and recited them to her still-illiterate husband. When he realized that these words came from God's book rather than a secular declaration of human rights, he immediately stopped beating her. Not exactly paradise, but no longer the pit of hell…

Establish a New Alliance
In adopting this [microcredit] policy, the new president should ally with other countries, each of which would shave a sliver of its annual security budget and pool the proceeds into a coherent microloan program. Bye-bye to the Coalition of the Willing. Hello, salaam, and possibly shalom to the Alliance of the Interdependent.

Western nations ought to join the alliance, but Muslim countries, particularly the royally rich Gulf states, must also pull their weight. The next U.S. president can whisper into the ears of emirs his respect for the Qu'ran's message of personal responsibility. Islam's scripture tells Muslims that "God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." Translation for Muslim leaders: put your money where your moderation is…

To read the entire article, follow this link:
Irshad Manji, ‘The Best way to Fight Islamic Extremism’, Newsweek, 31 December 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The best way to fight radicalism is to empower Muslim women worldwide.”