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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Saudi Arabia

Map, flag and data from Wikipedia.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9p0115

Saudi Arabia is the second largest Muslim country (Algeria is the largest). Its population of 27 million does very well if a citizen is one of the 7,000 princes who can do whatever they like, and less well if the citizen is a man, men can travel freely and divorce without reason but cannot say a syllable against the absolute monarch or sharia law; and horrible for women who are treated all their lives like children or useful beasts of burden.

The very look of a woman is offensive; in public they must be covered completely. So poisonous is a woman that if she is raped she must be executed, even if she is only 6 years old. Because the law insists it was her fault. Always.

Saudi Arabia gets away with massive human rights abuses because it is swimming in oil, and ridiculously wealthy, and a major buyer of weapons, which the United States falls over itself selling to totalitarian regimes.

The success of religionists in planting the idea that cold-blooded murder of little girls and bloggers is holy has been widely noted. Religionists in neighboring countries have convinced young unemployed men lacking skills that shooting cartoonists and Jews and Syrians and Nigerians is good. And Saudi Arabia responds by building walls around its country, to keep out the fighters they so happily groomed.
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News sources from Saudi Arabia all spew out stories about men and the greatness of the cruel despots who think nothing of lopping off body parts including heads. This news feed is about fashion, and I like it.

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#SareeSearch: US India envoy seeks help choosing the perfect Independence Day outfit
Arab News
Tue, 2017-08-15 15:39

DUBAI: The Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in India made waves on Twitter by asking followers to decide which saree she should wear to commemorate Indian Independence Day, which falls on Tuesday, in a social media competition.
MaryKay Carlson revealed the winning outfit Tuesday morning while attending celebrations in New Delhi, tweeting: “#SareeSearch success! Excited to attend #IndependenceDayIndia celebration wearing the voters’ choice — Kanjeevaram. #WeWearCulture.”

Carlson used the hashtag #sareesearch to document her hunt for the perfect Indian outfit for the event, much to the delight of her social media followers.
When she narrowed down her search to four possible choices, she created a Twitter poll and let the fashion aficionados of the Twittersphere make her sartorial decision.

Her efforts were praised online, with many thanking the diplomat for attempting to assimilate.

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Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:44:35 +0000

Meet the Muslim Miss Universe star who wore a kaftan instead of a bikini
Denise Marray
Mon, 2017-08-14 10:19

LONDON: British Muslim Muna Jama has made headlines around the world in recent days for winning the right to wear a kaftan, rather than a bikini, in the swimwear section of the Miss Universe Great Britain beauty pageant.
Although the 27-year-old did not win the competition, she is making giant strides for women who wish to dress as they please.
The media spotlight on her fight to wear a kaftan has also given her a platform to highlight issues she cares passionately about, namely helping to tackle illegal migration and child abuse in East Africa. As part of her efforts to raise awareness on the matters, she co-founded Cloudless Research, a start-up focusing on humanitarian issues.
Arab News caught up with Jama in her home city of London. She certainly has striking looks — she is slim with fine features and large, expressive eyes. She was simply dressed for the interview in jeans, a white T-shirt and a well-cut jacket. Model looks aside, she is evidently someone with a very clear idea of what she wants to do in terms of bringing attention to the causes she is championing. She is well equipped to shape her message with a bachelor’s degree in media and communications from Goldsmiths, University of London.

It takes bravery, emotional resilience and most importantly surrounding yourself with strong minded people who are prepared to make great sacrifices to welcome permanent and positive change. I may not be able to unwrite a moment in my life but I know a moment will never define me. I will always rise above your expectations and pushed past your limitations. You are what you say you are, and your imaginations can be your worst enemy unless you overcome your fears. Be careful of what you think of others because it's a reflection of what you are. Work at being a better person, and one day we can welcome a better World. . . This moment has proved that I am capable of almost anything I set my mind to and limitations is a status waiting to be changed. I thank everyone who stood beside me and believed in my vision. . . #missuniverse #mugb2017 #missuniversegb #fear #migrant #refugee #positive #change #love #modelling #friends #family #girls #pageant #empowerment #inspiration #inspire #aspire #history #munajama #caftan #kaftan #stage #london #dubai #love #indonesia #malaysia @missuniversegb Photographer @leedarephotography

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After graduating, she worked in the sales department at Mercedes-Benz but her life changed completely when, in 2015, she saw tragic images of desperate people dying in their attempts to cross the Mediterranean. She gave up her job and traveled to Somalia and Egypt to meet refugees in an effort to understand their plight and their motivation for fleeing their homelands.
“In Sabah, near Cairo, I met many people who were promised new lives if they made the sea and land crossings. These vulnerable people who fled from Somalia due to the civil war told me their stories — many have lost family members and are homeless. Some do not have the skill sets or language proficiency to work — some are working as maids or domestic workers.
“In Somalia, I saw so much potential but this is one of the poorest countries in the world. The people are hardworking but they don’t have the resources to help themselves. They need international support,” she said.

A proud highlight for me this year, what an amazing experience! I made history! The contestants and I raised so much money and most importantly raised awareness for Strongbones Children's Charity and Sheroes Hangout in India. Opportunities like this do not come around often so it's important to make the most and take in every moment like it's your last. I have had a great and positive response from people from all walks of life and could not be more thankful that this opportunity has made our paths cross. Big thank you to Paula and Miss Universe for the chance and of course I can't forget the lovely ladies that I had the pleasure to share the stage with - to all the Miss Universe Great Britain finalist and congratulations to Anna Burdzy, well done beautiful! #missuniverse #maraldress #mugb2017 #onecrown #blacksash #munajama #missuniversegb #pageant #dress #eveningwear #London #NewYork #Paris #girls #women #power #strength #empowerment #red #black #white #MissUniverse #page #pageantry #catwalk #Model #history @missuniversegb . Photography @nickreynoldsphotography

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She believes that much more focus needs to be put on solving the problems within the countries from which people are fleeing — poverty, oppression and strife.
To understand the route she has chosen to take, it helps to learn more about her family background. Jama was born in Jeddah, her parents, both born in Somaliland, migrated to Saudi Arabia from their homeland when her father’s livestock trade business ran into difficulties due to the civil war. The family subsequently moved to the UK when Jama was just one-month-old and settled in Forest Gate, east London. She is one of ten children — seven boys and three girls. The family are a devout Muslims who regularly attend prayers at the local mosque.
“My religion is a big part of me. I am trying to live my religion as best I know — following the Qur’an,” she said.
She grew up in a majority-Christian area alongside other faiths and cultures. “We always respected each others’ differences,” she said.
Jama said that, as a schoolgirl, she was interested in clothes and fashion and following certain celebrities, such as Rihanna, but not in an excessive way.
“I like dressing up but I have never modeled,” she said. “In terms of my dress — I pretty much wear what I want to wear. My family are very open minded.”

Her mother and grandmother wear the hijab and Jama said that she too would be happy to wear a head covering in the future. She was particularly close to her grandmother who recently passed away in tragic circumstances. She was traveling to Somaliland where Jama was going to surprise her with the news that she was entering the Miss Universe Great Britain competition after winning the right to compete in a kaftan during the swimwear portion of the pageant.
“I was very excited to tell her the news that I was going to re-enter with the intention of going through to the finals,” she said.
Sadly, that conversation never took place as her grandmother died during the flight. This loss is still raw and clearly the influence of her grandmother and her support is something Jama greatly treasures. Indeed, she credits her grandmother and her mother as strong role models in her life.
Jama is keen to state that the competition organizer and all 40 women competing alongside her in the pageant were supportive from the outset regarding her decision to wear a kaftan and she in turn respects their choice to wear swimwear. She has received many messages of support from men and women of different cultures and faith groups from all around the world.
She feels it is important that women should not be pigeon-holed and points out that women participating in beauty pageants often use their role to fight for humanitarian causes.
For the time being, Jama is focused on raising awareness on migration issues and is caught in the middle of a media storm.
“I am just a girl from east London. I am overwhelmed at the moment, I didn’t expect to get this level of attention. I don’t represent a race, religion or country — I represent me. I am Muslim and Somalian and proud of this but my actions are my own,” she said.
She has set her course and is determined to put the publicity to good use.

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Mon, 14 Aug 2017 04:32:01 +0000

London Arabia Art and Fashion Week shows off rich Mideast culture in British capital
Denise Marray|Arab News
Wed, 2017-08-02 21:29

LONDON: The London Arabia Art and Fashion Week launched Tuesday with a glamorous evening reception attended by royals, diplomats and guests from across the Arab world and Europe. Event organizer Omar Bdour said he was proud to showcase Arab culture and heritage alongside British creatives and to convey a message of love, unity and hope. He said such inter-cultural dialogue through proactive engagement is imperative to break down barriers.
Speaking of the recent terrorist attacks in the UK, he said: “We will celebrate everything the terrorists hate — they will never stop our collaboration.”
Guest speaker Lord Jeremy Purvis of Tweed, a member of the House of Lords who represented the Scottish School of Fashion and Textiles for a decade, addressed the guests and spoke of his visits to the Middle East and North Africa(MENA) region.
“I know how the creativity and culture of textiles and design can cross borders. I have made 20 visits to the MENA region this year, including areas afflicted by great tension and conflict. I have seen the best and worst of humanity. Tonight we are celebrating the best of humanity through art, design and literature.”
Key event supporter Professor Aldwyn Cooper, vice chancellor and chief executive of London’s Regent’s University, said: “This is a cultural event that makes a real difference.”
Upon arriving at the launch at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in Knightsbridge, guests first had a chance to enjoy an art collection featuring work by the Saudi abstract artist Princess Lamia Mohammad Al-Sabhan, Qatari artists Amal Al-Aathem, Ali Hassan and Ahmad Al-Musaifri, Alia Al-Farsi from Oman, May Al-Saad from Kuwait, Tariq Saeed from Bahrain, Jehad Al-Ameri from Jordan and British sculptor Mark Coreth. Al-Aathem, whose beautiful paintings juxtapose the face of a woman with images of the moon, curated the exhibition.
Speaking to Arab News, she said: “This is a very important opportunity to reflect our Arab culture. As artists, we want to demonstrate our love of peace, not conflict. We are contemporary artists with our own distinct identities with traditional roots. As artists we are not political — we respect our land, our culture and religion.”
Ahmad Al-Musaifri put two striking artworks on display, showing the hardship and pressures faced by women today. The first was the anguished face of a woman representing the thousands of women caught up in the wars that are ravaging the region.
“I wondered how these women must feel in these terrible conditions,” he said.
The second image conveyed a sense of the pressures felt by women everywhere — the pressures of striving to find a place in a competitive, often male-dominated world.
Alia Al-Farsi’s striking painting “What we Possessed for a While” drew attention at the opening. It showed a woman turned away from a man whose face showed his despair at losing her. Another of her works, “Bird on the Tree of Hope,” showed a young couple at the beginning of their relationship — full of promise.
Asked about her participation in the event, she said: “London is a very important city to all artists.”
Hessa Al-Masoud, an entrepreneur from Riyadh who visited the show, said she was very impressed with the exhibition.
“There are many references to the art and culture of the Middle East. There is great color and diversity. I especially liked the pictures of traditional Arab men by the Kuwaiti artist May Al-Saad and the gorgeous paintings by Alia Al-Farsi. I also liked the wonderful animation and movement in the bronzes by the British sculptor Mark Coreth.”
Director of Communications for London Arabia, Mashael Al-Anazi from Saudi Arabia, looked stunning in a full-length white evening gown as she greeted guests.
“The main goal behind this event is to present Arab culture to Western culture. All people from everywhere can appreciate art and fashion, which transcends the differences between nations,” she said.
The fashion show was curated by Faris Al-Shehri, founder of the Jeddah-based Saudi Fashion Council which supports Saudi fashion designers and assists international designers in their bid to explore the market.
Speaking about his participation, he said: “It is one of my goals to support Middle Eastern designers as a follow on from my work as fashion program mentor on ‘Project Runway Middle East’.”
He added: “Art and fashion are very important mediums for people to express themselves. I hope art and fashion will bring people closer together.”
The fashion show featured the designs of Moroccans Albert Oiknine and Safae Ibrahimi, Hanan Heidari from Tunisia and Corrie Nielsen from UK.
Ibrahimi — whose de Mode label “Princess of Arabia” gowns shimmered with beautiful beading, floral motifs and exquisite embroidery — said: “I use a lot of traditional details in my kaftans but they have a modern touch.”
Internet-famous Saudi fashion blogger sisters Thana and Sakhaa Abdul — better known as “the Abduls” — sat front row at the show. Both are stylish ambassadors for fashion with a large and ever-expanding following on social media.
“We understand the importance of supporting up-and- coming designers,” said Thana. “Through our blog, we try to send a message about how important it is to support your local talent. We want to create an approach whereby you shop from an up-and- coming designer, wear something unique and help to raise their profile. We want to move away from chain store shopping.”
To that end, Thana was carrying a striking black evening handbag designed by Egyptian brand Okhtein. Meanwhile, Sakhaa looked stunning in a striking leather top and trousers by Saudi designer Mashael Al-Rajhi.
The sisters place priority on Middle Eastern designers to raise their profile. They have over 70,000 followers on Instagram and what they say makes a real impact.
The London Arabia Art and Fashion Week, which is in its second year, has expanded to include a book fair. Best-selling author Ahlam Mosteghanemi will be on hand for a book signing alongside Lebanese author, journalist and human rights activist Joumana Haddad, Syrian novelist Ghalia Kabbani and Palestinian novelist Huzama Habayeb.

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Wed, 02 Aug 2017 15:46:51 +0000

‘Islam is about unity,’ Muslim Miss World Australia 2017 says
Arab News
Tue, 2017-07-18 14:58

DUBAI: A Muslim woman who fled the Bosnian refugee camp she spent time in as a baby has been named Miss World Australia 2017.
Esma Voloder, 25, has come a long way from her war-torn roots and was awarded the coveted crown in a competition in Melbourne on Friday.
Voloder said that she hopes to use the title to challenge stereotypes associated with Islam.
“The Islam that I know, that is in the Qur’an, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world,” she said after her crowning ceremony.


My heart is full Gratitude and joy overtook me last night as I was crowned @missworldaustralia 2017 at @grandhyattmelbourne Last night re-affirmed that dreams really can become realities. We have all heard this and some of us have been fortunate to not only think it, but truly know it… though it has never prevented the doubt that creeps up on us... it is faith in the best outcome provides us with the strength and motivation to do our best and continue striving. So many people I would like to give a whole hearted thank you to- My family for your love and support. Miss World Australia team and @pageantqueenaus (Miss World Australia director) for your kindness, understanding, faith and trust in me. The judges who represented diverse and relevant elements and industries in Australia that I admire- from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need and giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted, fashion that keeps us feeling who we are, health and fitness which equips us with the energy to chase our dreams and send positive messages, and reality which showcases bravery to be who we are in front of a large audience. To @phuketpearls for the stunning crown inspired by the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge-it is so appreciated and considerate of you to have incorporated iconic Australian culture into your carefully handcrafted masterpiece, it is so beautiful and I love it dearly <3 The @hugthailand for your partnership and hospitality- I am so very excited to travel to the land of smiles once I have an extra big one to bring to your country @ozwearaustralia , @novoshoes and all our other sponsors for their generously donated gifts (products, thoughts, hospitality and love) . Each time I received something I felt so spoilt and meeting some of you has been a pleasure you are all so infectious and it really does translate in your products. Thank you for having myself as your ambassador. It has been a blessing to raise funds under #beautywithaprpose and for @varietyaustralia . Thank you Australia- for giving me a home and opportunity to do good #missworldaustralia2017

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“People tend to blame religion for the atrocities that are happening, but if we do that we take responsibility away from the individuals.”
The seasoned pageant competitor told the crowd that “a lot of things have been misconstrued about Islam.
“I feel that a category has been created that is not really what the Qur’an actually promotes. I believe Islam is about peace, unity, prosperity and inclusion.”

Voloder moved to Australia when she was five-months-old and went on to earn a degree in psychology.
She now works as a criminal profiler in Melbourne and said that she hopes to inspire unity in her new role.
“Despite what your personal beliefs are, if we all believe in what is good, we can work together and make this world a beautiful and liveable place while we are here.”


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Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:03:54 +0000

S.Koreans wowed by grandma’s diary of online makeup tips, life skills
Sun, 2017-07-16 11:34

By Haejin Choi and Minwoo Park
YONGIN, South Korea, July 16 : She gives tutorials on applying makeup so as to resemble Amy Winehouse, among others, and posts videos of attempts to try new activities such as kayaking, all spiced with a touch of humor.
Meet South Korea’s Park Mak-rye, a sprightly 70-year-old whose Youtube channel “Grandma’s Diary,” has made her a social media sensation, drawing more than 277,000 subscribers.
Park made her Youtube debut in January, when her grand-daughter’s video travelogue of their trip to Cairns in northeast Australia went viral.
It showed Park touching a kangaroo, diving on the Great Barrier Reef in a helmet that let her walk underwater, and splashing through the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon in a Santa Claus cap.
“One day my granddaughter filmed me in a few videos, and she must have uploaded them,” Park told Reuters at her home in Yongin, on the outskirts of the capital, Seoul.
“About 20 days later, she tells me ‘Granny, we hit the jackpot!’“
Park’s granddaughter, who asked not to be identified, said she uploaded the video to help teach her a new skill and communicate online.
Its surging popularity helped convince Park to upload more of her personal stories.
Park’s most popular video, titled “Going to the dentist and market makeup look,” in which she dons black eyeliner and red lipstick, has drawn more than 1.8 million views.
She now has 43 videos on her Youtube channel, with more than 108,000 followers on Instagram. Fans have crossed the country to visit Park at the restaurant she has run for more than four decades, and she has reconnected with old friends.
Internet penetration in South Korea is 89 percent, a 2017 report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism shows. But just under a quarter of those in their 70s know how to use the Internet, a 2016 poll by a government agency showed.
Park’s story offers evidence of her fresh lease on life.
Hundreds of fans flocked to her first live makeup show in Seoul on Sunday, cheering her as she waved smilingly back.
“I thought I would end up living in the shadow for my entire life without ever seeing light, but it is finally full of sunshine,” she said. (Additional reporting by Nayoun Choi; Editing by Karishma Singh and Clarence Fernandez)

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Sun, 16 Jul 2017 09:14:28 +0000