UK cultural festival focused on Muslims packed with thought-provoking events

A still from Lind and Sansour’s 2015 film “In the Future, They Ate From the Finest Porcelain.” (Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai and Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid)
Updated 15 April 2018
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UK cultural festival focused on Muslims packed with thought-provoking events

  • The sci-fi panel will focus on new sci-fi perspectives and leading voices in the field

DUBAI: “What does Sci-Fi reveal about how technology will affect the future of religion, power and politics?”

This is just one of the subjects to be tackled by a panel of artists and writers participating in the inaugural MFest in London. MFest bills itself as a festival of culture and ideas dedicated to Muslim communities. With over 25 events running April 27 to 29 at The British Library and P21 Gallery, MFest, a not-for-profit organization, aims to provide a platform in the center of London for emerging and established writers, performers and artists to present their works and bring together Britain’s varied Muslim population. The program includes talks, workshops, and performances with events for families, children and adults.

The sci-fi panel, curated by Sindbad Sci-Fi under the theme “Spicing Up Sci-Fi: The Dunes Strike Back,” takes place Saturday April 28, with award-winning journalist and playwright Faisal Al-Yafai chairing. It will focus on new sci-fi perspectives and leading voices in the field; participants include Noura Al-Noman from the UAE, author of the “Ajwan” space saga; filmmaker Soren Lind, who will present the plot for a new film “In Vitro,” co-directed with Palestinian filmmaker Larissa Sansour; “Zero Point” author Nafeez Ahmed; and Naomi Foyle, author of “The Gaia Chronicles,” an eco-science fantasy quartet set in a post-fossil fuel Mesopotamia. 

The panel will also use the themes raised in Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi epic novel “Dune,” as a springboard to explore the sociological impacts of today’s pressing ecological issues. Discussion points will include the potential impact of fictional narratives on real-world environmental challenges such as water conservation, peak oil, and the repercussions of global warfare.

Participants will also discuss how sci-fi could help to explore the ethical and spiritual challenges posed by the rapid pace of technological innovation, including artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and space colonialism.


Wrestling history as Jeddah gets ready for royal rumble

World Wrestling Entertainment stars, from left, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Titus O’Neil and Roman Reigns. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Wrestling history as Jeddah gets ready for royal rumble

  • Sell-out crowd will witness history in Jeddah as WWE's biggest stars come to town
  • Roman Reigns said that his previous Wrestlemania bout with Brock Lesnar “took every ounce of effort he had in the ring.” 

 JEDDAH: A sell-out crowd will witness history when the Saudi General Sports Authority and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stage the Greatest Royal Rumble Special at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah. 

WWE stars are as excited as fans about the event on Friday, a first for the Kingdom. American wrestler Seth Rollins, the WWE intercontinental champion, told Arab News on Thursday that the Royal Rumble would be his first title defense. 

“You have three top-tier competitors aside from myself — the Miz, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. Any one of them would make a great intercontinental champion, so I have to step up my game,” Rollins said.

Roman Reigns, a former American football player, said that his previous Wrestlemania bout with Brock Lesnar “took every ounce of effort he had in the ring.” 

Universal champion

Discussing his scheduled rematch with the universal champion, he said: “At the end of the day I fell short. This is a good example that at any time you have to be ready to pick yourself up.” 

Finn Balor said that wrestling contests brought out his alter ego. 

“When I am Finn Balor, I am relaxed and very chill, but when I enter the ring as the demon, I find the darker side to my personality.” 

The Greatest Royal Rumble will stream live on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view outside the Middle East. 

The event will be broadcast live in the Middle East on MBC Action, KSA Sports 1, Abu Dhabi Sports 1 and Abu Dhabi Sports 6, as well as stream live on Dawri Plus. 

The Friday card includes the first 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble match.