UAE app to provide Friday sermons in English and Urdu

A survey noted that over half of UAE respondents preferred an Urdu translation of Friday sermons. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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UAE app to provide Friday sermons in English and Urdu

  • The new service will enable non-Arabic speakers to follow Friday sermons in English and Urdu initially
  • Etisalat and Du are offering free data packages for the Friday sermon translation service users
DUBAI: An initiative to translate the content of Friday sermons in UAE mosques into multiple languages will be available from The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments’ mobile application.
The new service will enable non-Arabic speakers to follow Friday sermons in English and Urdu initially. Efforts are being made to expand the scope of the initiative to include a choice of foreign languages.
The project is aimed at catering to the needs of the non-Arabic speaking community across the UAE and help them gain a better perspective of the values and teachings of Islam.
According to a survey, 55 percent of respondents preferred the translation of the Friday sermon in Urdu. Additionally, 92 per cent of the respondents were smartphone users.
The initiative is collaboration of the Department of Community Development, the Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi, Etisalat and Du.
Etisalat and Du are offering free data packages for the Friday sermon translation service users via the ‘AWQAF’ mobile application. Listeners will be provided with free data packages and will be exempt from payment on using the service.


Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets

Updated 21 July 2019
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Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets

  • Twitter said the accounts harassed people linked to the Baha’i faith
  • The Baha’i faith is a religious minority that has long faced persecution in Iran

WASHINGTON: A day after Twitter suspended the accounts of several Iranian state media outlets, the social networking service said Saturday it acted after harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith.
Amid soaring tensions in the region, heightened by Iran’s seizure on Friday of a British-flagged tanker, some of the affected media outlets had speculated that the suspensions were related to their coverage of the seizure.
But Twitter cited what it said was the coordinated and targeted harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith, a religious minority that has long faced persecution in Iran.
It did not name the suspended accounts, and said it was continuing to investigate the matter.
“Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules,” read English-language messages on each of the Iranian media outlets’ accounts.
Mehr news agency, which is close to moderate conservatives in Iran, said its Farsi-language account appeared to have been blocked late Friday following its reports on the seizure of the tanker Stena Impero in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it seized the Swedish-owned tanker for breaking “international maritime rules” in the strait, a chokepoint for around a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.
Mehr’s Farsi-language Twitter page was inaccessible on Saturday, along with those of the official IRNA news agency and the agency of the Young Journalists’ Club.
“Since last night and after seizure of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz the account of the Young Journalists’ Club and some other users have been suspended,” the YJC said on its website.
Mehr noted that its Mehr Diplomacy account, which publishes analysis and interviews on foreign policy, was also offline.
Another account taken down belonged to Ali Akbar Raefipoor, a hard-line public speaker.
None of the owners of the suspended accounts said they had been given any reason for the move by Twitter.
The micro-blogging platform is banned in Iran, but many officials still have accounts and people access them by using a virtual private network, or VPN, to bypass censorship.