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.


Instagram co-founders resign from social media company

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which bought Instagram in 2012, founders Mike Krieger, left, and Kevin Systrom ‘extraordinary product leaders.’ (Reuters)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Instagram co-founders resign from social media company

  • Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, just before going public, at a price that seemed inconceivable at the time — $1 billion
  • Instagram has largely escaped Facebook’s high-profile problems over user privacy, foreign elections interference and fake news

SAN FRANCISCO: The co-founders of Instagram are resigning their positions with the social media company without explanation.
Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said in a statement late Monday that he and Mike Krieger, Instagram’s chief technical officer, plan to leave the company in the next few weeks and take time off “to explore our curiosity and creativity again.”
“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” Systrom said. “We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter.”
“Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do,” Systrom said. “We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion.”
No explanation was given for their sudden departure from the photo-sharing network they founded in 2010.
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, just before going public, at a price that seemed inconceivable at the time — $1 billion — especially for a little-known startup with no profit. At the time Instagram was ad-free, with a loyal following of 31 million users who were all on mobile devices — still a somewhat elusive bunch for the web-born Facebook back then. Since then, the service has grown to more than 1 billion users and has of course added plenty of advertisements.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Systrom and Krieger “extraordinary product leaders” and said he was looking forward “to seeing what they build next.”
The departures are a challenge for Facebook. Instagram has been a bright spot for company not just because it’s seen as a more uplifting place than Facebook itself, but because it is popular with teens and young people — a group Facebook has had trouble keeping around.
Instagram has largely escaped Facebook’s high-profile problems over user privacy, foreign elections interference and fake news, even though it is not immune to any of these things (Facebook recently disclosed it has deleted hundreds of pages on its namesake site as well as Instagram that were linked to global misinformation campaigns intended to disrupt elections).
Though Systrom, in the early days of Instagram ads, famously checked each one personally to ensure it aligned with the app’s aesthetics, he was not as loudly anti-ads as the founder of another popular Facebook-acquired mobile app, WhatsApp.
WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum resigned in April.
Koum had signaled years earlier that he would take a stand against Facebook if the company’s push to increase profits demanded radical changes in the way WhatsApp operates. In a blog post written when Facebook announced the biggest acquisition in its history, Koum wrote that the deal wouldn’t have happened if WhatsApp “had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.”