UAE marks 47th National Day by unveiling Sheikh Zayed’s statue in India

UAE ambassador to India Ahmed Al-Banna alongside the statue of the UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Al-Nahyan. (Photo/UAE embassy)
Updated 03 December 2018
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UAE marks 47th National Day by unveiling Sheikh Zayed’s statue in India

  • Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna: As a national leader, Sheikh Zayed was widely respected as a man who sought endlessly to promote peace and reconciliation

NEW DELHI: To mark the 47th National Day of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a statue of its visionary leader and founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was unveiled in India’s capital New Delhi on Saturday evening.
“The 47th National Day of the UAE coincides with the 100th birth anniversary of our loving founding father ‘Sheikh Zayed bin Al Nahyan,” says Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, the UAE ambassador to India.
“In 2018, we are celebrating as ‘The year of Zayed’ so to make this event more memorable and significant, we specially unveiled the sculpture of Sheikh Zayed on this auspicious day,” said the envoy in an interview with Arab News.
“As a national leader, Sheikh Zayed was widely respected as a man who sought endlessly to promote peace and reconciliation. The UAE’s image is founded on a core belief system of tolerance and coexistence,” he said.
“Our belief in his vision gives the UAE its unique ability to welcome different races, religions, and cultures without abandoning its social and cultural identity,” added Ambassador Al-Banna.
He underlined that the late sheik’s “principles of peace” are the elements required for maintaining peace and for a better future for our next generation at a time when we face wars and internal and external conflicts.
Arzan Khambatta, the famous Indian artist who sculpted the statue feels “privileged to be part of this project.”
“It was an honor for me to be selected to make a sculpture of someone as big as Sheikh Zayed,” Khambatta told Arab News.
“If you look at my works, I have been sculpting for the last 30 years now. I generally don’t do life sculptures. This is one of the very few ones that I have done,” said the Mumbai-based artist.
“I studied about Sheikh Zayed and found that his excellency was a leader of great foresight. The UAE that we see today was visualized by the king years back,” added Khambatta, whose art work can be found many corporate offices, public places and other landmarks.


Malaysia says it won’t host any more events involving Israel

Updated 16 January 2019
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Malaysia says it won’t host any more events involving Israel

  • Malaysia is a strong supporter of the Palestinian plight
  • The government said Israeli swimmers cannot join the competition in July that serves as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Malaysia’s foreign minister said Wednesday that the government will not budge over a ban on Israeli athletes in a para swimming competition and has decided that the country will not host any events in the future involving Israel.
Malaysia, a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, is among the predominantly Muslim countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. The government has said Israeli swimmers cannot join the competition in eastern Sarawak state in July, which serves as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the Cabinet affirmed last week that no Israeli delegates can enter Malaysia for sporting or other events in solidarity with the Palestinians.
“The Cabinet has also decided that Malaysia will not host any more events involving Israel or its representatives. This is to me, a decision to reflect the government’s firm stance over the Israeli issue,” Saifuddin said after meeting a coalition of Muslim groups. The groups submitted a memorandum urging the government to stick to the ban and not to repeat mistakes in the past of allowing Israel delegates into the country.
Saifuddin said the Palestinian cause was not just a religious issue but also a human right violation.
“It’s about fighting on behalf of the oppressed,” he said.
Israel’s Paralympic Committee did not immediately reply to an email requesting comment on Malaysia’s move.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said the International Paralympic Committee can withdraw Malaysia’s right to host the July 29-Aug 4 championship involving athletes from some 70 countries if they wish to do so. The committee has said it was disappointed with Mahathir’s comments but hopes to find a solution to the issue.
This isn’t the first time Malaysia has stopped Israeli athletes from competing in a sports event. In 2015, two Israeli windsurfers had to withdraw from a competition on the resort island of Langkawi after they were refused visas to enter. The following year, Malaysia decided not to host a 2017 conference of the world football governing body FIFA because an Israeli delegation was scheduled to participate.
But earlier this year, the government allowed a high-level Israeli delegation to attend a UN conference in Kuala Lumpur, sparking widespread anger among Muslim groups.
Some 60 percent of Malaysia’s 32 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims. Many have taken to the streets in the past to support the Palestinian cause.