Arab Social Media Influencer Summit kicks off in Dubai with star-studded lineup

The Kattan sisters founded popular beauty brand Huda Beauty and spoke at Monday's event. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Arab Social Media Influencer Summit kicks off in Dubai with star-studded lineup

DUBAI: The glittering who’s who of the Middle East’s social media world gathered in Dubai Monday for a day of talks at the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS), organized by the Dubai Press Club.

This was the third edition of the summit, and also its biggest yet. The event featured a star-studded guest list, with Saudi TV personality Lojain Omran, fashion blogger Ola Farahat, Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jasmi and Saudi fashion blogger and designer Tamara Al-Gabbani participating, according to event organizers.

The event included talks given by high-profile influencers. Huda and Mona Kattan, known for their hugely-popular makeup brand Huda Beauty, spoke about their experience of building a beauty brand that has gone on to hit shelves around the world. Meanwhile, Murad and Nataly Osmann, creators of the much-copied “#followmeto” project that went viral on Instagram, also discussed their influences and inspirations and talked about their ascent to fame.

Social media influencers from all over the Arab region gathered together for networking opportunities, panels and discussions at the World Trade Center in the heart of the city and the day was topped off with a keynote address by Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan.

 “We are delighted to welcome an iconic Arab figure such as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, who is also a well-known character in the field of humanitarian and charitable work with an emphasis on issues related to education and youth development,” said Mona Ghanem Al-Marri, president of Dubai Press Club and chairperson of the ASMIS Organizing Committee, in her speech to the crowd.

Other speakers included Roaya Saleh; Bahraini restaurateur and founder of the Villa Mamas restaurant, Egyptian comedy star Mohamed Henedy and Max of Arabia, the half-British, half-American social media star who lives in the UAE and speaks Arabic like a pro.


Sri Lanka abusing UN law to make arrests: rights group

Updated 17 June 2019
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Sri Lanka abusing UN law to make arrests: rights group

  • Police attempted to arrest a journalist for his writing on anti-Muslim riots and Buddhist extremists using the UN-backed law
  • Police have also drawn criticism over the detention of a Muslim woman during anti-Muslim riots last month

COLOMBO: Media activists on Monday accused Sri Lankan police of using a UN convention on hate speech to crack down on media freedom and the country’s Muslim minority.
The Free Media Movement rights group said the police Special Task Force (STF) attempted to arrest a respected journalist for his writing on anti-Muslim riots and Buddhist extremists using the UN-backed law.
The STF told a magistrate on Friday they were pursuing freelance writer Kusal Perera under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act.
“The Free Media Movement strongly condemns the attempts to pursue legal action under the provisions of the ICCPR Act and urges all responsible stakeholders to draw their attention to avoid using the law unfairly,” the group said.
Police have also drawn criticism over the detention of a Muslim woman during anti-Muslim riots last month. She was wearing a T-shirt with a print of a ship’s steering wheel which police mistook for the Dharma Chakra, a Buddhist symbol.
The woman was held in remand custody for three weeks before a senior police officer intervened to press for her release.
Award winning author and poet Shakthika Sathkumara has been held since April under the ICCPR act for his work hinting at homosexuality among the Buddhist clergy.
A senior police source told AFP separate investigations had been launched into the three cases.
“We feel that police exceeded their authority in using the ICCPR and we will take action against those responsible,” the officer said, asking not to be named.
The leftist People’s Liberation Front (JVP) party said police have arbitrarily detained several Muslim men and women since the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people.
The suicide bombings on three churches and three hotels were blamed on local Muslim militants.
Anti-Muslim riots after the April 21 bombings left one Muslim man dead and hundreds of Muslim-owned businesses, homes, vehicles and mosques wrecked.
Sri Lankan authorities are very sensitive to perceived insults to Buddhism, the majority religion.
However Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court in 2017 awarded 900,000 rupees ($5,000) in damages to a woman who police detained for four days for having a Buddha tattooed on her arm.