Palestinians joyous as Shahin wins 2017 Arab Idol

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Yaqoub Shaheen. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 February 2017
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Palestinians joyous as Shahin wins 2017 Arab Idol

AMMAN: Thousands of Palestinians in Bethlehem’s Nativity Square erupted in joy Saturday night as the city’s Yacoub Shahin was declared winner of the 2017 Arab Idol contest.
Shahin sang the traditional winner’s song alongside fellow Palestinian contestant Amir Dandan and former Arab Idol Mohammed Assaf.
The three Palestinians improvised as they sang popular Palestinian songs about freedom, liberation and love of the nation.
They concluded with the song “Wein ah Ramallah” (“Going to Ramallah”) to frenzied reactions from the studio audience, the people of Palestine and Bethlehem crowds.
Shahin comes from the small Assyrian Christian community. His parents took refuge in Bethlehem from Jerusalem in the 1948 war.
Shahin was the favorite early on, despite almost dropping out of the contest because of a high fever. He has sung in churches, public events and Christmas concerts.
Draped with the Palestinian flag, he told the millions watching the program that he shares his victory with Dandun and Yemeni Ammar Mohammad.
MBC said the votes cast for the fourth Arab Idol were the highest yet.
A high-profile Palestinian delegation led by the son of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the show at the MBC studios in Beirut.


UAE’s first official synagogue to open in multi-faith complex in 2022

Updated 22 September 2019

UAE’s first official synagogue to open in multi-faith complex in 2022

  • The synagogue will be part of the multi-faith ‘Abrahamic Family House’ complex in Abu Dhabi
  • A small Jewish community of expatriates currently use a house in Dubai for private worship

DUBAI: Construction on the United Arab Emirates’ first official synagogue will begin next year and be completed by 2022, according to local media reports.
The synagogue will be part of the multi-faith “Abrahamic Family House” complex in Abu Dhabi, which will also feature a mosque and church of which full construction will be completed in 2022.
The complex was announced in February following a visit by Pope Francis to the UAE, the first by a pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula.
The UAE promotes itself as a center of tolerance and says it supports religious freedom and cultural diversity.
Though the synagogue will be the first in the UAE, a small Jewish community of expatriates currently use a house in Dubai for private worship.
Other official non-Muslim places of worship in the country include Christian churches, a Hindu temple and a Sikh Gurdwara.
The majority of those living in the UAE are foreign workers, the largest group of which are Indians. The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi said about 2.6 million Indians live in the UAE, or about 30 percent of the population.