‘Sinful’ Zumba — aerobic exercise to music — banned in Iran

In this July 19, 2015 photo, thousands of Filipino health enthusiasts dance to high tempo music as they participate in a Guinness World Records attempt for the largest Zumba class held along the main streets of Mandaluyong city, metro Manila. Iran's clerics have outlawed Zumba, calling it sinful. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 20 June 2017

‘Sinful’ Zumba — aerobic exercise to music — banned in Iran

JEDDAH: Iranian clerics have outlawed Zumba, a mode of exercise that involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music.
According to a report in The New York Times, Iranians shaking their hips to Latin American music during Zumba exercise classes is sinful.
“Iran has undergone a health revolution in recent years, and as in many countries, Zumba, an aerobics dance class, has attracted a wide following, especially among women who gather a couple of times a week to work out to upbeat tracks by singers like Ricky Martin and Shakira and lose weight in the process,” said the New York Times.
The edict banning the exercise was issued this month by the head of the Sports for All Federation, a government institution promoting sports and a healthy lifestyle. It described Zumba classes as “contrary to Islamic precepts.”
“Since 1979, Iran’s Shiite Muslim clerics have codified into law hundreds of lifestyle regulations, meant to keep their flock on the right path. In their world, things like drinking alcohol, mixing between men and women, and dancing can lead to committing sins. Sins can undermine families, the cornerstone of life in Iran, so it has been decided that these temptations, and many others, are illegal, as an extra push to make sure they do not happen,” said The New York Times.
The head of the Sports for All Federation, Ali Majd Ara, said: “Activities such as Zumba, performance of rhythmic movements and dancing in any form and under any title, lacks legal credibility.”
Iran’s clerics are not the only ones opposing Zumba, said the NYT report. The legal department of Zumba Fitness, the American company behind the fitness craze, revoked permits for those operating in Iran.
Some American companies interpret sanctions on Iran rigidly, and many instructors received a letter saying that only if they moved to a country other than Iran would they get their permits back.


UAE brand’s fresh approach to skincare looking good for future

Having lived in Dubai for more than seven years, Kathryn Jones learned a lot about the Middle Eastern market and the needs of people who live within the region. (Shutterstock)
Updated 25 May 2020

UAE brand’s fresh approach to skincare looking good for future

DUBAI: Skincare products can quite often sit on shelfs or in delivery vehicles for weeks and months, stored in unsuitable conditions.

And despite brands promoting them as organic and natural, some customers might question the effectiveness of products left lying around for long periods after being produced.

However, Kathryn Jones, founder of the UAE-based brand Kathryn Jones Hand Blended Serums, or KJ Serums for short, told Arab News how her company created fresh products every month for customers.

Jones, who is originally from Wales, in the UK, launched KJ Serums in 2017 and started her brand “out of necessity.” (Supplied)

“The concept of a freshly-made skincare serum is something quite different and our customers have really embraced it. They appreciate it’s a fresh product that must be used up within a month when it’s at its most active and effective and repurchased – almost like a food stuff,” she said.

Jones, who is originally from Wales, in the UK, launched KJ Serums in 2017 and started her brand “out of necessity.”

She added: “I simply could not afford the prices of some of the top skincare brands but still wanted excellent results.”

With her background in the biopharmaceuticals industry, she started experimenting and developing her own formulas. “The core proposition is ‘hand blended’ because that’s how it all started, by hand blending and perfecting the serum formulas myself here in the UAE,” she said.

Having lived in Dubai for more than seven years, the entrepreneur learned a lot about the Middle Eastern market and the needs of people who live within the region.

“Our climate here is extreme often for eight months or more of the year, especially in the Gulf region. A lot our customers will ask for a product that reduces oiliness and sheen on the skin and are reluctant to purchase products that contain a lot of oils, or are very heavily moisturizing,” Jones added.

The businesswoman believes the Middle East market is “wonderfully diverse” with different attitudes and expectations toward skincare products.

“Of course, this is a challenge to develop effective products which can address many different skin types and issues, but the market is truly receptive to new concepts,” she said.

Jones pointed out that with the current lockdown situation due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people had more time to care for their skin.

“The coronavirus pandemic has obviously confined us to our homes, and, given the steady increase in the number of enquiries we are receiving, it suggests consumers currently have more time to consider their online skincare purchases and perhaps have more time to invest in an effective routine,” she said.

On whether the COVID-19 outbreak would change the future of the skincare industry, Jones added: “I think that many consumers, either through necessity or out of a desire to support local brands might have chosen to source their products from different manufacturers and therefore brand loyalties may have been affected to a certain extent.”