Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

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Rashid Al Tamimi, a Senior Cultural Presenter, talks to the foreign visitors and residents in the UAE about Ramadan and Emirati culture during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
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Foreign visitors and residents in the UAE learn about Ramadan and Emirati culture during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
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Japanese tourists talk to an Emirati woman volunteer to learn about Ramadan and Emirati culture during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
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Foreign visitors and residents in the UAE eat an Emirati Iftar meal during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, at Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
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Foreign visitors and residents in the UAE eat an Emirati Iftar meal during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, at Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
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Rashid Al Tamimi, a Senior Cultural Presenter, talks to the foreign visitors and residents in the UAE about Ramadan and Emirati culture during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
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An Emirati woman volunteer helps a foreign visitor to wear a headscarf during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, at Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
Updated 19 May 2019

Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

DUBAI: No question was off limits for curious tourists and foreign residents of Dubai wanting to learn more about Emirati culture and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Emiratis make up less than 10% of those living in Dubai, the most populated emirate in the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates federation, making it hard for foreigners to meet them.
Dubai goes to great lengths to market itself as open to different cultures and faiths as the Middle East’s financial, trade and leisure center, and a government cultural center is inviting visitors to find out more about Emirati life.
“There are no offending questions,” said Emirati Rashid Al-Tamimi from the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.
“How do you worship, what is the mosque, why do you wear white, why do women wear black ... is everybody rich in this country?“
Emirati volunteers gathered at a majlis — the traditional sitting room where the end-of-fast iftar meal is served at floor-level — were asked about dating and marriage, what they think of Dubai’s comparatively liberal dress codes for foreigners, and aspects of the Muslim faith.
“We learn from them, they learn from us. (Foreigners) have been here a long time and I feel they see themselves as Emiratis, and we are proud that they do so,” said Majida Al-Gharib a student volunteer.
Visitors broke the day’s fast with dates and water, before sampling Emirati cuisine, including biryani and machboos rice and meat dishes.
Seven-year-old Anthony from Poland, who goes to school in Dubai, said he came to find out more about the breaking of the fast meal because many of his friends at school do it.
2019 has been designated the Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates and there is a minister of state for tolerance.


Veteran Egyptian actress Ragaa El-Gedawy dies from Covid-19 complications

Updated 1 min 43 sec ago

Veteran Egyptian actress Ragaa El-Gedawy dies from Covid-19 complications

DUBAI: Veteran Egyptian actress Ragaa El-Gadawi has died. The actress, whose career spanned over six decades, passed away due to complications while undergoing treatment for Covid-19. She was 81 years old. 

The late legendary actress tested positive for the coronavirus in May, two days before she wrapped up filming for the TV series “Le’bet El Nesyan”

She was moved to a hospital in Ismailia, north-eastern Egypt, for treatment. Last week, a source at the Abu Khalifa Isolation Hospital revealed that the actress had reportedly been transferred into the intensive care unit, as her health worsened.

The source added that El-Gedawy was transferred immediately to the ICU after she felt shortness of breath, headache and circulatory collapse in the early hours of the morning.

She is survived by her daughter Amira Hassan Mokhtar.