British Muslim walking from UK to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, spread message of peace

Adam Mohamed built his cart, weighing around 250 kgs, in two months with the help of a local welding company. (Supplied)
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Adam Mohamed built his cart, weighing around 250 kgs, in two months with the help of a local welding company. (Supplied)
Adam Mohamed has gained half a million followers on TikTok in just 25 days as he documents his journey daily on social media. (Supplied)
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Adam Mohamed has gained half a million followers on TikTok in just 25 days as he documents his journey daily on social media. (Supplied)
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Updated 29 August 2021

British Muslim walking from UK to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, spread message of peace

British Muslim walking from UK to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, spread message of peace
  • Adam Mohamed, 52, aims to arrive in Saudi Arabia next year if he completes the epic 6,500 km journey
  • The electrical engineer is pushing a custom-made cart, in which he sleeps and carries his belongings

LONDON: A British Muslim of Iraqi-Kurdish origin is walking from the UK to Saudi Arabia to arrive in time for next year’s Hajj pilgrimage.
Adam Mohamed, 52, set off from Wolverhampton, where he lives, on Aug. 1 and aims to reach Makkah before the pilgrimage starts in July.
He has already reached the Netherlands and will pass through Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan. The journey is around 6,500 km and he is walking on average 17.8 km each day.
“One day I just woke up and I said I am going to walk toward Hajj, toward Makkah, which is what I did, and to pray on the way and beg for Allah to give us mercy and forgive us as a humankind, all of us, not just one race, or one identity, or one faith, everyone,” Mohamed told Arab News.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime. The annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city is one of the world’s largest gatherings with more than 2 million people taking part each year. This year however, Saudi authorities did not permit foreign pilgrims and restricted the ritual to 60,000 people already living inside the Kingdom in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Pushing a cart weighing up to 250 kg and outfitted with speakers playing Islamic recitations, Mohamed said he is spreading messages of love, peace and equality.
“I came out from my home, and my journey is turning up to be Ummah’s (the community’s) journey,” he said. “Now, it’s not not my journey anymore, it’s for every different race, religion, faith and ethnicity.”
The self-employed electrical engineer is meeting dozens of people along the way.

“So many people are coming forward just to pay their respects from everywhere, they are bringing me food every single day, most of them pay me money as well and a lot of them leave everything behind and they come and stay with me and push the trolley with me,” he said.
A GoFundMe page was set up on Aug. 1 to raise money for his “Peace Journey from UK to Makkah” initiative and has raised nearly £30,000 ($41,240), well over his target of just £1,000.
Mohamed built the trolley, the size of a coffin, in two months with the help of a local welding company, and fitted it with electricity to help him sleep and cook. It bears the name of his mission in English and Arabic and at the back it reads “All Lives Matter.”




Adam Mohamed is walking from Wolverhampton in the UK to Makkah in Saudi Arabia while spreading messages of peace, love and equality. (Supplied)

After the pandemic hit, the father-of-two began questioning many things, dived deep into the Qur’an and began to examine life and human behavior. He said he wanted to remind people along the way that life is short and imagine if something else comes along “a little bit bigger or a little bit stronger, what could happen?” h
He said: “My message is to all humanity: Please stop hatred, stop judging people, we are human, we are brothers. Plus, we as Muslim communities in the EU — around 30 or 40 million Muslims — have been forced to leave our lands. We came here and we came as refugees, we came seeking peace. The people of Europe provide that for us, so we should respect them.”
Within 25 days he has gained half a million followers on TikTok as he documents his journey daily on social media. People driving past in their cars are beginning to recognize him with children running up to him and telling him that they are listening to his advice.
“You cannot imagine how happy and proud I feel when I see the kids running toward me and say ‘Uncle Adam, my hero’ and hug me. I’m inspiring them as well as women and men,” he said. In one of his videos, he also wears a hijab for a day as a tribute and to encourage Muslim women to wear it with pride.

The humble humanitarian said he is not bothered about fame and money, but wants to help people and be “a servant for humanity from the biggest head of the government, to the smallest member in the community.”
Mohamed, who speaks four languages, including Arabic and Farsi, has already received many requests for assistance when he returns, among which is a request to help fight against a ban on halal meats in European countries like France, Poland and the Netherlands.
Mohamed moved to the UK in the late 1990s after serving in the Iraqi army as a soldier and being captured as a prisoner of war. He expressed his pride in Queen Elizabeth II and the British government for removing difficulties faced by Muslims in other countries and the principle of basic human rights they adhere to.
“I feel honored to be his daughter because I never thought he would do something so amazing and bring so many people together,” his eldest daughter Dalya told Arab News.
“He brought peace, love and humanity and restored all of that back into us as humans, and I think a lot of us we’re forgetting that at the end of the day we are all brothers and sisters, and he is bringing so much positive in so much negative that there is at the moment in the world,” Dalya, 21, said. “It’s nice to see one person be able to bring all of this together.”


German couple take refuge on boat as volcano threatens their Spanish home

German couple take refuge on boat as volcano threatens their Spanish home
Updated 15 October 2021

German couple take refuge on boat as volcano threatens their Spanish home

German couple take refuge on boat as volcano threatens their Spanish home
  • Doelz, 66, and Rehm, 49, who are from Germany, had been trying to sell the boat to save money
  • "Luckily we still had the boat. ... And since then we have been living on this boat," said Doelz

LA PALMA: Juergen Doelz and his girlfriend Jacqueline Rehm were in the process of selling their small sailboat on the Spanish island of La Palma when the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted, forcing them to flee their dream home and move to the boat.
Doelz, 66, and Rehm, 49, who are from Germany, had been trying to sell the boat to save money after she lost her job at a car rental company due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sept. 19, when the volcano starting spewing red-hot lava just 4 km (2-1/2 miles) from their home in Todoque, the couple had just returned from a trip with a potential buyer. But the sale fell through as the yacht was “not sporty enough,” Doelz told Reuters on the boat, moored in Tazacorte port.
A few hours later, they were ordered to evacuate their rented house with its vineyard and terrace with a sea view and had to leave behind most of their belongings.
“Luckily we still had the boat. ... And since then we have been living on this boat. It’s small, but it’s OK,” said Doelz, who is retired.
A new vent spewed gas at the southeastern side of the main vent on Friday, said the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute.
“What the volcano is leaving behind is a desolate scene for many families, for the island in general because it has a very direct impact on the island’s economy. If strong action is not taken people will have a bad time,” Civil Guard officer Raul Campillo told Reuters.
Streams of lava have laid waste to more than 600 hectares (1,480 acres) of land and destroyed about 1,600 buildings on La Palma. About 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on the island, which has about 83,000 inhabitants.
“We moved here (La Palma) two and a half years ago and after half a year we found our dream house. ... To lose that after two years, it’s hard,” Doelz said.
Although the lava has not yet engulfed their home they believe it’s just a matter of time after the flow destroyed their Swiss neighbors’ place and as the eruption is showing no signs of abating.
“We’ll stay on the boat as long as we don’t know what to do next. Shall we stay here or shall we maybe go to another island, like Tenerife? No idea, I don’t know. It’s written in the stars,” Rehm explained.


Iranian man sentenced to be blinded after fight costs neighbor an eye

The use of blinding in the Iranian justice system has a relatively short history. It was first employed in 2008 when a defendant was handed the punishment for committing an acid attack. (Reuters/File Photo)
The use of blinding in the Iranian justice system has a relatively short history. It was first employed in 2008 when a defendant was handed the punishment for committing an acid attack. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 14 October 2021

Iranian man sentenced to be blinded after fight costs neighbor an eye

The use of blinding in the Iranian justice system has a relatively short history. It was first employed in 2008 when a defendant was handed the punishment for committing an acid attack. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • It is unclear whether the 45-year-old man will lose both eyes or just one
  • Blinding is a relatively rare form of punishment in Iran, but it has been carried out intermittently since 2008

LONDON: An Iranian court sentenced a man to be blinded as punishment for leaving his neighbor without the use of one eye following a fight. 

The 45-year-old man, whose name has not been reported, was sentenced on the basis of a legal principle based on retributive justice.

The 2018 brawl took place in Fashan, an area outside of Tehran province, between the guilty party and his 40-year-old neighbor. The victim complained to a Tehran court after he lost vision in one eye. 

Reports by IranWire did not specify whether the man would lose both eyes or just one as punishment.

The use of blinding in the Iranian justice system has a relatively short history. It was first employed in 2008 when a defendant was handed the punishment for committing an acid attack. The victim in that case pardoned the attacker at the last minute. 

But an acid attacker in 2015 had his eye gouged out by Iranian doctors. A year later, another man was given the same penalty because he threw corrosive substances in his 4-year-old niece’s eye, blinding her. 

Post-revolutionary Iran has long been accused by rights groups, along with regional and international governments, of employing cruel punishments to maintain public order.  

Last year, there was an uproar when news emerged that Tehran was planning to remove four fingers from the right hand of four men accused and convicted of robbery following flawed trials.

Rights group Amnesty International said at the time: “Carrying out such unspeakably inhumane punishments is not justice and underlines the cruelty of Iran’s criminal justice system.”


Greenpeace sounds alarm over animal farming in Spain

Greenpeace sounds alarm over animal farming in Spain
Updated 14 October 2021

Greenpeace sounds alarm over animal farming in Spain

Greenpeace sounds alarm over animal farming in Spain
  • The number of farm animals raised in Spain has jumped by more than a third since 2015 to around 560 million in 2020
  • Three-quarters of Spain's water tables have seen pollution from nitrates increase between 2016 and 2019

MADRID: The “uncontrolled” growth of industrial farming of livestock and poultry in Spain is causing water pollution from nitrates to soar, Greenpeace warned in a new report on Thursday.
The number of farm animals raised in Spain has jumped by more than a third since 2015 to around 560 million in 2020, it said in the report entitled “Mega-farms, poison for rural Spain.”
This “excessive and uncontrolled expansion of industrial animal farming” has had a “serious impact on water pollution from nitrates,” it said.
Three-quarters of Spain’s water tables have seen pollution from nitrates increase between 2016 and 2019, the report said citing Spanish government figures.
Nearly 29 percent of the country’s water tables had more than the amount of nitrate considered safe for drinking, according to a survey carried out by Greenpeace across Spain between April and September.
The environmental group said the government was not doing enough.
It pointed out that the amount of land deemed an “area vulnerable to nitrates” has risen to 12 million hectares in 2021, or 24 percent of Spain’s land mass, from around eight million hectares a decade ago, yet industrial farming has continued to grow.
“It is paradoxical to declare more and more areas vulnerable to nitrates,” but at the same time allow a “disproportionate rise” in the number of livestock on farms, Greenpeace said.
Pollution from hundreds of intensive pig farms played a major role in the collapse of one of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoons, the Mar Menor in Spain’s southeast, according to a media investigation published earlier this week.
Scientists blamed decades of nitrate-laden runoffs for triggering vast blooms of algae that had depleted the water of the lagoon of oxygen, leaving fish suffocating underwater.
Two environmental groups submitted a formal complaint in early October to the European Union over Spain’s failure to protect the lagoon.


Prince William: Before traveling to space, save the planet

Prince William: Before traveling to space, save the planet
Updated 14 October 2021

Prince William: Before traveling to space, save the planet

Prince William: Before traveling to space, save the planet
  • “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live," said Prince William
  • William was speaking about climate change ahead of his inaugural Earthshot environmental prize awards ceremony on Sunday

LONDON: Britain’s Prince William has criticized some of the world’s richest men for using their wealth to fund a new space race and space tourism rather than trying to fix the problems on Planet Earth instead.
In comments to the BBC aired Thursday, William voiced his disapproval, a day after the former Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest man to fly to space in a rocket built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” said William, who is second-in-line to the British throne.
On Wednesday, the 90-year-old Shatner, who is best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the 1960s television series Star Trek, briefly flew into space with Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin. Billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson are also pumping resources into their own space ambitions.
William, who is formally known as the Duke of Cambridge, was speaking about climate change ahead of his inaugural Earthshot environmental prize awards ceremony on Sunday and in the run-up to the start of the UN climate summit in the Scottish city of Glasgow later this month.
During the star-studded ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London, which will see five sustainability projects win 1 million pounds ($1.35 million) each, William will be joined by his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. The awards take their inspiration from the Moonshot challenge that President John F. Kennedy set for the US in 1961 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade — a challenge that was met eight years later.
The winners will be chosen by a committee including veteran broadcaster David Attenborough, actor Cate Blanchett and World Trade Organization director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
William, who has been immersed in environmental issues all his life through the strong interest in them of his father, Prince Charles, and his late grandfather, Prince Philip, voiced his worries about the world his own children will inherit.
He said it would be an “absolute disaster” if his oldest son, George, who he said is “acutely aware” of how resources impact the planet, was having to raise the same issues in 30 years’ time.
“Young people now are growing up where their futures are basically threatened the whole time,” William said. “It’s very unnerving and it’s very you know, anxiety-making.”
Echoing comments from his father, William urged world leaders to put words into action at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, known as COP26.
“I think for COP to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be, is critical,” William said.
The summit is scheduled to take place Oct. 31-Nov. 12. It is being billed by many environmentalists as the world’s last chance to turn the tide in the battle against climate change.


Rolling Stones drop hit ‘Brown Sugar’ from US tour

Rolling Stones drop hit ‘Brown Sugar’ from US tour
Updated 13 October 2021

Rolling Stones drop hit ‘Brown Sugar’ from US tour

Rolling Stones drop hit ‘Brown Sugar’ from US tour
  • "You picked up on that, huh?" Keith Richards told the Los Angeles Times
  • The gritty rock chart-topper officially released in 1971 opens with the lyric "Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields"

NEW YORK: The Rolling Stones have cut their popular track “Brown Sugar” from their US tour, at least for now, in the wake of criticism over its lyrics referring to slavery.
“You picked up on that, huh?” Keith Richards told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview, when asked about the song’s absence at the British band’s stadium shows.
“I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is. Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? But they’re trying to bury it. At the moment I don’t want to get into conflicts,” the superstar told the paper.
“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track,” Richards, 77, added.
The gritty rock chart-topper officially released in 1971 opens with the lyric “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields” and references beating enslaved people, and sex with young enslaved women.
In recent years magazine critics and others in the industry have criticized the song as “racist,” including one writer for New York Magazine who called the track “gross, sexist, and stunningly offensive toward black women.”
“We’ve played ‘Brown Sugar’ every night since 1970, so sometimes you think, We’ll take that one out for now and see how it goes,” frontman Mick Jagger told the LA Times.
“We might put it back in,” he said, adding “the set list in a stadium show, it’s kind of a tough one.”
In 1995 Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine that “I never would write that song now.”
“I would probably censor myself. I’d think, ‘Oh God, I can’t. I’ve got to stop’. God knows what I’m on about on that song. It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.”
The Stones resurrected their “No Filter” tour in September after a long pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They will play a string of dates into November 2021 including in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Detroit.