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.”


Police: Burglar gets new keys before she’s locked up

Police: Burglar gets new keys before she’s locked up
Updated 23 October 2021

Police: Burglar gets new keys before she’s locked up

Police: Burglar gets new keys before she’s locked up

CORONADO, California: A woman pretended she owned a Southern California home so a locksmith would make her new keys. Then police locked her up.
Officers arrested a 43-year-old woman on suspicion of burglary Thursday night in Coronado, a resort city across the bay from San Diego.
The brazen burglary was foiled when the real homeowner called Coronado police and said her neighbor noticed suspicious activity at the home. The homeowner was out of town, yet the neighbor saw the home’s lights being turned on and off.
Officers arrived and the neighbor — a relative of the homeowner’s — gave them a spare key. But it didn’t fit the front door’s lock, and metal shavings and pieces of an old lock were on the ground nearby.
As police walked around the home, they saw back doors open and a fireplace turned on as music played inside. After calling for a helicopter and a K-9 unit, officers saw someone moving around on the second floor in what was supposed to be an empty house with only one spare key.
Police called out to the person inside, who came out a few minutes later and was arrested. The woman claimed there were two kids in the house, but a police search turned up empty.
The woman told police the home was hers and said she’d called a locksmith earlier to change the front door’s locks.
No word if the burglar gave anyone a spare key.


Endangered orangutan in New Orleans expecting twins

Endangered orangutan in New Orleans expecting twins
Updated 21 October 2021

Endangered orangutan in New Orleans expecting twins

Endangered orangutan in New Orleans expecting twins
  • “We are very excited about this pregnancy,” Bob MacLean, senior veterinarian at the Audubon Zoo, said
  • The births in December or January will be the first for Menari, 12, but the third and fourth sired by Jambi

NEW ORLEANS: A critically endangered Sumatran orangutan in New Orleans is pregnant with twins, the zoo in New Orleans announced Thursday.
“We are very excited about this pregnancy,” Bob MacLean, senior veterinarian at the Audubon Zoo, said in a news release. “Twinning is extremely rare in orangutans — there is only about a 1 percent chance of this happening.”
The births in December or January will be the first for Menari, 12, but the third and fourth sired by Jambi, a male brought to New Orleans in late 2018 from a zoo in Germany.
It may be six years or more before the group’s next babies.
Sumatran orangutans wean their offspring at about 7 years old and have the longest period between births of any mammals — 8.2 to 9.3 years, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The great apes named for their long red hair have been decimated by hunting as well as the destruction of the forests and peat swamps where they spend nearly all their time up in trees.
About 13,500 are believed to exist in sustainable wild populations, and “overall numbers continue to decline dramatically,” according to the IUCN.
Watching matriarch Feliz and Reese, who came to New Orleans in 2018 from ABQ BioPark in Albuquerque, give birth to and bring up their daughters has helped prepare hand-raised Menari for motherhood, officials said.
Bulan was born in July 2019 to Feliz, who also is Menari’s mother. Reese’s daughter Madu was born in February.
The zoo said keepers and veterinarians are giving Menari daily training and enrichment sessions to prepare her for motherhood and the possibility that she might need help raising one or both.
If all goes well, the orangutan twins will be the second pair born at Audubon.
Bon Temps and Lagniappe, nicknamed Bonnie and Lana, were hand-raised after their birth in 1985 to an orangutan named Sarah. Bonnie died in 2016 at Zoo Miami; Lana, 36, is in Greenville Zoo in South Carolina.


‘Mo, meet Mo’: Salah introduced to Madame Tussauds waxwork for first time

Mohamed Salah meeting his waxwork doppelgänger during a private viewing at London’s Madame Tussauds. (Supplied)
Mohamed Salah meeting his waxwork doppelgänger during a private viewing at London’s Madame Tussauds. (Supplied)
Updated 21 October 2021

‘Mo, meet Mo’: Salah introduced to Madame Tussauds waxwork for first time

Mohamed Salah meeting his waxwork doppelgänger during a private viewing at London’s Madame Tussauds. (Supplied)
  • Star striker said it was “a blessing” to be included in lineup of stars at famous London attraction

LONDON: Liverpool and Egypt superstar Mohamed Salah was introduced to his waxwork doppelgänger during a private viewing at London’s Madame Tussauds museum on Thursday.

Though he can count Premier League and Champions League titles and playing for Egypt at a World Cup among his achievements, now Salah has achieved a genuine celebrity milestone.

Coming face to face with his waxy likeness for the first time since a measurement sitting with the Madame Tussauds artists, the striker said it was “a blessing” to be included in the lineup of stars at the famous attraction.

“It’s a blessing to be recognized and immortalized in this way,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when I stood alongside ‘me,’ it’s like looking at my own reflection in a mirror! I can’t wait to see what the fans think.”

While Salah is instantly recognizable the world over wearing the red kit of Liverpool, his figure in the museum dons a cream suit, like the real Salah wore on the front cover of GQ Middle East magazine.

His figure also has fingers pointing upwards in his classic red carpet pose and goalscoring celebration. 

The statue will be viewable for the public from Oct. 22 and can be found alongside other A-listers, including members of the British royal family, David and Victoria Beckham, Dwayne Johnson, Dame Helen Mirren, Brad Pitt and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Salah’s two goals on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, meanwhile, saw him become the first player in Liverpool’s history to find the net in nine consecutive appearances in all competitions.


Canadian wins 18th Chopin international piano competition

Canadian wins 18th Chopin international piano competition
Updated 21 October 2021

Canadian wins 18th Chopin international piano competition

Canadian wins 18th Chopin international piano competition
  • Japan’s Kyohei Sorita came joint-second with Italian-Slovenian Alexander Gadjiev. Spain’s Martin Garcia Garcia came third

WARSAW, Poland: Canadian pianist Bruce Xiaoyu Liu was awarded first prize in the Chopin piano competition in Warsaw on Thursday, clinching one of the world’s most prestigious music awards.
“Being able to play Chopin in Warsaw is one of the best things you can imagine,” 24-year-old Liu said as the jury announced their decision at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall.

The first prize in the 18th Frederic Chopin international piano competition comes with a 40,000-euro ($45,000) award.

Japan’s Kyohei Sorita, 27, came joint-second with 26-year-old Italian-Slovenian Alexander Gadjiev.
Spain’s Martin Garcia Garcia, 24, came third.

The winner will receive a gold medal and the financial prize funded by the office of Poland’s president, as well as prestigious recording and concert contracts.
The second prize is worth 30,000 euros ($35,000,) third prize is 20,000 euros ($23,000,) and the fourth is 15,000 euros ($17,000.) There are also prizes for the fifth, sixth and seventh place as well as other awards for the finalists, funded by Poland’s government, music institutions and by private donors.
Held every five years since 1927, the Chopin competition would normally have been held last year, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — a first since World War II.
“It was challenging to get all the competitors into Poland,” Artur Szklener, director of the National Institute of Frederic Chopin, which organizes the competition, had told AFP.
But one of the 17 jury members, Argentinian concert pianist Nelson Goerner, said that pandemic-related lockdowns helped raise the standard of this year’s competition.
“The level this year is remarkable,” Goerner told AFP earlier in the competition.
“The pianists have had more time to prepare and I think the pandemic has awakened in all of us a desire to go further, to surpass ourselves,” he said.
“You can hear it in how these young pianists are playing.”

Born in Paris, Liu graduated from Montreal Conservatoire.
He has performed with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and has been on two tours in China.
“The pandemic actually made this kind of meeting for me more special,” Liu said after his victory.
Liu said he had to be “really careful all the time” during the coronavirus crisis, so as to be able to keep up his competition and concert schedule, and as a result had “not met many people” in the past two years.
He also said he hoped the competition would be “just a start” in his musical journey.
“It’s hard to keep the freshness, to continuously find new ideas so I hope this is not the last point,” he told reporters.
He added that he was looking forward “to be finally able to sleep and party.”
This year’s event drew 87 pianists from across the globe, including 22 from China, 16 from Poland and 14 from Japan.
Broadcast live on YouTube and via a bespoke mobile app, the contest attracted record online interest.
Some 70,000 people watched the result streamed online.
Among previous winners are Maurizio Pollini of Italy, Argentina’s Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson from the United States, Poland’s Krystian Zimerman and Artur Blechacz, and Seong-Jin Cho of South Korea.
Chopin, Poland’s best known and beloved classical music composer and pianist, was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw to a Polish mother and a French father. He left Poland at 19 to broaden his musical education in Vienna and then in Paris, where he settled, composing, giving concerts and teaching the piano. He died on Oct. 17, 1849, in Paris and is buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery. His heart is at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.
The auditions can be followed live on the Chopin Institute YouTube channel and on Polish state radio.

 


Egyptian thief sets social media abuzz after swiping livestreaming reporter’s phone

Egyptian thief sets social media abuzz after swiping livestreaming reporter’s phone
Updated 20 October 2021

Egyptian thief sets social media abuzz after swiping livestreaming reporter’s phone

Egyptian thief sets social media abuzz after swiping livestreaming reporter’s phone

CAIRO: No one was unluckier on Tuesday from the thief who stole a reporter’s mobile phone which was being used to livestream a report on an earthquake in Egypt.

A reporter for Egyptian news outlet Youm7 was filming live when a man on a motorbike snatched his phone and sped away with it on his bike.

Viewers of the broadcast watched the incident as the phone’s camera was left recording, with the camera pointed up toward the thief’s face.

Youm7 has shared the Facebook live with the thief's face, saying "tens of thousands" of people were watching live as it was stolen.

Police identified and arrested the man on the same day.

Now social media platforms in Egypt have started buzzing with humorous commentary on the thief’s misfortune.