UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events
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Updated 19 January 2022

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events
  • Singlemuslim.com says get-togethers will be held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds
  • Events open to all ages and chaperones are allowed

LONDON: A UK-based dating app is bringing back its halal speed dating events next month to help Muslims find their perfect partner.
The events, organized by singlemuslim.com, will be hosted by British-Moroccan comedian Fatiha El-Ghorri, and the organizers said that for the first time chaperones will also be able to attend.
“It’s been two years of single Muslims not really being able to meet or get out there and we’ve got a huge demand from the platform from people saying please bring your event back,” Adeem Younis, the app’s founder and chairman, told Arab News.
“A lot of our members — the prerequisite is that they are Muslim — still want to be able to meet people face to face in a halal environment that’s not going to be their living room or their home, and we facilitated a number of these pre-COVID and they were very successful,” he said.

Each of the full-day events — to be held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds — will be open to up to 50 men and 50 women of all ages. The participants will have the option to take a chaperone and will meet in both formal and informal settings. Dinner and prayer facilities will also be provided.
“And you’ll have a world-class comedian who’s breaking the ice and compering and hosting the entire day, making it fun for everybody,” Younis said.
El-Ghorri, a Londoner who has appeared on the Jonathan Ross and Russell Howard shows, has a huge fan base within the Muslim community, but is also popular with mainstream audiences. She is also a member of the app.
“Finding the right partner when you are Muslim can be really challenging as culturally, we don’t really date,” she said.
“When we meet someone, it is expected that we will marry that person and it’s very important that your parents approve your choice of partner, so bringing your dad along to the event kills two birds with one stone.”




British-Moroccan comedian Fatiha El-Ghorri will be hosting and compering the entire day for the first time. (Supplied/Singlemuslim.com)

The event in London is expected to be particularly popular as it falls closest to Valentine’s Day.
“It’s a weekend of love and now, post-COVID, with a new year and fresh start, people have set their agenda.” Younis said.
“A lot of people are wanting to get married this year … what better way to do that than by attending a halal speed dating event?”
Singlemuslim.com was set up in 1999 and is one of the world’s world’s largest Muslim dating apps. Younis said the company had received a lot of requests from its members in Dubai, the UAE and Egypt to take halal speed dating to their countries.
He said the company would use the event formula as a roadmap to take it internationally, starting with the Arab market.
“Finding a life partner is difficult and challenging, especially within the Arab communities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as people have become more urbanized,” he said.
About 5 percent of the apps members are from Saudi Arabia, where there is huge demand, especially as its digital savvy market is opening up more.
“We want to empower not just Muslim females, but anybody who’s Muslim to choose their own marriage partner, and the halal speed dating event is somewhere they can come and do that,” Younis said.


Faisal Al-Mosawi defies the odds by becoming the world's fastest diver

Faisal Al-Mosawi defies the odds by becoming the world's fastest diver
Updated 29 June 2022

Faisal Al-Mosawi defies the odds by becoming the world's fastest diver

Faisal Al-Mosawi defies the odds by becoming the world's fastest diver
  • The most important message Mosawi wishes to convey to the world is the social inclusion of disabled people

KUWAIT: Faisal Al-Mosawi, an Iraqi resident of Kuwait, was a promising football player at the Salmiya Sporting Club until a serious car accident left him paralyzed in the lower half of his body.

After a series of operations, Mosawi has accepted his disability and has defied the odds by becoming the world's fastest diver.

“Today, I am proud to say that I challenged myself and set a world record as the fastest 10-kilometer scuba diver. I am also a motivational speaker with more than 500 trainees per month,” Mosawi told the Kuwaiti Times.

“I decided two years after my accident to join university and earned a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) diploma in 2007. I continued my studies and began my bachelor’s degree in finance, which helped me get involved in social life again, but I was still feeling frustrated after I lost my dream of becoming a professional football player.“After several operations in the hope to walk again, I realized it was a big mistake to link my happiness to things that may not come back, especially since it cost me time in which I could do something more useful,” Mosawi added.

Mosawi also told Kuwaiti Times about the turning point in his life that led him to pursue an alternative career path.“Every year on my birthday, I was hoping I would be able to walk again. But every year nothing happened, which made me very disappointed,” he said.

“During one of my birthdays, I realized I wanted to change people’s lives and become an inspiration for them, especially after I heard about many disabled people who tried to commit suicide due to their frustrations in life.

“After two years, I decided to either be a new person looking for a new dream that could change my life, or forever remain a useless person, and this was my turning point in becoming a new person with new hopes and dreams.

"This changed my life in all aspects. In 2009, I decided to start learning to dive, I contacted the Swimming and Diving Center at Kuwait Science Club and obtained my first diving license from PADI (scuba diving certificate), while overcoming my fears, one of which was my phobia of the sea.

“After that I got several more diving licenses, such as an open-water license, adventure license, advanced license and night rock diver license,” he added.

After he realized his dream of diving, he decided to become the fastest diver in the world.

“In 2018, I became a Guinness World Record holder as the fastest 10km scuba diver in the world with a time of 5 hours and 24 minutes, breaking a record that was set in 2011 by a scuba diver with no disability,” he said.

Regarding diving techniques, Mosawi explained to the Kuwaiti times that wears diving gloves which he adjusts to the strength of his upper body. He said his biggest challenge was training for over five hours underwater every day.

Mosawi emphasized that the most important message he wishes to convey to the world is the social inclusion of disabled people. He hoped that his accomplishments would demonstrate to the world that people with disabilities are just as capable of success as anyone else.

“The hope that I gave to parents of disabled children makes me more persistent and determined to spread the message to the world. After the accident, doctors told my parents that it will be impossible for me to get married and have kids, but with hope and prayers, I married a special girl. I now have a beautiful daughter, and she is the most precious gift I ever got,” Mosawi said.


Charity cash donations from Qatari sheikh ‘followed correct processes’: Prince Charles

Charity cash donations from Qatari sheikh ‘followed correct processes’: Prince Charles
Updated 27 June 2022

Charity cash donations from Qatari sheikh ‘followed correct processes’: Prince Charles

Charity cash donations from Qatari sheikh ‘followed correct processes’: Prince Charles
  • The Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund (PWCF) received the payments

LONDON: The heir to the British throne Prince Charles said on Sunday donations in cash to his charities from the former prime minister of Qatar followed all “correct processes.”

Following reports in UK media that the Prince of Wales accepted a suitcase of cash as a charitable donation from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, Clarence House issued a statement.

“Charitable donations received from Sheikh bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities, who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed,” it said.

The Sunday Times reported that three bundles of cash were given as charitable donations from Sheikh Hamad to the Prince of Wales.

The three lots, which totalled €3 million ($3.16 million), were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015, the paper reported.

According to the report, Sheikh Hamad, 62, presented the prince with €1m packed into carrier bags from the luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.

The Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund (PWCF) received the payments, according to the report, including an entity that bankrolls the prince's private projects and his country estate in Scotland.

The British royal family’s guidelines do not outline rules for cash donations. However, members of the royal family can accept a cheque as a patron of, or on behalf of, the charities with which they are associated.


Greek state TV mocked for gasoline theft ‘tips’

Greek state TV mocked for gasoline theft ‘tips’
Updated 25 June 2022

Greek state TV mocked for gasoline theft ‘tips’

Greek state TV mocked for gasoline theft ‘tips’
  • Video also points out where a car’s fuel tank can alternatively be pierced to steal the contents

ATHENS: Greece’s state TV was mocked Thursday over a segment that showed viewers how to siphon gasoline from cars as fuel prices soar.
“It’s not something terribly complicated... you don’t even need a special tube, even a hose for balconies will do,” the station’s reporter Costas Stamou said during ERT’s morning news program Syndeseis on Wednesday.
After demonstrating the method, a car repairman then points out where a car’s fuel tank can alternatively be pierced to steal the contents.
“Are you guys in your right mind? Giving people tips on stealing gasoline?” commented one user on Twitter.
“After the tutorial on two ways to easily steal gasoline, ERT is now preparing new how-to’s on how to open locks and steal wallets,” jibed another.
A video mixed by Greek satirical website Luben had been viewed over 170,000 times by Thursday. Another 32,500 saw the original segment on Twitter.
Fuel prices have steadily climbed in Greece in recent months, with simple unleaded at over 2.37 euros ($2.50) per liter on average in Athens on Wednesday, and over 2.50 euros on Rhodes and neighboring islands.
Greek authorities have resisted calls to cut tax on fuel, opting instead for 30-50 euro subsidies to less well-off car and motorcycle owners.
 


For Iraqi amputees football team, healing is the goal

For Iraqi amputees football team, healing is the goal
Updated 24 June 2022

For Iraqi amputees football team, healing is the goal

For Iraqi amputees football team, healing is the goal
  • Today, at age 22, Ali is a member of an all-amputee football team, made up entirely of players
  • The team has some 30 players and has qualified for the Amputee Football World Cup to be held in Turkey in late 2022

BAGHDAD: As a seven-year-old boy in Baghdad, Mohamed Ali dreamt of becoming a goalkeeper — until a car bomb in the central Tahrir Square ripped away his left arm.
The child had become another casualty of the sectarian blood-letting that raged in Iraq in the years after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
“I was deprived of playing football,” he said, recalling the traumatic event of 2007 that also ended his time with the junior football team of the Air Force Club in Baghdad.
Today, at age 22, Ali is a member of an all-amputee football team, made up entirely of players who lost arms or legs in Iraq’s many years of war and turmoil.
“The creation of this team brought me back to life,” he said. “It helped me regain my self-confidence.”
The team has some 30 players and has qualified for the Amputee Football World Cup to be held in Turkey in late 2022.
Its founder Mohamed Al-Najjar was studying in England when he discovered a Portsmouth amputee team and decided to replicate the experience.
Back in Iraq, he posted an announcement on social networks.
“Applications started pouring in and we formed the team in August 2021,” recalls the 38-year-old lawyer.
Najjar’s right leg was amputated after he was wounded in 2016 “while taking part in the fight against the Daesh group.”
At the time Najjar, like several of his teammates, was fighting with the pro-Iranian Hashed Al-Shaabi, a paramilitary force that has since been integrated into Iraq’s regular forces.
Three times a week, he now meets up with the group to train on one of the fields of the brand new Al-Chaab complex in Baghdad.
Using crutches, one-legged players warm up by sprinting in the green jersey of the national team, then practice penalty kicks.
The goalkeeper, his left arm amputated, intercepts the ball by blocking it with his stomach.
Before they found the camaraderie of the team, Najjar said, “most of the players were suffering from severe depression.”
“Some even had thought of suicide because they had lost a limb and they had been professional players before.
“But we overcame these psychological problems,” he said, adding that it pleased him to now see his players “posting their pictures with the team on social networks.”
In the official competition, matches are played in teams of seven on fields measuring 60 by 40 meters (about 200 by 130 feet).
The goals are two meters high and five meters wide — smaller than the 2.4 by 7.3 meter goals used in traditional football.
The Iraqi state offers financial aid to victims of attacks and of battles against jihadists. The players receive monthly allowances of between $400 and $700.
Most make ends meet by working as day laborers in the markets, said Najjar.
But a major obstacle for the team is a lack of official recognition, and therefore funding, from Iraqi sports bodies.
The Poland-based International Amputee Football Federation is not part of the International Paralympic Committee.
The Iraqi team therefore receives no state subsidies, said Aqil Hamid, the head of the parliamentary committee on disability sports.
For equipment and transport, the team depends on donations from associations, said Najjar. There is also occasional help from some Hashed bodies.
“They helped us with a trip to Iran, they paid for the plane tickets,” said Najjar, adding that he hoped for “wider support.”
Another team member, Ali Kazim, lost his left leg to a Baghdad car bomb in 2006, which abruptly ended his professional football career with the Air Force Club.
“I couldn’t pursue my ambitions, I stayed at home,” said the 38-year-old.
Today, his four children are his biggest supporters.
“They are the ones who pack my sports bag,” he said. “They tell me: ‘Daddy, go train’. My morale has totally changed.”


Girls arrested for removing hijab at Iran skateboarding event: media

Girls arrested for removing hijab at Iran skateboarding event: media
Updated 24 June 2022

Girls arrested for removing hijab at Iran skateboarding event: media

Girls arrested for removing hijab at Iran skateboarding event: media
  • A video purporting to show Tuesday's "Go Skateboarding Day" event went viral in Iran on social media
  • Shiraz governor Lotfollah Sheybani said the event was "held with the intention of breaking social, religious and national rules and norms"

TEHRAN: Iranian police have arrested several teenage girls for not wearing headscarves at a skateboarding day in the southern city of Shiraz, along with some of the event’s organizers, state media reported Friday.
A number of girls “removed their hijab at the end of the sports event without observing the religious considerations and legal norms,” state news agency IRNA quoted Shiraz police chief Faraj Shojaee as saying.
“With the coordination of the judiciary, a number of perpetrators and people related to this gathering were identified and arrested on Thursday,” he said.
A video purporting to show Tuesday’s “Go Skateboarding Day” event went viral in Iran on social media.
“Holding any mixed sports or non-sports gathering without observing the religious and legal norms is prohibited... and the organizers will be dealt with according to the law,” Shojaee added.
Shiraz governor Lotfollah Sheybani said the event was “held with the intention of breaking social, religious and national rules and norms,” IRNA reported.
Under Islamic law in force in Iran since its 1979 revolution, women must wear a hijab that covers the head and neck while concealing the hair.
But many have pushed the boundaries over the past two decades by allowing their head coverings to slide back and reveal more hair, especially in Tehran and other major cities.
Iranian media on Sunday reported that police had arrested 120 people for alleged “criminal acts” including drinking alcohol, mixed-sex dancing and uncovering the hijab at a party in the forest in the country’s north.
Under Iranian law, only non-Muslim citizens are permitted to consume alcohol for religious purposes, while dancing with the opposite sex is forbidden.