Jordanian preacher held over YouTube video

Jordanian police officers stand guard in Amman, in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2016

Jordanian preacher held over YouTube video

AMMAN: A preacher who posted an online video criticizing Jordan’s participation in the coalition battling the Daesh group in Iraq and Syria was arrested on Tuesday, a judicial source said.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the state security court placed Amjad Qursha in preventative detention for 15 days after the video was posted on YouTube.
In it, Qursha “criticized Jordan’s participation in the international coalition against the terrorist Daesh organization in Iraq and Syria,” the source said.
The 49-year-old preacher is accused of “having committed unauthorized acts... that could affect the kingdom’s relations with a friendly country,” a reference to the United States which heads the anti-Daesh coalition.
In the video, Qursha says Washington “compelled” Amman to join the coalition. “Unfortunately, our feeble and fragile government has led us into a war that has nothing to do with us,” he says. The married father of five lectures at the University of Jordan’s Shariah faculty.
He is known as a moderate who appears frequently in discussions on official radio and television channels.
In mid-May Eyad Qunaibi, another preacher who was imprisoned for nearly a year for inciting hatred against the regime on social media, was freed following criticism from rights campaigners.
The 40-year-old Kuwaiti-born Jordanian criticized Jordan’s relations with Israel and the “Westernization” of Jordanian society.
Last year the Muslim Brotherhood’s second-in-command in Jordan Zaki Bani Rsheid was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

Updated 15 min 58 sec ago

Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

  • ‘One of the mega trends you see around the world is that preferences matter’
  • ‘We have to change the way we view technology’

DUBAI: The next wave of value creation in the business world will not come from companies that develop artificial intelligence (AI), but from those that can innovatively deploy technology to transform industries, Waleed Al-Muhairi, deputy CEO of Mubadala Investment Co., said on Tuesday at the first Middle East SALT conference.

The two-day event is taking place in Abu Dhabi, and is run by former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

It is hosting more than 1,000 leaders from the worlds of investment, finance and policymaking at the city’s financial hub, the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Discussing Mubadala’s partnerships with China, the UAE’s largest trading partner, Al-Muhairi referred to billion-dollar investments in China’s private and public sectors.

“We have a wonderful partnership with China. We’ve established a $10 billion fund there with the China Development Bank, and have deployed almost $2 billion in 15 to 16 different sectors, with technology being the main theme,” he said.

Mubadala currently has $240 billion of assets under management, with close to $100 billion invested in the US (60 percent of the state-owned holding company’s portfolio).

The remaining 40 percent is divided “almost” equally between investments in the UAE, Europe and Asia, “with a heavy concentration in China,” said Al-Muhairi.

“But our objective is to participate in the growth and success of a large, growing and dynamic economy like China’s,” he said, adding that it is only a matter of time before the country becomes the “largest economy on Earth.”

On technology, Al-Muhairi cited Asia-focused private equity firm Hill House, which transformed a mid-level athletic footwear company in China to the No. 1 brand in the country through the deployment of AI.

The company applied the expertise of 50 scientists and engineers to revolutionize the manufacturing process of footwear, while subsequently improving the brand’s retail experience.

By placing censors on the shelves to detect customers’ interest in buying specific footwear, they were able to shorten the cycle of understanding customer feedback and preference, said Al-Muhairi.

“One of the mega trends you see around the world is that preferences matter. And those business that are able to curate a customized experience for customers are going to be the ones who succeed, especially in the retail industry,” he added.

While people often refer to technology as a “sector,” Al-Muhairi believes it is similar to the concept of “electricity” in that it empowers projects and is infused in everything we do today.

“We have to change the way we view technology,” he said, adding that while it is the “life-blood of any successful company” and the “single most important enabler,” it is not an objective in itself. 

“We don’t invest in technology for the sake of technology. We invest in it because it will transform something or it will create value and a return,” he said.