Filipinos mobilize support for Duterte

Updated 29 March 2016

Filipinos mobilize support for Duterte

RIYADH: A gathering of Filipinos and their families, estimated at 1,000, rallied here Friday as overseas absentee voters (OAVs) expressed and renewed their support to Rodrigo (Rody) Duterte, Davao City mayor and presidential candidate.
According to Manila Bulletin’s Facebook survey, as of 11:49 a.m., March 15, 2016, Duterte dominated the poll with 58 percent of 35,989 respondents rooting for him. Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas followed, taking 25 percent of the votes; while Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago received a nod from 9 percent of those who have cast their votes. The survey question was: Who are you voting for the 2016 elections?
Nadzker Hatnett, PR and media head of the Duterte Middle East Movement under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas Ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said that the gathering bannered under theme, Make it happen: OFWs worldwide support, Duterte solid votes.
He added that the electoral objective of the group is to convert Duterte’s support into votes in this election.
“At least 40 OFW organizations’ representatives have attended aside from Filcom leaders and personalities,” Hatnett averred.
“Our group will start to quantify the expected votes we can deliver for Duterte from the pledge votes of overseas absentee voters and their families in Philippines,” the group’s PR man added. “Our target is to get the votes of at least 70 percent to 90 percent maximum of the total overseas absentee voters,” he said.
“We are constantly receiving invitations from various Filipino organizations here Kingdom-wide and in other Gulf countries where there are large concentrations of OFWs. These organizations wanted us to be with them to confirm their pledge of support for Mayor Duterte,” he added.
Hatnett revealed that last week the team was invited by a group of Filipino organizations during the opening of a basketball tournament in Alkhobar, in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, as its guest speaker discussing Duterte’s program and plans for OFWs. There are around 1.3 million OAVs who are expected to cast votes from the start of the one-month duration overseas absentee voting on.
The event was attended by Nedhal Abu Abdulrahman, a Saudi, who drew attention of the crowd because of his address to the gathering in fluent English and Tagalog throwing his support to Duterte.
“I participated in the event because I am passionate about the Philippines and the Filipino people. My several visits to the country included the city of Davao, which I found is one of safest, cleanest, and busiest cities there as a result of the relentless efforts sound effective leadership of its Mayor Duterte,” he told Arab News.
“Because Filipinos are decent, articulated, and well educated people, I think they deserve Duterte, who symbolizes peace, harmony and productivity, and they can compete with their neighbors in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea,” he added. A recorded video of his speech posted on Facebook got more than 1.1 million views since Friday.


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”