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  • Friday, July 18, 2008

    No, No, No, No.

    No sex on the beach

    No topless sunbathing

    No transvestites?

    No aircon

    Dubai just ain't fun any more. Next thing you'll be tell me is that shisha is banned!

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    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Bikini-free Islamic tourism

    What is Islamic tourism all about? Is it tourism about Islam? Or is it tourism that allows women the opportunity to sunbathe without prying eyes? Segregated sunbathing?



    Let's put it like this: where there is a niche, there is a market. Where there is a market and that market has money to spend, the niche gets catered for. Expect more Islamic tourism in the future. In the Gulf, in Turkey, and beyond.

    Bikini-free Islamic tourism booms in Turkey

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    Muslim Intellectuals

    Are these the top 20 public intellectuals? Is the fact that there are a great number of Muslim's in this top 20 significant? Or, as Foreign Policy most eloquently put it:

    No one spread the word as effectively as the man who tops the list. In early May, the Top 100 list was mentioned on the front page of Zaman, a Turkish daily newspaper closely aligned with Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Within hours, votes in his favor began to pour in. His supporters—typically educated, upwardly mobile Muslims—were eager to cast ballots not only for their champion but for other Muslims in the Top 100. Thanks to this groundswell, the top 10 public intellectuals in this year’s reader poll are all Muslim. The ideas for which they are known, particularly concerning Islam, differ significantly. It’s clear that, in this case, identity politics carried the day.


    So, while there may be some prominent world intellectuals in the world, there are also a great number of Muslims who know how to swing a vote.

    There a point in that somewhere.

    1. FETHULLAH GÜLEN
    2. MUHAMMAD YUNUS
    3. YUSUF AL-QARADAWI
    4. ORHAN PAMUK
    5. AITZAZ AHSAN
    6. AMR KHALED
    7. ABDOLKARIM SOROUSH
    8. TARIQ RAMADAN
    9. MAHMOOD MAMDANI
    10. SHIRIN EBADI
    11. NOAM CHOMSKY
    12. AL GORE
    13. BERNARD LEWIS
    14. UMBERTO ECO
    15. AYAAN HIRSI ALI
    16. AMARTYA SEN
    17. FAREED ZAKARIA
    18. GARRY KASPAROV
    19. RICHARD DAWKINS
    20. MARIO VARGAS LLOSA


    The World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals

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    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Confessions of a Fake Sheik

    Tourist often get tempted to purchase a kandura, guthra and egal as a memento from a trip the UAE. Mazher Mahmood took this one step further by creating an alter ego, in his investigative journalist guise for the News of the World, that got the rich and famous to disclose things that they probably didn't want anyone else to hear. He took on the form of a "sheikh", supposedly very wealthy and because he appeared pretty believable, he got away with a lot of things. He looked the real deal as this photo tries to show:



    But as we know, anyone with brownish skin who dons a dish dash can get away with it...

    Anyway, after spending much time undercover, he has come out, as it were, and is telling his story in a book that will come out in September. It is going to be called Confessions of a Fake Sheik, although I think that Sheikh should be spelt Sheikh. You will probably remember his most famous sting when he caught Sven Goran Eriksson saying that he would leave the England Manager position.



    And there are others, including the Royal family and Salim Malik amongst others. The book will also contain "the behind-the-scenes stories of how he exposed corrupt officials, drug dealers, paedophiles, people traffickers and terrorists, leading to 230 criminal convictions so far."

    As the blurb says:

    Jaw-dropping insider's revelations from the world's number one investigative journalist. Meeting a supermodel who secretly doubles up as the world's most expensive hooker, encountering a doctor who wants to murder his mistress, coming face to face with famous celebrities dealing cocaine, or enjoying a cosy dinner with members of the Royal family. It's all in a day's work for the world's best known investigative reporter, the News of the World's Mazher Mahmood. A Who's Who of the rich and famous have fallen prey to his disguise as the Fake Sheik. Confessions of a Fake Sheik reveals for the first time the full story behind these amazing stories, the story of a lifetime in and out of the Arab robes - exposing corrupt officials, drug dealers, paedophiles, people traffickers and Islamic terrorists. Sometimes humorous, often frightening but always sensational, this is a gripping account of a life behind the headlines. A long list of politicians, celebrities, officials and footballers have blamed the Fake Sheik for their downfall. He is also the scourge of the criminal world with his work having led to more than 230 convictions.

    Russian mafia boss has put a GBP30,000 price-tag on his head. Now in, his sensational book, the man dubbed "the King of the Sting" details his methods as well as the secret deals that led to several stories being toned down to save careers and marriages. He also exposes celebrities and politicians who until now thought they had got away with it.


    I'm sure that it will be an excellent and amusing read, and will no doubt rejuvenate those kandura mementos, that lie at the bottom of a some cupboard somewhere.

    Confessions of a Fake Sheik: "The King of the Sting" Reveals All

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    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    We're not that rich!

    Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, has downplayed the size of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, saying that estimates that it has assets of around $800bn are exaggerated.

    The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) – of which Sheikh Khalifa is chairman of the board – is often described as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, with estimates of its size ranging from $450bn to $800bn-plus. The secretive fund has never revealed its size, which has added to the speculation, but pressure has been mounting on sovereign investment vehicles to be more transparent.

    Lend us a fiver will ya?

    Abu Dhabi downplays size of wealth fund

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