“I encourage those attending to be liberal and open-minded and to listen intently to the teachings of Islam,” says Omar Penalber. Courtesy DTCM
“I encourage those attending to be liberal and open-minded and to listen intently to the teachings of Islam,” says Omar Penalber. Courtesy DTCM

Prominent Filipino Muslim preachers to discuss Islam at Dubai World Trade Centre

ABU DHABI // Two prominent Filipino Muslim preachers hope to spread Islam’s message of peace and unity at a community lecture in Dubai at the weekend.

Omar Penalber, 59, and Nuh Caparino, 48, both from Cavite City, were invited to speak at the 13th Ramadan Forum, which began last Thursday, by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

It is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed, the chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.

On Saturday, Mr Penalber and Mr Caparino will hold a joint lecture in Tagalog on “Islam: Past, Present and Future” at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Other lectures will be conducted in Arabic, English, Urdu, Malayalam and Bengali.

Both scholars, who were Christians, will discuss the history of Islam in the Philippines, Islam as the country’s fastest-growing religion, and how they envision Islam’s future in the Philippines.

“I will deliver the same message of Islam: to worship the one and only true God and to prepare for the afterlife,” said Mr Penalber, who is visiting the UAE for the fourth time.

“I encourage those attending to be liberal and open-minded and to listen intently to the message and teachings of Islam.”

Last year, 27 Filipinos embraced Islam after a lecture delivered by Filipino preacher Rashid Indasan. Twenty-four of them were women.

Converts in the Philippines are popularly known as “Balik Islam”, or returnees to Islam. They believe that Filipinos were Muslims before the Spanish colonisers imposed Catholicism on the country. Mr Penalber, who converted to Islam in 1988, is the president of an Islamic centre in Dasmarinas, Cavite, 30 kilometres south of Manila.

He visits different parts of the Philippines to deliver lectures at universities, public places and family gatherings. “Every month, about 100 Filipinos embrace Islam in our centre,” he said. “We hope that the Philippines will become a predominantly Muslim country.”

A Muslim convert since 1994, Mr Caparino set up an Islamic centre in Cavite two years ago. He aims to convey the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims.

“My talk will focus on the three main teachings of the Prophets: to invite people to pray to the one and only true God, invite them to emulate one God and to remind them about the afterlife,” he said.

“We may not admit it but an invisible wall exists between Muslims and non-Muslims.

“We are all searching for peace. But where is peace in our homeland? If we’ve got mutual respect for one another, we’ll achieve peace and unity. Personally, I respect all religions. We will present the teachings of Islam and hope we could somehow remove that barrier.”

The 12 days of community lectures will end on Monday. The sessions will be led by well-known speakers and scholars, who will discuss the teachings of Islam and various social and religious issues.

The main objective was to promote a greater understanding of Islamic values and deep-rooted Ramadan traditions among Muslim and non-Muslim communities living in Dubai, said Hamad bin Mejren, the executive director of business tourism at DTCM and the general coordinator of the Ramadan Forum.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free lectures, which start at 10.40pm at the Zabeel Hall of the Dubai World Trade Centre.

There will be live translations of Arabic lectures into English.

For more details and to register, visit www.almultaqa.ae. Alternatively, call 04 282 1111 or 050 213 6555.


Afghanistan Premier League - at a glance

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium


Tue, Oct 16, 8pm: Kandahar Knights v Kabul Zwanan; Wed, Oct 17, 4pm: Balkh Legends v Nangarhar Leopards; 8pm: Kandahar Knights v Paktia Panthers; Thu, Oct 18, 4pm: Balkh Legends v Kandahar Knights; 8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers; Fri, Oct 19, 8pm: First semi-final; Sat, Oct 20, 8pm: Second semi-final; Sun, Oct 21, 8pm: final


1. Balkh Legends 6 5 1 10

2. Paktia Panthers 6 4 2 8

3. Kabul Zwanan 6 3 3 6

4. Nagarhar Leopards 7 2 5 4

5. Kandahar Knights 5 1 4 2

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo

Power: 178hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 280Nm at 1,350-4,200rpm

Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch auto

Price: from Dh209,000 

On sale: now

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE


Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


Manchester City 6
(D Silva 26', Sterling 38', 81', 87', De Bruyne 61', Jesus 68')

Watford 0

Man of the match: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)


Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope 
Defenders: John Stones, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young, Danny Rose, Trent Alexander-Arnold 
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph 
Forwards: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The biog

Siblings: five brothers and one sister

Education: Bachelors in Political Science at the University of Minnesota

Interests: Swimming, tennis and the gym

Favourite place: UAE

Favourite packet food on the trip: pasta primavera

What he did to pass the time during the trip: listen to audio books


Championship play-offs, second legs:

Aston Villa 0
Middlesbrough 0

(Aston Villa advance 1-0 on aggregate)

Fulham 2
Sessegnon (47'), Odoi (66')

Derby County 0

(Fulham advance 2-1 on aggregate)


Saturday, May 26, Wembley. Kick off 8pm (UAE) 


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


Time; race; prize; distance

4pm: Maiden; (D) Dh150,000; 1,200m
Winner: General Line, Xavier Ziani (jockey), Omar Daraj (trainer)

4.35pm: Maiden (T); Dh150,000; 1,600m
Winner: Travis County, Adrie de Vries, Ismail Mohammed

5.10pm: Handicap (D); Dh175,000; 1,200m
Winner: Scrutineer, Tadhg O’Shea, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

5.45pm: Maiden (D); Dh150,000; 1,600m
Winner: Yulong Warrior, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar

6.20pm: Maiden (D); Dh150,000; 1,600m
Winner: Ejaaby, Jim Crowley, Doug Watson

6.55pm: Handicap (D); Dh160,000; 1,600m
Winner: Storyboard, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar

7.30pm: Handicap (D); Dh150,000; 2,200m
Winner: Grand Dauphin, Gerald Mosse, Ahmed Al Shemaili

8.05pm: Handicap (T); Dh190,000; 1,800m
Winner: Good Trip, Tadhg O’Shea, Ali Rashid Al Raihe




Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

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