UAE royal calls on residents to avoid using acronym 'RAK'

Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi says people should be proud of the emirate's name

Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates - February 1st, 2018: At the top of the world's longest zip line at Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at Jebel Jasi, Ras Al Khaimah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The wife of the Ruler of Sharjah has called on residents of Ras Al Khaimah to avoid using the common acronym RAK.

Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi said residents should be proud of the emirate's full name and should refrain from using any abbreviation.

In a post shared on Twitter, Sheikha Jawaher, who is also a member of the ruling family of Ras Al Khaimah, said she strongly regretted hearing people shortening the emirate’s name.

She said the name Ras Al Khaimah had been in use for centuries, and was first mentioned in a book dating back to the time of Alexander the Great in 321 BC.

“Be honoured and proud,” she wrote. “The history of Ras Al Khaimah is honoured and revered.

“The names of the Al Qasimi families and Sheikhs don't change or get shortened.”

The RAK acronym is used frequently by businesses based in the emirate, including RAKBANK and RAK Ceramics.

Even the emirate's own government website frequently uses the abbreviated version, referring to upcoming events such as the "RAK Motor Show".

But speaking to The National on Wednesday, many of the emirates' own residents agreed with Sheikha Jawaher.

They also complained that use of the RAK acronym had become too widespread and that young people in particular should make more effort to use its full name.

"I hear many young people call our emirate RAK instead of Ras Al Khaimah and this is unacceptable," said Obaid Al Mazroui, 71.
"We should respect our history and our official emirate name. This is what gives us our identity.

“Our emirate played a major role in the fight against the Portuguese and the British and the [younger] generation should be more aware of this."

Ahmad Al Dahouri, 68, also urged residents to respect the name of the emirate. “I understand that it is the era of speed and that they [the younger generation] are trying to shorten the names of almost everything but some names should be left untouched as a sign of respect,” he said.

“People should be taught more about the history of the emirate, be reminded of it all the time and be proud of it."

Archaeological excavations in Ras Al Khaimah have uncovered pottery dating back to 5,000 BC, suggesting the area has been an established trade route for more than 7,000 years.

One of the emirate’s most well-known residents, Ahmad Ibn Majid, often referred to as the first Arab seaman, in some accounts was said to have acted as navigator for the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama during his epic crossing from Europe to Asia between 1497 and 1498.