A member of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix talks with an anti-Islam demonstrator during the protests. Reuters
A member of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix talks with an anti-Islam demonstrator during the protests. Reuters

Heavily-armed Islamophobes protest outside Arizona mosque



PHOENIX // Heavily armed anti-Islam demonstrators showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed faced off against a counter demonstration outside a mosque in Arizona.

The rally on Friday was organised by a Phoenix man who said he was a former Marine who fought in Iraq. He led about 250 people who carried pistols, assault rifles, American flags and drawings of the Prophet Mohammed to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

That group was met by an equal sized group of protesters, some holding signs promoting love and peace, who came to show their support for the mosque and the Muslim community.

As the two sides argued and yelled, dozens of police officers formed a line between them and kept them separated. There were no reports of injuries or arrests at the protest, which lasted a couple of hours and gained attention around the country on social media.

The president of the centre urged worshippers not to engage with the demonstrators.

“We should remind ourselves that we do not match wrongness with wrongness, but with grace and mercy and goodness,” Usama Shami told worshippers during Friday afternoon prayers.

The protest came about a month after a shoot-out outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon-drawing contest in Dallas, Texas. Two Phoenix men arrived at the event with assault rifles and were killed by police.

“This is in response to the recent attack in Texas,” organiser Jon Ritzheimer wrote on his Facebook page, suggesting demonstrators should come with weapons in case our First Amendment “comes under much anticipated attack”.

Drawings of the Prophet Mohammed are deemed insulting to many followers of Islam and have been a flashpoint for violence in Europe and the US in recent months where those displaying or creating such images have been targeted by militants.

Meanwhile, anti-Muslim groups have been active in the US, buying ads and staging demonstrations characterising Islam as violent.

The Phoenix mosque targeted on Friday has condemned such violence, and held a series of sermons at Friday prayers last year by an imam who criticised militant groups like ISIL, Al Qaeda and Nigeria’s Boko Haram.

* Associated Press and Reuters

SPECS

Engine: 6-cylinder 3-litre, with petrol and diesel variants
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 286hp (petrol), 249hp (diesel)
Torque: 450Nm (petrol), 550Nm (diesel)
Price: Starting at $69,800
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Switching sides

Mahika Gaur is the latest Dubai-raised athlete to attain top honours with another country.

Velimir Stjepanovic (Serbia, swimming)
Born in Abu Dhabi and raised in Dubai, he finished sixth in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 200m butterfly final.

Jonny Macdonald (Scotland, rugby union)
Brought up in Abu Dhabi and represented the region in international rugby. When the Arabian Gulf team was broken up into its constituent nations, he opted to play for Scotland instead, and went to the Hong Kong Sevens.

Sophie Shams (England, rugby union)
The daughter of an English mother and Emirati father, Shams excelled at rugby in Dubai, then after attending university in the UK played for England at sevens.

The specs: 2019 Infiniti QX50

Price, base: Dh138,000 (estimate)
Engine: 2.0L, turbocharged, in-line four-cylinder
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Power: 268hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 380Nm @ 4,400rpm
Fuel economy: 6.7L / 100km (estimate)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl

Power: 153hp at 6,000rpm

Torque: 200Nm at 4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Price: Dh99,000

On sale: now

MATCH INFO

Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Hotspur, midnight (Thursday), UAE

Essentials

The flights
Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines all fly direct from the UAE to Kuala Lumpur and on to Penang from about Dh2,300 return, including taxes. 
 

Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, Element is a recently opened, futuristic hotel high up in a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper. Rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes. Hotel Stripes, also in KL, is a great value design hotel, with an infinity rooftop pool. Rooms cost from Dh310, including taxes. 


In Penang, Ren i Tang is a boutique b&b in what was once an ancient Chinese Medicine Hall in the centre of Little India. Rooms cost from Dh220, including taxes.
23 Love Lane in Penang is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in a converted mansion, with private tropical gardens. Rooms cost from Dh400, including taxes. 
In Langkawi, Temple Tree is a unique architectural villa hotel consisting of antique houses from all across Malaysia. Rooms cost from Dh350, including taxes.

Company profile

Name: Yabi by Souqalmal 

Started: May 2022, launched June 2023

Founder: Ambareen Musa

Based: Dubai 

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: undisclosed but soon to be announced 

Number of staff: 12 

Investment stage: seed  

Investors: Shuaa Capital

Explainer: Tanween Design Programme

Non-profit arts studio Tashkeel launched this annual initiative with the intention of supporting budding designers in the UAE. This year, three talents were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the sixth creative development programme. These are architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.

The trio have been guided by experts from the industry over the course of nine months, as they developed their own products that merge their unique styles with traditional elements of Emirati design. This includes laboratory sessions, experimental and collaborative practice, investigation of new business models and evaluation.

It is led by British contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce and mentor Kevin Badni, and offers participants access to experts from across the world, including the likes of UK designer Gareth Neal and multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi.

The final pieces are being revealed in a worldwide limited-edition release on the first day of Downtown Designs at Dubai Design Week 2019. Tashkeel will be at stand E31 at the exhibition.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director of Tashkeel, said: “The diversity and calibre of the applicants this year … is reflective of the dynamic change that the UAE art and design industry is witnessing, with young creators resolute in making their bold design ideas a reality.”

The specs

Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Power: 575bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Price: Dh554,000

On sale: now

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylturbo

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

Power: 242bhp

Torque: 370Nm

Price: Dh136,814

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre V8

Power: 503hp at 6,000rpm

Torque: 685Nm at 2,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Price: from Dh850,000

On sale: now

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

TO ALL THE BOYS: ALWAYS AND FOREVER

Directed by: Michael Fimognari

Starring: Lana Condor and Noah Centineo

Two stars

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed