07 April, 2008

Gulf News: "Website remark 'is not objective'"

Gulf News responds to the website; http://www.uaelawdirectory.com/ (an interesting mission statement, by the way!):

"Some foreign media have the habit of taking up trivial issues and blowing them up which raises the question of objectivity, said a senior official.

Ebrahim Al Abed, Director General of the National Media Council, was reacting to a foreign website which describes Sharla Musabah, owner of a villa called City of Hope, as "Mother Teresa of Dubai".

Al Abed told Gulf News nobody can put restrictions on foreign media as such but what has been published on the website is not objective. "If we pay too much attention to them we are falling into their trap and that means we are considering them important, which is not true," he said."


"The Indian community members said they cannot accept the fact that Sharla is being described as 'Mother Teresa of Dubai'. Y.A. Rahim, President of the Sharjah Indian Association, said no one can be Mother Teresa and nobody can reach her noble status.

"The Indian community in the UAE and in the world denies this rubbish," he said. "If Sharla is claiming that she is doing social work, she cannot even reach one per cent of Mother Teresa. We are not accepting that at all."


"Mother Teresa was a great woman who dedicated her life to serve poor people and the community. No one can reach mother Teresa, she is a woman who cannot be compared to anyone," he said."

Full article.

You may also note the 'important correction' added to the NY Times article about Mrs. Musabih:

Correction: March 30, 2008
An article last Sunday about Sharla Musabih and her efforts to protect battered wives and victims of human trafficking in Dubai paraphrased incorrectly from her comment about the need to take strong action to protect women. She said she was fighting any attitudes that made domestic abuse possible; she did not say that she was fighting patriarchal Arab traditions.


samuraisam said...

Oh damn, I just wrote a post about this /:
Didn't see yours...
Lemme paste my comments on the article in here...
I find his claim that they are unable to put restrictions on foreign media to be totally untrue-- they can easily just block the website in question (just like www.arabtimes.com).
I'm more interested to know how they went through an entire website and could only find a 3 word quote to throw questions at.
Gulfnews then goes on to actually interview people in the Indian community to verify that Sharlah Musabih is not actually Mother Teresa...

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

Okay, not to get the 'Indian Community' all over me, but what the hell? No one can ever reach Mother Teresa's status? What a load of bullshit.

So, she dedicated her life to social work.. and? I mean, seriously, get a life.

I'm not particularly a fan of Sharla's style. However, given the choice between having no one even attempting to protect abused women and the American cowboy style.. I would much rather go with the latter. Someone's gotta do it!

So if Mr. Police Officer wants to talk shit, let him actually do something instead of moving his lips. I've seen how the police operate and I can tell you, Sharla is a godsend if there ever was one.

And to Mr. Al Abed of the NMC: you are ignorant. International media _is_ important. Every website that shows up in a search engine _is_ important, because tourists who are searching Dubai and the UAE will come across it. Westerners have this thing about human rights and they sort of get upset with countries that have a tendency to abuse them. It doesn't matter if you do or not.. but having websites out that can be picked up by search engines _IS_ going to affect you.

So, get out of your shell and perhaps have someone with a clue take over your job.


Anonymous said...

Great article by Gulf News, echoed what many of us feel about foreign media who hate the UAE. As the article says, the UAE is famous and successful, and no jealous foreign media or foreigners can change that.

We have the tallest building , the richest horse race, and the highest concentration of expensive cars !

bb said...

I though the highest concentration of expensive car was in kuwait?

Anyway, western media have an habit of "taking up" a lot of issues and which contrast with the habit of paper around here to publish press releases verbatim.

They started to seek and crave the world's attention for Dubai, bigger, better, faster.. well now you have it and the dirty laundry will go side by side with your latest burj something announcement.

That's how the media attention works. Those officials should get of their high camels and get a clue.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

So it’s not only me who thinks that using Indian community to counter the website's claim and propaganda was just a cheap shot.

And this guy from the community in Sharjah seems to be in hunger for some publicity. I have the greatest of respect for mother Teresa and the Mahatma Gandhi, but to suggest that they cannot be matched or even surpassed in nobleness by nobody else is just ridiculous.

I am wondering, only wondering, should Mrs. Musabih have been a personality the Gulf News is interested in promoting as Mother Teresa, would they have quoted the head of Indian community the way they did?

DUBAI JAZZ said...

he he Sam, I beat you to it this time!

Thanks for not overriding my post!

Emirates said...

^^ u mean the period? :P

Guess what, Sharla denied most of what was written in NY times.

samuraisam said...

The gulfnews article makes no sense at all...
"He said that some people like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King are unique and cannot be compared to anyone."
Even though he managed to plop them all in the same statement... therefore comparing them?

This is nothing more than the National Media Council teaming up with other government departments in order to disparage people who are trying to change things; of course they go after the statement "Mother Teresa of Dubai" and not anything else on the website--because they don't have anything to say.
It's good that no one seems stupid enough to try launching attacks against the BBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Associated Press; because if all those publications have covered this topic in the same manner then it is entirely unpossible that Sharlah is doing something good.

Smith said...

It's interesting to see the website that they are calling "Foreign Media"

When I read that I thought that they were talking about an accredited news agency or publication.

But they are talking about:


This site is pathetic nothing more than some dude's opinion, and thanks to the gulf news article I'm sure is getting 1,000x more attention and traffic than ever before lol

the real nick said...

What I find ironic is that Mother Teresa was not even Indian, but Macedonian Albanian.
How come these kind of 'associations' always attract a special kind of wanker?

Arab Lady said...

Sharla sharla...sharla..eft! whenever i read Emarate EL Youm i find Sami EL Riyami writing about her majesty Sharlaaaaaaa....

Whether sharla dies the bullshit mentioned in NY Times or not, its over as its published & used against the country & its reputation!!! How shame sharla!

Why the hell she should speak with foreign media?what for? Fame ? external pressure on local media?

She obviously showed her disloyalty to the country…the last thing we would need is to let American women teach UAE nationals how to treat their women nicely!!

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Real Nick, shut up! Do you know how sacrilegious it is to talk about mother Teresa like this?

rosh said...

"...the last thing we would need is to let American women teach UAE nationals how to treat their women nicely"

Talk about taking it out of context eh? Agreed, perhaps there is a bit too much freedom in America, personally - I find that outweighs freedoms extended to an abused woman and find justice.

Not all American women are Paris Hiltons, you know. A few friends, who work in social service here in NYC, have stories on abuse, which, am shall send chills down the spine.

Am surprised/confused, a feminist, as in you (am making that assumption, based on your blog endeavours) feels a nations’ supposed "reputation" is perhaps more vital, than a woman's basic need for safety and well being.

Sharla is what the UAE needs - her ways may not be all rose water diplomacy, however, the message gets thru. And she isn't helping just the Emirati women, she's helping all women who face abuse.
At times, such is what it takes for someone to sit up and do something in this part of the world.

Proud Emirati said...

Sharla said that in general women are treated by their husbands here better than other places. She also said that NY times have taken what she said out of context and exaggerated and said things she never mentioned.

Dnenvy said...

Why is Gulf News hellbent on painting this woman in a bad light? It's obvious someone working there has a personal agenda against her, and to let it leak through to the newspaper over and over is just incredibly unprofessional on their part.

Gulfnews, mudslinging at its best!

dnenvy said...

All of the articles about Sharla from Gulf News originate from the same writer, Bassma Al Jandaly who written 3 or 4 articles on Sharla.

Arab Lady said...

My conclusion is that her shelter is not licensed & she must abide by UAE regulations & work closely with Key ppl in the country to develop a systematic process , solid infrastructure, & clear politices to protect abused ppl…etc

Renting a house in Jumeriah to provide shelter to 10 women & speaking with foreign media are not the solution (which will be used against the city of course)…..the issue is bigger than me & u

”Not all American women are Paris Hiltons, you know. A few friends, who work in social service here in NYC, have stories on abuse, which, am shall send chills down the spine.”

I didn’t say all American Women are Paris Hilton!

I meant that they might need her back in the states more than Dubai!!

”Am surprised/confused, a feminist, as in you (am making that assumption, based on your blog endeavors) feels a nations’ supposed "reputation" is perhaps more vital, than a woman's basic need for safety and well being.”
A women herself can determine the level of “safety and well being.” She wants

I didn’t say that Dubai’s image is more important that “a woman's basic need for safety and well being.”
But in this case YES DUBAI is more important than spreading manipulated facts. Women in Dubai DO HAVE basic “safety and well being” standards”!
this is my opinion at least!

I guess Sharla exaggerated the situation as if Emarati women or expats are living in Afganistan.

If a woman gets abused by her husband she can immediately get divorced if she wants. a western woman can approach her emabassy & they will send her back to her country!!

So simple!

But if a woman ACCEPTS the abuse & ACCEPTS to go back & forth to the POLICE STATION THEN she absolutely DESERVES what she is going through!!

The Emarati women are taking their opportunities ..they r widely respected & supported by the government.

so what the HELL sharla wants more from Dubai government! it’s a young country that is till flourishing…

more rules & policies will be developed by the time to cover all aspects of life not only Human Rights

the process needs everybody's POSITIVE EFFORTS


Proud Emirati said...

I bet that if Sharla was an Emirati Arab and not originally American no one would pay attention to what she say.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Proud Emarati, I agree. I was thinking the same thing…

And this is why significant number of people on this blog will ignore, refute or mock what Arab Lady has just said….

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they blocked it in local proxy!



ben said...

me think for GN to commend Sharla work , would amount to acknowledging that in the UAE there cases of abused women who need help, and help from an outside the govt at that,..maybe now GN would not want to tarnish the image of the UAE would it?

Saphia said...

"If a woman gets abused by her husband she can immediately get divorced if she wants. a western woman can approach her emabassy & they will send her back to her country!!"

This is NOT true--I don't know of ANY embassy that would send a woman back to her country if she reported being abused!!

"But if a woman ACCEPTS the abuse & ACCEPTS to go back & forth to the POLICE STATION THEN she absolutely DESERVES what she is going through!!"

You have no idea what you're writing about--I know for a FACT (having gone through it) that the police will not do ANYTHING if a woman reports abuse. Any excuse, no matter how ridiculous, made by the husband is accepted. Even going through the courts here, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get a divorce. The only way I finally managed to get mine was through wasta--if I hadn't known the right people, I would still be married to the man who broke my arm.

You shouldn't write with such authority on subjects you know NOTHING about.

i*maginate said...

Well said, rosh.

Arab Lady, Dubai is a city not a country.

the real nick said...

yes, i*maginate, that why UAE stands for United Arab Cities, right?

DUBAI JAZZ said...

lol Real Nick!

Proud Emirati said...

Saphia, I am sorry to hear that but I think you should have had a better lawyer.

rosh said...

Arab Lady: a nation is built by it's people (both men & women). It's reputation grows almost parallel, given well being of the people who help built it. On this issue, though UAE is light years ahead of it's neighbours, things are not ideal as can be. My mom has been an OBGYN in SHJ for over 30 years, I've heard some unfortunate facts on this topic.

Here's a good read from The Emirates Economist. Note the letter from a woman who faced abuse and extent of help she received.

samuraisam said...

proud emirati:
"Saphia, I am sorry to hear that but I think you should have had a better lawyer."

Any idea how much a decent lawyer in the UAE costs?

i*maginate said...

nick, in your book any arab community is a village!

Proud Emirati said...


hmmm, how come I never hear any of those abuse stories in my life, unless I live in a fake ideal one? I only read about those things in the media.

Proud Emirati said...

and yea, I cannot swallow the saying that the police do nothing about those abuses, totally illogical, why would they do that?

And if they do nothing, although unlikely in my view, then shame on them !!

secretdubai said...

And if they do nothing, although unlikely in my view, then shame on them !

And if they do do nothing, which there is ample evidence that at least in certain cases they don't - or at least do very little - thank god for people like Sharla.

rosh said...

"....how come I never hear any of those abuse stories in my life..."

PE: Am sorry, but it's surprising, as a concerned citizen, and, as a cop, you have not come across or dealt with women who've faced abuse, ever.

This isn't something to be ashamed of, you know (and am not saying you are). It's about helping who need help, amongst them, the less fortunate/powerless.

From the US Department of State, March 2008 Report on UAE.

"Domestic abuse of women remained a problem, and there were allegations that it was sometimes enabled by police."

UmmeAaiman said...

Why can't they be original and not compare Sharla to anybody? The job she's doing is for the benefit of Emirati women, why meddle and bring the "Indian community" in, organize a whole website, block it somehow, get Emirati activists (usually male) to petition, spread the word... etc etc ??? LOL!!

The fact that the Emirati men are so on the defensive just proves their offense.

Sharla, admirable!

Rose in Dubai said...

Arab Lady - does it not occur to you that the people who are bringing the good name of Dubai into disrepute are the men who beat up their wives, the human traffickers and the people around them who enable it?

Its not the people who are trying to help these women who are creating the bad imge. It is not an insult to Dubai to publicise their plight, the people who are insulting Dubai are the people who think it needs to be covered up.

Anonymous said...

As an American who regularly reads newspapers from around the world, Those who are cautious about even the beginnings of "feminism" in the UAE are very wise, more wise than the public and politicians in America. We have 25% of the world's population who are in prison. 95% of those in prison in America come from single mother homes. 95% of prostitutes on the streets of America were raised in single mother homes. Feminism breeds abuse of women, not protection. The rise in single mother homes came not from divorcing abusive men, but divorcing under new "no fault" laws which destroys the innocent spouse (usually the man) and destroys or greatly harms the children. That is feminism at work. Those who oppose feminism are working to save their family and their country. Protect from real abuse, not false allegations.
As to Sharla, it may help to research the British woman Erin Prizzey and her shelter work and how it was hijacked by extreme feminists to destroy men and children for power.

Anonymous said...

GULF NEWS: Every time there is an article about Yemen, the words "One of the Poorest Countries" is always mentioned. Iceland has taken on that role but it’s never mentioned.

Times have changed and so has Yemen and but Gulf News still Cut & Paste. As for their Opinion on Articles, they never publish anything critical of their paper.

I was so disgusted with Gulf News, I cancelled my subscription and never felt better. The amount of paper i was receiving (property rubbish) was unacceptable.

Oh Yea, please don’t believe their circulations records which are about as the unsuccessful as the Green Shopping bags they disturbed and bragged about for months.

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