Item(s) for March, 2008

Mar 28,2008

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani girls may be getting hooked to smoking as early as 15 years, says a new study.

The study conducted by the Aga Khan University shows that 16 per cent of girls have tried smoking by the age of 15, while over six per cent smoked at least once a month by that age.

Interestingly, the users were found to be aware of the hazards of smoking. The university, which published its study in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, interviewed 644 Karachi girls with an average age of 15.

The sample was drawn from both government and private schools in the southern port city. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data.

While most girls admitted to smoking to keep a check on their weight, the findings endorsed other studies which suggest that sex differences in tobacco use are disappearing and that tobacco companies are aggressively targeting women in developing countries.

The percentage of Pakistani teen girl smokers is higher than that reported in some Indian cities as well as neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

“It is distressing how often studies of girls’ smoking rates in countries previously protected by cultural and religious factors are finding results well on the way to catching up males of comparable age,” said a report in the Tobacco Control Journal, which cited the study.


Mar 26,2008
Author: BI-ME staff
Source: BI-ME and agencies
Published: 26 March 2008

UAE. The Aga Khan, leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims, this week opened a cultural centre in Dubai for followers of the branch of Shia Islam.

The Ismaili Centre Dubai is the first base for Ismailis in the majority-Sunni Muslim Middle East. The Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary imam, or spiritual leader, of the Ismailis, the second-largest group of Shiites.

“This is a means of establishing a permanent cultural root in one area,” the Aga Khan said today in an interview after opening the centre.

He founded the Geneva-based Aga Khan Development Network, which has established several agencies in Syria and Egypt that focus on microfinance, education and culture to improve local living conditions. Dubai’s Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum, donated the land for the centre in 1982, a gesture that is a “symbol of the wonderful diversity that characterises Dubai,” the Aga Khan said.

Dubai has become a regional business and tourism destination, attracting expatriates who use it as a base for accessing the rest of the Gulf region.

The role of the Dubai Ismaili Centre, the fourth in the world after London, Lisbon and Vancouver, is to bring together the secular and the spiritual to emphasise the role of “Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith,” according to a statement from the Aga Khan’s secretariat. The United Arab Emirates location includes a prayer hall, as well as a secular pre-school, and will hold conferences and public exhibitions on Islam’s heritage.

“There is a long tradition, certainly in the Emirates, of tolerance and accommodating the practices and beliefs of the immigrant communities,” Anthony Harris, former UK Ambassador to the UAE, said in a Bloomberg interview.

The Ismaili Centre’s Egyptian architects, El Dahan & Farid Engineering Consultants, were inspired by the Fatimid Empire in Cairo, which dominates accounts of Ismaili history for about 400 hundred years after the founding of Islam in the seventh century.

“That’s where Ismaili history lies,” Azim Nanji, Professor of Islamic Studies at Stanford University in California and Director of the London-based Institute of Ismaili Studies, said today during a tour of the Centre. “That period in Egypt was such a fertile time for creativity, and this center is a way to bring that ethos back again.”

Mar 25,2008

Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, on Monday received Prince Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Islamic Ismaili sect.

Shaikh Hamdan and Aga Khan reviewed a number of educational, social and developmental projects implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation in Arab and Islamic countries.

Among those present was Shaikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Emiri Flight Authority.