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Ask Ali: Why women on pilgrimage are rarely seen on TV

Women do participate in pilgrimage just like men; however, there is a located area within the borders of the Mecca mosque.

Dear Ali: When I watch clips of Haj on television, I always notice the sea of pilgrims in white. But they all seem to be men; do women participate? CC, Abu Dhabi

Dear CC: Pilgrimage is for both men and women, and both would wear white clothes.

Women do participate in pilgrimage just like men; however, there is a located area within the borders of the Mecca mosque. So it’s true when you watch the Haj on TV, you would notice more men than women.

And as you may know, filming or taking pictures of women in our society would always require permission, especially when wanting to show their faces, hence you may notice the section for women but the cameras would never come close to show their faces. Also, they are wearing white as well, so it wouldn’t be easy to notice that they are women.

Dear Ali: Which ocean do you think has the best water as a marine experience for divers in the UAE? VB, Abu Dhabi

Dear VB: I’m not sure if we have an ocean on our side of the world, rather more of a sea or a gulf, hence I would say the Arabian Gulf, which is rich with marine life. However, when it comes to diving, you need more depth in the water to enjoy the experience. I have found that the water off Fujairah feels like an ocean from the Oman side of the sea. The water there is really deep and rich with many different marine lifeforms and lots of dolphins. There are many companies that can be easily found when you visit Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah that offer diving trips.

Dear Ali: I’m searching for an Emirati to sponsor a business I want to set up in Abu Dhabi, but I’m not sure how to choose one. I know about the free-zone concept but I need a sponsor to support the business. Also, are there other ways to set up a business in the UAE? HF, Abu Dhabi

Dear HF: If you are in search of someone to back and support your business, an Emirati sponsor would always be the best option. But do remember that while finding a sponsor is very easy, finding the right sponsor is more difficult, because you have to make sure you associate yourself with someone who understands your business, or at least has an interest in it, and becomes an asset. You don’t just want someone signing a piece of a paper for you to get the licence.

I could help and support you in finding the right sponsor if I got the chance to know more about your business. I would then recommend a local friend or other potential sponsor who might be interested. But do start with your Emirati friends or friends of your friends who know Emiratis. Get to know them and go out for dinner and start explaining your business offer and take it from there.

The one who sees a good future for your business will want to be a sponsor right away, especially if you want them to be actively involved. The other option is to hire a service agent that represents your products or services here in the country. You can also make a minimum investment by using your service agent’s office space and mailing address. That way, by simply using an existing platform, you save money on rent and staff by just paying a negotiated fee. Find an Emirati service agent that trusts you and believes in your service before you show him the money.

Another option I recommend is to contact the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, as it has a great customer service staff that can answer your inquiries and update you with any information that has been released about the local business market. Go to www.abudhabichamber.ae or call 02 621 4000.

Ali Al Saloom is a cultural adviser and public speaker from the UAE. Follow @AskAli on Twitter, and visit www.ask-ali.com to ask him a question and to find his guidebooks to the UAE, priced at Dh50.

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