DUBAI // A US rap artist who converted to Islam after hearing the call to prayer in Dubai will discuss his spiritual journey in one of several events during Ramadan.
Amir Hawkins was part of P Diddy's Bad Boy Records, where he released an album under his stage name, Loon, and enjoyed other commercial successes, according to his Facebook fan page, which has more than 51,000 "likes".
Baptised a Christian, Mr Hawkins now dedicates his life to giving Dawa, or preaching Islam, and will speak at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) on August 12.
The agency will host other events aimed at shedding light on Islam at its headquarters in the Al Twar area in the first two weeks of the holy month.
The 10th Ramadan Forum, under the theme Faith and Security, takes place from August 4 to August 15.
It comprises a series of lectures in Arabic, delivered by renowned Islamic scholars from around the world.
Events also include a daily iftar for 2,500 Muslims at the Al Muhaisnah Sonapur area, and an iftar programme for non-Muslims at Obaid and Juma Al Thani House in the historic Shindagha.
A bus called Kafilat Al Khair, or Convoy of Goodness, will travel around Dubai with its passengers distributing books and CDs about Islam and Muslim tradition.
The DTCM will also distribute informative material in a number of languages that can be passed along by those who attend the forum to their non-Muslim friends, to introduce them to Islam.
Mohammed Al Hashemi, the chairman of the organising committee, said last year's forum attracted more than 60,000 visitors, and more than 100,000 attended the mass iftar.
The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai will also organise activities and lectures during Ramadan.
The department, dedicated to education and religious instruction, has planned more than 26 activities to increase awareness and religious understanding in the community.
"It is the duty of every Muslim to hold his brother's hand and to help others to perform good deeds," said Dr Omar Al Khateeb, the assistant director general for Islamic Affairs.
"Every year, we renew our religious programmes so that we can reach the largest segment of Muslims who can benefit from this holy month."
New Muslims will be encouraged to learn about fasting, and discussions will take place on Ramadan customs and traditions. Daily lectures and lessons will take place at mosques. Evening prayers, known as taraweeh, will be broadcast live from Al Farooq mosque.
Information stands will be open throughout the month at Reef Mall, Dubai Mall and Dragon Mart for people who would like to find out more about Islam.