x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Controls on import of food and toys offensive to Islam on FNC agenda

Member cites case of offensive toy gun sold in Dibba, and illness of 18 children in Umm Al Quwain after ingesting nicotine in what they believed were sweets.

ABU DHABI // Greater border controls are needed to prevent toys offensive to Islam from entering the country, according to an FNC member.

Dr Mohamed Musallam bin Ham (Abu Dhabi) is expecting the Minister of Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, to respond to his concerns at the council's session today. He is also questioning controls on food imports after 18 children fell ill in Umm Al Quwain after ingesting nicotine contained in what they believed were sweets.

Dr bin Ham believes there has been an increase recently in the amount of offensive toys being sold to children.

He said he had seen a number of toys that featured offensive writing and drawings. He gave the example of toy guns found being sold in Dibba last year which, when fired, voiced insults concerning the Prophet's wife, Aisha.

Such toys, he warned, were harming the upbringing of the nation's children.

"The formation of one's character begins at an early age, and everyone has to work together and exert all efforts to bring about future generations that adhere to our Islamic traditions," he said.

Dr bin Ham has also submitted a question concerning how contaminated food, particularly children's food, is being imported.

He gave the example of Vimto, which was briefly taken off shelves in Dubai after the municipality found some batches were contaminated with a harmful bacteria.

He also noted the UAQ case last week in which 18 children between the ages of six and 11 were sickened by nicotine and other "harmful chemicals" in what they thought were sweets.

All these products, said Dr bin Ham, entered the country through official ports.

He argued it would be easier to stop these goods from entering the country in the first place, rather than to track them down when they are in stores.

The Minister of Energy, Mohammed Al Hamili, who failed to appear at the previous session this month, is also expected to address members today. He has been asked to explain why prices for water and electricity vary across the country, and why the price of petrol has increased.

The Minister of Health, Abdulrahman Al Owais, is also scheduled to answer questions over delays to the building of Al Masafi hospital.

In the second part of the council's session there will be discussions on a competitiveness bill and on another bill to amend a 2007 law establishing an insurance company.

The session will be open to the public starting at 9am.

osalem@thenational.ae