Festive brides add to Mawlid celebrations in Egypt – Arab News

CAIRO: Egyptians are preparing to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday — also known as El-Mawlid El-Nabawi.
Although the celebration will take place on Oct. 7, streets around the country are already filled with all kinds of festive sweets and candies. The price of a candy box ranges from 100 Egyptian pounds ($5) to 1900 Egyptian pounds, depending on the brand and quality.
Among the famous pieces of candy that takes over the streets of Egypt is the famous Mawlid doll or bride, which was made in the past with sugar and water.
The tradition has been handed down for generations, with dolls manufacturers moving from scattered sweet shops to homes.
“I started the project of manufacturing Mawlid brides with only 400 Egyptian pounds,” Rasha Abdel Hamid, 20, said.
“I graduated from the faculty of social work, but I love designing brides, especially Mawlid brides, and this is what made me start my project about four years ago. After I designed a bride it impressed all my acquaintances, and they asked me to make the same for them. So I bought raw materials and designed six brides, and from there the project began,” she added.

This tradition has traveled through generations, and the Mawlid doll’s manufacturers have moved from scattered sweet shops to homes. (Supplied)

“I only work during the season of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and the brides that I make vary between those veiled and those that do not suit all tastes. This year I designed 60 Mawlid brides … I hope to have a factory next year during the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday,” she said.
Bride prices vary depending on the region that they are sold in. In high-end areas of Cairo, they sell for about 150 Egyptian pounds, while in villages, they range from 5-25 Egyptian pounds.
Zainab Abdel-Dayem, 44, a housewife, carries out the same hobby as Hamid.
“Since my young age, I have had a love for drawing, making and decorating brides, and in the seasons of the Prophet’s birthday there is an increasing demand for such brides, increasing my profits,” she told Arab News.
“I buy plastic brides, fabric, sewing tools and wax pistols to create Mawlid brides.
“This year, I developed my craft by adding lights to the brides. Also, I made the brides spin and sing using small electronic systems,” Abdel-Dayem said.
In one of the workshops in the Al-Azhar area in the center of Cairo, Atta Shalaby sat playing his part in the manufacturing of the dolls.
“The doll creation goes through several stages, the first being the base of the bride, which is made in carton factories. Then we cut the fabric and define the shape of the dress. Then comes the installation of the bride’s body on the base,” he told Arab News.
Then the bride gets transported to skilled craftsmen who give final touches to the product and finally the bride gets wrapped,” Shalaby added.
“I have been working for a long time in the manufacturing of Mawlid dolls from sugar and water, but no one does that anymore. Mawlid dolls are now made of plastic. They are more profitable, but certainly less creative,” he said.
LONDON: Kuwait has postponed convening the first parliament session after elections to Oct. 18, the state news agency reported on Saturday.
“The National Assembly’s first regular session of the 17th legislative term is adjourned until Oct. 18, head of Kuwait’s Center for Government Communication and spokesman Tareq Al-Mizrem said Saturday,” KUNA said in a statement.
“This came in line with Article 106 of the constitution, Al-Mizrem wrote on CGC’s Twitter account,” it added.
The Gulf state’s crown prince re-appointed Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al-Sabah as prime minister on Wednesday and later approved a new Cabinet following legislative polls.
The government has not taken the constitutional oath because of the objection of more than 40 members of parliament. Local media said ministers of the old cabinet had resigned. 
(With Reuters)
LONDON: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah traveled on Saturday to Italy for usual medical tests, state news agency KUNA reported.
“Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah arrived in Italy on Saturday to continue with regular medical checkups,” it said in a statement, adding that he was received at the airport by Kuwait’s Ambassador to Italy Nasser Al-Qahtani and members of the embassy.
Sheikh Nawaf assumed power in the Gulf Arab state in 2020 after the death of his brother Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed. 
(With Reuters)
PARIS: Schoolgirls chanted slogans, workers went on strike and street clashes erupted in Iran on Saturday, as protests over the death of Mahsa Amini entered a fourth week in defiance of a bloody crackdown.
Anger flared over the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurd on September 16, three days after she was arrested in Tehran by the notorious morality police for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
“Woman, life, freedom,” girls were heard chanting at a school in Amini’s hometown Saqez, in Kurdistan province, where another group of girls were seen swinging headscarves above their heads on a street, in videos the Hengaw rights group said were recorded on Saturday.
In another video it shared, a group of girls could be heard chanting the same phrase — the catchcry of the protests — as they entered a school in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province.
The protests followed calls for people to take to the streets again overnight.
“We are not afraid anymore. We will fight,” said a large banner placed on an overpass of the Modares highway that cuts through central Tehran, according to online images verified by AFP.
In another widely shared video, a man is seen altering the wording of a large government billboard from “The police are the servants of the people” to “The police are the murderers of the people.”
Hengaw, a Kurdish rights group based in Norway, said “widespread strikes” were taking place in Saqez, Sanandaj and Divandarreh, in Kurdistan province, as well as Mahabad in West Azerbaijan province.
Shots could be heard as protesters clashed with security forces on a street in Sanandaj, in a video shared by the 1500tasvir social media channel that monitors violations in the Islamic republic.
The same source said there were protests in the southern city of Shiraz.
It also shared videos of demonstrators in Karaj, a city west of Tehran, and the southern city of Kerman, where drivers honked their car horns as dozens of people gathered on the roadside.
AFP was unable to immediately verify the footage from 1500tasvir.
Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights says at least 92 protesters have been killed by the security forces.
The crackdown has fueled tensions between Iran and the West, especially its arch enemy the United States.
Ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi, who took part in a ceremony on Saturday at a Tehran university marking the start of the academic year, has blamed the unrest on outside forces.
“Despite all the efforts of ill-wishers, the strong and hardworking people of Islamic Iran will overcome the problems ahead with unity and cohesion,” he was quoted as saying on the presidency’s website.
RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli forces killed two Palestinians on Saturday in clashes that erupted during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said, the latest incident in recent months around the flashpoint city of Jenin.
The Israeli military said that security forces on an operation to arrest a wanted gunman from of the Islamic Jihad militant group, came under Palestinian fire.
“Dozens of Palestinians threw explosives and Molotov cocktails at the forces and fired at them. The forces fired at armed suspects. Hits were identified,” the military said on Twitter.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said two Palestinians were killed and 11 were wounded. There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The latest in a near-daily series of incidents around Jenin, a militant stronghold, underlined once more the volatile security climate in the West Bank as Israel heads toward elections on Nov. 1.
“The more the occupation perpetrates its crimes, the tougher the resistance will be,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.
More than 70 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since Israel launched its Operation Breakwater against militants on March 31 in response to a string of fatal Palestinian street attacks in Israel. The toll includes militants and civilians.
The surge in violence in the West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule, has been one of the worst such waves there in years.
US-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, collapsed in 2014 and show no sign of revival.
Israeli security officials have called on the PA to do more to rein in violence by gunmen.
However the PA, increasingly unpopular among many in the West Bank, says its ability to exert its rule has been systematically undermined by Israel’s incursions.
DUBAI: The US Navy held a joint drone drill with the United Kingdom on Friday in the Arabian Gulf, testing the same unmanned surveillance ships that Iran twice has seized in recent months in the Middle East.
The exercise comes as the US Navy separately told commercial shippers in the wider Mideast that it would continue using drones in the region and warned against interfering with their operations.
The drone drill — and the American pledge to keep sailing them — also comes as tensions between the US and Iran on the seas remain high amid stalled negotiations over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers and as protests sweep the Islamic Republic.
Friday’s drill involved two American and two British warships in the Arabian Gulf, as well as three Saildrone Explorers, said Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet.
The drones searched for a target on the seas, then sent the still images its cameras captured back to both the warships and the 5th Fleet’s command center in the island kingdom of Bahrain. There, an artificial intelligence system worked through the photos.
The 5th Fleet launched its unmanned Task Force 59 last year. Drones used by the Navy include ultra-endurance aerial surveillance drones, surface ships like the Sea Hawk and the Sea Hunter and smaller underwater drones that resemble torpedoes.
But of particular interest for the Navy has been the Saildrone Explorer, a commercially available drone that can stay at sea for long periods of time. That’s crucial for a region that has some 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) of coastline from the Suez Canal, down the Red Sea to the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and into the Arabian Gulf.
It’s a vast territory that stretches the reach of the Navy and its allies and has seen a series of attacks amid the atomic accord’s collapse. It also remains crucial to global shipping and energy supplies, as a fifth of all oil traded passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
“No matter what forces you have, you can’t cover all that,” Hawkins told The Associated Press. “You have to do that in a partnered way and an innovative way.”
But Iran, which long has equated America’s presence in the region to it patrolling the Gulf of Mexico, views the drones with suspicion. In August and September, Iranian regular and paramilitary forces seized Saildrones in both the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, alleging without providing evidence that the drones posed a danger to nearby ships.
Iran ultimately released the drones after the US Navy arrived to the sites. Cameras on the Saildrones involved in the Red Sea incident went missing.
Iranian state-run media did not acknowledge the drill Friday. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Recent events notwithstanding, we have been operating these systems safely, responsibly and in accordance with international law and will continue to do so,” Hawkins said.
The Navy underscored its plan to keep operating the drones in notices sent to shippers and sailors in the region beginning Thursday. It said that the drones would continue to broadcast their location via their Automatic Identification System trackers.
Ships are supposed to keep their AIS trackers on, but Iranian vessels routinely turn theirs off to mask their movements as Tehran faces international sanctions over its nuclear program and human rights abuses.
“US Navy (drones) are US government property and will lawfully operate in international waters and through straits in accordance with internationally recognized rights and freedoms,” the Navy said in the notice. “Any interference with US Navy (drones) will be considered a violation of the norms of international maritime law.”


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