UAE: Did you know?                                                  

Did you know that…  

…almost 70 % of the population of the UAE is estimated to be male and 30% female?  

…90% of the country’s land is desert, or becoming desert, and what is left of the non-desert land is disappearing at a rate of 5% each year according to Fadhil Faraji, director general of the Iraqi Agriculture Ministry’s Department for Combating Desertification, as reported to the Los Angeles Times?  

marriages are traditionally arranged by parents? First cousins are the preferred match. Polygamy (more than one spouse) is legal but rarely practiced. In theory (and according to Islamic law), a man may have up to four wives. The groom pays the bride a dowry, or mahr. This becomes her property, no matter what happens. The mahr has two parts:  

1. Muqaddam is a dowry given before the wedding; this allows the bride to buy things for herself and her new home.

2. Muta'akhir is a form of insurance for the woman in the event of divorce. The groom pledges in a contract that he will pay the bride an agreed-upon amount if he should divorce her. Divorce is fairly simple but also rare. In a divorce, the father is given custody of all children over the age of five. The mother takes the younger ones with her to her parents' house, where she will live until she remarries.  

…98% of the female population of school age attends primary school? Women account for 70% of the students at the Higher Colleges of Technology and over 60% at the UAE University. Emirian women have joined the armed forces and as well as the police force.

pearl divers in Abu Dhabi traditionally left their homes during the entire four-month pearling season? The following folk song portrays the hope and patience of Emirian woman as they wait for the safe return of their loved one:  

Neighbor of mine, my adventurous sailor shall return.

Neighbor of mine, he shall return from the world of dangers.

With perfumes, precious stones, rose-water,

and incense he shall return.

He shall return, and to see him again will be like seeing the moon.        

               

…the Bedu (or Bedouin) are native nomads? They often enjoy traditional Arab music and dances, and have a passion for poetry. Traditional Emirian music has a strong drumbeat accompanied by various percussion and stringed instruments. The oud is an ancient stringed instrument that is the ancestor of the European lute. Wind instruments include the Arabian flute or nai. The ayyala is a traditional man's dance.  

movies are very popular with Emirians? Theaters show movies in Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, and English. Videos can be rented, but they are usually censored. There are radio and television broadcasts in Arabic and other languages. Broadcasts from other countries are also picked up via satellite dishes on apartment buildings and private homes.  

…78% of the total population lives in urban areas? Urban areas are developing at a fast pace (photo).   

political parties/leaders are not allowed and there is no popular vote. In a December 18, 2006 article written by the BBC, only 1% of citizens get to vote and candidates are selected by the authorities. Voters hand-picked by the government are choosing half of the Federal National Council, an advisory body.  

…73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age-group is non-national to the UAE?  

…the first word spoken to a baby is usually Allah (God). 

...that Dubai has the only 7 star hotel (photo) in the world? It is built in the shape of a sail to recall the pearl divers of the past. In preparation for the 2005 Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, the helipad of Burj al Arab, was converted temporarily into the world’s highest tennis court where tennis legends Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played a match. 

  

Above: Burg al Arab Hotel

Below: Tennis Court at Burj al Arab Hotel