Tougher rules for re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jas­mine Al Kut­tab

abu dhabi — Those caught car­ry­ing out re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties with­out ap­proval from the UAE’s Gen­eral Au­thor­ity of Is­lamic Af­fairs and En­dow­ments could be jailed for three months and fined Dh5,000.

A draft law passed by the Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil (FNC) on Tues­day bans peo­ple from host­ing re­li­gious pro­grammes for mem­o­ri­sa­tion of the Holy Qu­ran; and de­liv­er­ing lec­tures with­out ap­proval.

The FNC also ap­proved a draft law on the reg­u­la­tion of mosques. The law pro­hibits mosque em­ploy­ees from preach­ing with­out a li­cence or ap­proval, is­su­ing fat­was. The law pre­scribes a fine of Dh20,000 to Dh50,000 and/or a min­i­mum prison sen­tence of three months. The law also spec­i­fies a fine of up to Dh5,000 and/ or three-month jail for those found beg­ging around mosques.

abu dhabi — A stag­ger­ing num­ber of teenagers are turn­ing to to­bacco us­age in the coun­try, a Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil (FNC) ses­sion held on Tues­day re­vealed.

Ad­dress­ing Ab­dul Rah­man Mohammed Al Owais, the Min­is­ter of Health and Pre­ven­tion (MoHP), FNC mem­ber Saeed Al Ru­maithi said: “Twenty-one per cent of the UAE pop­u­la­tion are into smok­ing and 15 per cent of them are teenagers un­der the age of 18.”

Al Ru­maithi stressed that it is cru­cial to raise more anti-to­bacco aware­ness pro­grammes in schools, as the num­ber of smok­ers among teenagers is a mas­sive con­cern. The ses­sion also looked into the pos­i­tive out­comes of ini­tia­tives car­ried out by the Na­tional An­tiTobacco Com­mit­tee formed by the MoHP.

In his re­ply, the min­is­ter said the sub­ject is “com­plex” de­spite var­i­ous achieve­ments al­ready made by the

Our big­gest con­cern is smok­ers who are be­tween 10-18 years old and it is a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity to the au­thor­i­ties con­cerned.” Saeed Al Ru­maithi, FNC mem­ber

com­mit­tee, in­clud­ing 14 quit-smok­ing clin­ics across the UAE, which saw an in­crease in cases re­ceived by 25 per cent be­tween 2015 and 2016. Fur­ther­more, 20 per cent of the peo­ple who went to the clin­ics ended up quit­ting, Al Owais added.

The com­mit­tee has also in­creased the doc­tors spe­cial­is­ing in the field, by a whop­ping 150 per cent. “We also started pro­vid­ing new med­i­ca­tion that help quit smok­ing and non-con­ven­tional al­ter­na­tives,” added the min­is­ter.

More doc­tors needed

Also dur­ing the ses­sion, FNC mem­ber Ahmed Al Nuaimi asked if the min­istry will in­crease the num­ber of doc­tors in emer­gency de­part­ments. “It has been no­ticed that only one doc­tor works in the emer­gency de­part­ments, to treat all the cases that are be­ing re­ceived.”

Al Owais replied: “The min­istry’s hos­pi­tals are equipped with 250 beds and last year more than 750,000 peo­ple were ad­mit­ted in the emer­gency de­part­ments com­pared to 682,354 in 2015.”

This year, un­til Septem­ber, 474,539 have been ad­mit­ted.

“The emer­gency cases in 2015 were only 24 per cent of the to­tal cases re­ceived, and we took mea­sures for this is­sue. Many cases that came, such as cold and flu or di­ar­rhea, are treated at the emer­gency ward, which is an ob­sta­cle for ac­tual emer­gency cases.”

The min­is­ter said emer­gency cases have reached 37 per cent of to­tal cases. “Peo­ple might only see one doc­tor in the emer­gency, but there are four to six doc­tors on duty, who even sleep in the hos­pi­tal.”

File photo

An ear­lier ses­sion of the Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil in Abu Dhabi. The ses­sion on Tues­day dis­cussed the need to re­duce smok­ing habit of res­i­dents. —

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