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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Khalaf Al Habtoor joins facebook and twitter

by The Media Office

© Al Habtoor Group

Khalaf Al Habtoor, the Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, talks about the launch of his new social media strategy, which he considers an important platform to express his opinions and a way to help to bridge the gap between East and West

Khalaf Al Habtoor, the Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, talks about the launch of his new social media strategy, which he considers an important platform to express his opinions and a way to help to bridge the gap between East and West

Q. Social media sites have unquestionably developed from being simple recreational networks into essential tools of modern life. How does Khalaf Al Habtoor view them?

A. “I appreciate the invention of social media sites as they have undoubtedly helped to bridge the gap between different cultures and allowed people to express their opinions and feelings openly. However I note that such sites have two elements: firstly, they outline specific institutions, personalities and topics and exist as a means of conveying information.

“Secondly, they can be subject to cluttered information and unsolicited comments that often lack constructive essence. But in general, social networking sites are great tools and I hope they will be used in the right way – for noble causes. As already noted, those sites have brought the world together and turned it into a small village. They’ve given a voice to all people – and this is especially important in the Middle East and particularly the Arabian Gulf – so that finally the West can dispel its prejudices and become better acquainted with our Arabic Islamic civilization.”

Q. Is there a specific age group or audience that you’re targeting through your pages?

A. “When I first founded Al Shindagah magazine, my primary goal was to express my opinions, as well as the views of every Arab who wanted to state his thoughts openly. If it was read by even 5 per cent of the powerful figures in the world then we were helping to create a better understanding between our worlds. And the same applies now to the social media sites.”

Q. Will you be launching new services (including special offers, marketing campaigns, etc …) through your social media sites?

A. “We just want to voice our opinions. As I said already, social media sites are a great opportunity and a convenient platform to channel our thoughts, for example about the inequality in the world and the fact that the truth is consistently concealed. The atrocities and severity of events happening in the Arab World these days, and under the useless supervision of the United Nations and the Arab League, really saddens me.

“ I lost faith long ago in the Arab League and its Secretary General. I consider him a partner in the crimes committed in Syria. This is evidenced by the members of the delegations he sent, who share with Bashar Al Assad the same constitutional background, as well as similar political approaches and who clearly are not capable of effective action to curb the crimes in Syria, or in Sudan for that matter.”

Q. You have a very busy schedule which includes meetings and a lot of travel. How will you find time to communicate personally with your fans?

A. “I will allocate one hour per day to communicate with visitors to our pages and answer their questions. I will also be assisted by a group of experts in our media department. I can confirm that we’re mobilised and investing our energy to be prepared for the social media world.”

Q. Does the launch of your social media sites coincide with a special event?

A. “I will be launching my biography in October and I hope that it will inform and entertain people, giving them an insight into my life and explaining how I’ve achieved my success. The establishment of our social media pages is not connected with the launch of my book however.

Their development stems from a firm conviction that those sites constitute a solid base where uncensored opinions can be expressed and viewed by millions of people around the world and where I can share my future vision of the social and political events taking place in our region. I note that most of the outcomes I predicted in my articles and political analysis about the situation in the Middle East, and specifically Egypt last year have indeed occurred.”

Q. Government entities and agencies are actively participating in social media sites in order to engage people in a variety of issues. Do you really think that technology can influence the minds of the younger generation?

A. Facebook and twitter should be considered tools to state opinions; to participate in charity work; and to offer advice to school and college students and therefore influence young people.

But in my opinion effective interaction between a leader and his or her people does not happen on facebook or on twitter, but rather in person. As Arabs, our culture includes warmth, hospitality and good communication, as well the tradition of visiting each other in person.”

Q. Is there an approximate number of visitors that you’d like to target through your sites?

A. “It is quality rather than quantity that matters to me. Some of the comments posted on our pages might lack meaning and the significance needed to create fundamental changes. By using those sites, I aim to bridge the gap between the East and the West and I hope that my sincere opinions will be heard by the top leaders of the G8 and key political figures around the world. Decision is the most difficult step in life.

“What’s more, it’s time for us to present to the West the right image about the Arab and Islamic culture. It’s crucially important that the West and specifically the United States of America realise that Islam does not discriminate between religions. We believe in Christianity and Judaism and in all the prophets and messengers of God starting with Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed.

“And we hope that advocates of Islam won’t focus solely on the number of people converting to Islam, as much as preaching convincingly and aiming to communicate with the top leaders and senior political figures around the world – people who have the power to enact change. “Let us remember that at a time when Islam was still in its infancy and Muslims had to keep their religion secret for fear of condemnation, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) asked God to bless Islam by providing the allegiance of either of the two Omars – Omar Ibn Al Khattab (May God be pleased with him) or Omar Ibn Hisham (known as Abu Jahal) because of their stature in society.”

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