Wednesday, May 31, 2006

King Faisal University

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

Salam All,

I usually don't post twice in one day, but this was something that I lived through the discussion of till the matter came to be reality. THis university is planning some cooperation with University's like MIT (where I heard about it the first time a few years ago). Alhamdulillah it has materialized and we can rest assured that it will make its mark on the Saudi society..

Sultan Launches Alfaisal University
Naif Al-Shehri, Arab News

Crown Prince Sultan launches Alfaisal University in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Khaled Al-Khamees)

RIYADH, 31 May 2006 — Crown Prince Sultan launched Alfaisal University, a world-class institution of higher learning with advanced academic facilities, here yesterday. It will have four faculties for science, business, medicine and engineering and will have a capacity to accommodate 4,000 students.

The crown prince laid the foundation stone for the high-tech private university at Maader District in the capital city in the presence of a large number of dignitaries including senior princes, ministers, top government officials and foreign diplomats.

Prince Sultan donated SR20 million to the university — SR5 million to each faculty. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, managing director of King Faisal Foundation (KFF), which launched the university project, said Alfaisal would provide 40 scholarships to outstanding students annually. The scholarship program is named after Sultan.

Prince Khaled, who is also governor of the Asir region, said the university would apply modern methodology of teaching and encourage students to conduct research by themselves and improve their skills. English will be the medium of instruction at the four faculties.

Prince Bandar ibn Saud, KFF deputy managing director, said the university would bring about total change in the Saudi society.

“We look at education as an agent of change in Saudi Arabia,” he added. He said the university enjoyed the support of authorities “to become the benchmark for other universities in Saudi Arabia”.

He expected that Alfaisal would become the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) or the Cambridge of the Middle East. Bandar signed an agreement last year with Malaysian architectural firm Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad, represented by Managing Director Wan Zakariah Muda, to build the university.

“In line with the philanthropic and autonomous nature of the foundation’s existing commitments, this nonprofit institution will embody the essential values of independence, distinction and integrity,” Bandar said.

Alfaisal offers bachelor’s degree courses in different specializations of engineering, science, medicine and administration technology in the first phase. In later phases it will provide master’s and doctoral degrees, Bandar said.

The university’s board of trustees reflects the broad sets of disciplines and arenas that the university represents and the eleven members are from the following organizations: The King Faisal Foundation, Dallah AlBaraka, Al-Jomaih Company, Saudi Oger, Saudi Binladin Group, KFSH&RC, British Aerospace Electronics Company, Boeing Company, United Technologies Corporation and THALES.

The campus itself will be set in the austere surroundings of King Faisal’s palace in Maader and will host the four main faculties. With the original palace serving as the administration quarters and forming the focal point of the site, the other buildings will be arranged in a semi-circular fashion around it.

The new academic buildings will be constructed from donations of various benefactors and will bear their names. The library will be housed in the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal building, the Conference Center in the Princess Haya Bint Turki building, the Science Faculty in the Prime Minister Rafik Hariri building, the Business Faculty in the Sheikh Saleh Al-Kamel building and the Student Center in the Dr. Nasser Al-Rasheed building. The construction of the university mosque was commissioned on behalf of Princess Jowharah bint Khaled.

Although construction of the university is due to take place in four major phases, two of these so far have been signed. The initial phase will last for approximately 14-and-a-half months incorporating the mosque, the Science Faculty, support services, underground parking and outside work. The subsequent phase has a predicted duration of 21 months and will culminate in construction of the Business Faculty, Student Centers, Conference Center, Library and other related car parking and outside work.

The grounds of King Faisal Palace in Maader will be reconstructed to take on the new home of Alfaisal University. The palace is located in the historical center of Riyadh.

Alfaisal aims to become an internationally acknowledged outstanding institution for education and academic research. It will contribute to the advancement of Saudi Arabia by means of education, training, research and technological advancements, an official statement said.

Alfaisal aims to become a model university that would accommodate a new cooperative approach with leading technical institutions in major industrial countries. It will create opportunities for Saudi youth to attain professional qualifications that would support them in securing future careers.



-YSH ;)

Great article + Updates

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

Greetings and Salamz to All,

I hope everything is going well.

Well, the weather in Bostonia finally improved, I actually have to wear shorts and linen shirts to withstand the weather, because the Boston sun is awkward. However the night can still be chilly, lool, as Mark Twain said: "if you don't like the weather in Boston just wait a few minutes." Well Mr. Twain I can say I have lived that experience several times, and they weren't too pleasing.

I wanted to post another piece of my writing, but my friend sent me this great article, that I decided to share with all of you, so that piece will have to wait.

But this piece is very interesting, and I already have comments on it, so let's hear what you guys have to say..


Cheering The Code After Punching The Passion
By Chris Weinkopf

Imagine, if you can, a major studio releasing a thriller in which the stars investigate the origins of Islam. Pursued by a murderous Muslim cleric, they uncover a series of shocking discoveries: Mohammed was no prophet! The Koran is a hoax, the work of self-serving hypocrites! Modern-day Muslims are dupes, if not deranged psychopaths!

Now imagine, in the unlikely event such a film were ever made, what sort of reception it would get in the establishment media. Given the categorical refusal of the American press to publish the Danish Mohammed cartoons, it's a safe bet that the talking heads and big newspapers would only mention the movie to denounce it.

This is telling, given the fawning, copious attention that's been lavished upon Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, which began well before the movie was even in production.

Five months in advance of its opening, Newsweek touted Da Vinci in a fluffy cover piece as the "New Year's Hottest Movie." NBC's "Today" show aired clips during the Winter Olympics. Throughout the media, giddy reporters and pundits counted down the days until the big-screen debut of Dan Brown's best-selling novel, which insists that Christ was not divine, that the Gospels are a fraud, and that the Catholic Church is a wicked, murderous conspiracy out to conceal the truth of the "sacred feminine."

Clearly the decision makers in today's establishment press defer to the religious sensibilities of some folks more than others.

There are various reasons for this double standard, the first being media cowardice. Christians tend not to riot and torch buildings when they're offended. They can deal with having their convictions challenged. The Muslim world, in contrast, is much more dangerous. And media crusaders tend to go weak in the knees if there?s a chance of becoming the next Salman Rushdie or Theo van Gogh.

Then there's simple economics: The Da Vinci Code, which sold 40 million copies in hardcover alone, has the potential to be a box-office hit of Harry Potter proportions. Reporters and news organizations that saw little profit in reprinting second-rate foreign cartoons want to get in on this bonanza.

But then The Passion of the Christ, which brought in $370 million domestically, was one of the highest-grossing films of all time. And while it got plenty of media attention, the coverage was completely different from that surrounding The Da Vinci Code. As aggressively as Da Vinci has been puffed, Christ got poked.

Likewise, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (another big-screen adaptation of a massively popular novel that was a huge moneymaker) never drew favorable publicity of the sort showered on DVC. Most of the Narnia coverage focused on whether the film's Christian themes would doom its chances at the box office.

The discrepancy is not so much a matter of money, then, but manners. To the establishment press, plots that strongly uphold traditional Christian beliefs, whether explicitly (as in The Passion) or allegorically (as in Narnia), are regarded as dubious, rude, even dangerous. Stories that undermine Christianity, on the other hand, are "hot" and edgy, and attract A-list celebrities, big studios, powerful news outlets, and charmed-circle journalists.

Just before The Passion came out, Newsweek gave the movie a cover story of its own--a long polemic that attacked the film's history and theology. The same issue included a hand-wringing editor's note which essentially accused director Mel Gibson of anti-Semitism by "laying the blame" for Jesus?s death "on the Jews of Jerusalem, not the occupying Romans." Newsweek editor Mark Whittaker even fretted that because "the more coverage the movie gets, the better it will do at the box office," his magazine might be "contributing to the hype."

Suffice it to say, Dan Brown's highly problematic scholarship hasn't received anywhere near the same level of scrutiny from the establishment media, let alone the scurrilous charges of bigotry. Occasionally a reporter will include a quote from an historian or theologian who notes that Brown's fiction-masquerading-as-fact is not founded on good scholarship. But this doesn?t dampen the enthusiasm of the discussion, because something between skepticism and hostility toward Christianity is the dominant worldview in most newsrooms.

And so the hype continues.

Published in Attack of the Snobs June 2006

Available on the TAEMAG website at

What do u think?? :)

-YSH ;)

Monday, May 22, 2006


Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

Freedom is really sweet, it feels different waking up and knowing you don't have to rush around and do work.

There is lots of stuff to catch up on and organize. I will probably be cancelling the London Program (I got a better offer).

Boston weather is still annoying me, after great days of sun, sudden random rainy and windy days screw everything up and it really gets depressing. I think my immunity has improved because I'm used to so much weather change at short periods of time.

This is a piece of writing I composed for a creative writing class in which we had to write an autobiography as a member of the other gender. It is a highly controversial piece so I welcome all feedback and I'm ready to hold a serious discussion about the topics covered..

Enjoy!! :)



I was overcome with joy. The moment I’d been dreaming about my whole life was finally becoming a reality. Who wouldn’t be happy? A tall, well-built, Harvard graduate had asked my father for my hand in marriage only the week before. Ahmed was a successful businessman with several flourishing franchises in my country, Saudi Arabia, and when my friends found out he wanted to get engaged they were jealous. “Ahmed Al-Khaled wants to marry you! I hope I get that lucky someday,” my best friend Lulu, the cardiologist, told me. I really felt special.

After the engagement party, I got to know him better. He had a small scar above his right eye which he got from falling off his horse during a polo match. He had a great sense of humor, always making waiters and doormen laugh wherever we went out in Riyadh. He was the kind of guy who always had a smile on his face. Even if he had just lost a contract or a business opportunity, he told me his faith in God was never shaken. His resilience after failure pushed him to work even harder, molding him into a distinguished entrepreneur. He didn’t disclose much about his family life, but I didn’t mind.

I couldn’t wait for the wedding; my sisters, parents, and my close friends and relatives all had different ideas for a wedding theme, from a sub-Saharan jungle to a Venetian gondola. They were more excited than I was about making everything perfect. There was nothing in the world that could affect the blissful state I was in. At least that’s what I thought.

The next weekend, we were having dinner in Spazio, one of Riyadh’s finest Italian restaurants, located at the very top of Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Skyscraper. Ahmed had mentioned on the phone that morning that there was something serious he wanted to tell me. Knowing Ahmed, I wasn’t the least bit concerned. I mean, what could this perfect guy have on his mind?

As I looked out the window at the broad streets of Riyadh, bustling with cars, the waiter arrived with the chocolate soufflé we were going to share for dessert. That’s when Ahmed started talking, and I really wish he hadn’t. He told me that I would be his fourth wife! I almost choked on a forkful of soufflé. FOURTH WIFE! What was he thinking? Who did he think I was? One of those laid-back, gullible Saudi women that didn’t mind sharing a husband? Me, an MIT graduate, become someone’s fourth wife? He must be insane thinking I’d go ahead with this marriage.

We didn’t talk much as Ahmed drove me home. He couldn’t stand to see me angry, especially if he had something to do with it, and so he stayed quiet to let me think the matter over. He let me know that I could give him my decision whenever I felt comfortable. When I got home, I ran to my parents’ bedroom in tears. My mom came and asked me what the matter was. I told her the whole story and she sat down and tried to comfort me. My sisters were as devastated by what Ahmed told me as I was.

My father called me on the intercom and asked me to come to his study. As I walked in, my father, a well-known economist, was typing the final chapter of the new book he was writing about the Saudi economy. He asked me what the matter was, and I told him the whole story. He kept his eyes focused on me the entire time while I told him what had just happened. When I finished talking, he was quiet for a few minutes, collecting his thoughts before giving me his opinion.

“Mona,” he said, “Ahmed isn’t the typical Saudi guy. He is a well-respected, successful and religious man from a great family, and you should be honored that he came to ask for your hand. None of the other men who asked for your hand were even close to his caliber, and most of them were rich snobs that you couldn’t stand.”
“But Dad,” I said, “How can he expect me to be his fourth wife?”

“Mona, you can’t deny him his right as a Muslim man to have four wives. You also know that to go through with this marriage, Ahmed would have to be just with all four of you. You would all possess the same quality house and gifts, your kids would receive the same treatment, and remember that he would sleep in your house an equal number of nights as the rest of the women. Knowing Ahmed, I don’t have any doubt that he’d be just.”

After two weeks that seemed like hell on earth, discussing the issue with my best friend Lulu and my sisters and weighing my priorities, I finally made my decision. I decided to go ahead with it. If I was mistreated, or wasn’t given my rights, I could always file for divorce. I tried to tell myself that it might not be as bad as it seemed. I was getting married to Ahmed Al-Khaled, not the son of the neighborhood baker.

Ahmed was overjoyed when he heard the news, and he promised me that I wouldn’t regret my decision. The following weeks were all dedicated to the wedding, which turned out to be the best day of my life. Everyone loved it, and my Chanel wedding gown was the talk of my mom’s friends for weeks. Then there was the honeymoon, two weeks at a lavish resort in the Maldives. We had a private beach—where I could roam around unveiled and take in the tropical sun. It was spectacular—fresh seafood every day, long walks on the beach, and falling asleep in each other’s arms as the sun rose. Once he picked me up and carried me to the beach, where we built sand castles until sunset. This took me back to when I was a five-year-old girl building sand castles outside of our beach house in Jeddah. At night, Ahmed and I would lie on our bed by candlelight and talk about our future life. He really was a great person, and I felt fortunate to be in his presence. But, although I was more than happy, I still had reservations about the reality that was going to be my post-wedding life.

After the honeymoon, I settled into the Spanish villa Ahmed had prepared for me. I had two maids, a cook, a chauffeur and a beautiful garden. I felt really lucky. Whenever I saw him I tried to restrict the discussion to me, my family, my friends or the local news, not wanting to hear anything about his other wives.

But one day Ahmed said he wanted me to meet his other wives for dinner at Layla’s, his first wife’s home. He insisted and promised to make it up to me and because I really wanted to please him, I reluctantly agreed, and got ready for that night. I spent about five hours thinking of the perfect outfit, what shoes to wear, and how to style my hair. I had to make Ahmed proud of me that night by impressing his other wives. When the chauffeur dropped me off at Layla’s house, I noticed it was almost a replica of mine. Her garden however, was nicer and better maintained, and I admired her taste in tulips.

Layla greeted me warmly at the door and led me to the guest room. She was a beautiful woman with long silky black hair and big hazel eyes. When I got to the guest room, I saw two gorgeous women engaged in a deep discussion and laughing animatedly. I also saw Ahmed busy talking on his cellphone on the other side of the guest room. Layla introduced me to Fatma and Samar, Ahmed’s second and third wives, and we started chitchatting. I was somewhat reserved and even hostile at the beginning, but after a few hours I started to like them. These women were charming, well-educated and elegantly dressed. They reminded me of some of my closest friends.

We moved to the dinner table, which was brilliantly covered with lots of exotic dishes from seafood paella to tandoori chicken, my favorite Indian dish. We had a very hearty meal, and I realized I really liked these women. We had a lot in common, and poor Ahmed was often left out of the loop while we engaged in girl talk. I smiled at him whenever we made eye contact, and he returned the smile with a wide grin.

After dessert, I returned home and immediately called my dad, told him that I loved him, and that I had really enjoyed meeting Ahmed’s wives. He laughed his deep husky laugh and told me to count my blessings, and he reminded me that things are never as bad as they initially seem.

When I had my first son, Ali, Ahmed’s other wives, Lulu, and my mom and sisters were all at the hospital. Though they weren’t perfect and each one had her little flaws, Layla, Fatma, Samar and I had built a strong bond and had become close friends. Our kids would play together and got used to calling all four of us “mama.” I realized that the four years I’d spent at MIT hadn’t changed my love for my Islamic and Saudi heritage; I had even come to accept the once-dreaded concept of polygamy. I realized that I had grown as a person, and that the young lady I once was had matured into a caring mother who was part of a greater family in the fabric of Saudi society.


Awaiting your comments!

Yamen !

-YSH ;)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Exams and Updates..

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

So much to write about, just wanted to give you some quick updates.

* We're in exam week, I have a French Final today at 5 pm. Finance on Monday the 8th, and Philosophy on the 9th after which I'm done.

* This Friday I'm attending a 4 day Life management symposium/forum which has had the best effect on some of the people I know and they're lives have changed completely (they've become extremely successful individuals).

GO TO: for more info.

* This Saturday is the screening of an MIT production I acted in titled "Save the Hijabi Princess", I acted teh part of a blind Colonel in the Emir's Army. I will update you with links when I get them.

* I will be leaving for the London study abroad program on May 16th probably (BU graduation is on the 14th), anD I'm leaving early because I was chosen to be a Resident Advisor (which may mean free housing and lots of regulating :)).

* I will be in London/Europe from May 16th - Sep. 3 so please let me know if you're coming to London or anywhere in Europe as I'm willing to make the trip.

* I will be interning in an Investment Bank in London (hopefully JP Morgan) in sha Allah.

* My lower back (protruding disc problem) is much better, my physical therapist is impressed, so hopefully full recovery soon!!!!


Don't forget me in your prayers.. MISS YA ALL!

-YSH ;)
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