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Ramdan in middle east_Qatar

The Holy month of Ramadan is about to get underway and Qatar, as well as the entire Middle East region, is high on excitement. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. Muslims are required to refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking and sexual relations. In some interpretations, swearing is forbidden. Eid al Fitr marks the End of Ramadan.

Ramadan 2018 will start on Wednesday, May 16, and will end on Thursday, June 14. The non-Muslim expat community will find it quite a stretch and will need to remember important dos and don’ts. Non-Muslims, young children, the sick, people with mental health illnesses, travellers, the elderly and women who are menstruating, pregnant, breast-feeding or have recently given birth, do not have to fast.

Since Ramadan is just a little over two weeks away, the routines in Qatar will change drastically. From beautiful decorations to Iftar feasts and lesser working hours, Ramadan is taken quite religiously here. Muslims are expected to follow the creeds of Ramadan, both in public and private spaces. They keep their thoughts and actions pure and use the month-long period for spiritual reflection. They rein in unwanted sentiments, such as anger, greed, envy, lust. Gossiping is considered unhealthy. They also mull over their spiritual beliefs, and strengthen their devotion by reciting the Holy Quran during the day.

More than any other time, the month of Ramadan can be challenging for the expat population.

Expats, take note

Ramadan for expats in Qatar

If you are planning to relocate to Qatar during the month of Ramadan, quash it. Government agencies and authorities are largely preoccupied with celebrations and are generally slow-moving in performing their duties. Offices close early and those at work are unusually not focused. Shops shut down before time and streets are generally deserted during daytime. These can be nerve-racking and you will find yourself with little direction and help that is normally available. It is better to relocate well before or after Ramadan.

You must accept invitations for an Iftar from observing locals. Bring dates and gifts. It strengthens the bond and sends a respectful message. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and visit Qatari families and friends and embrace the community spirit. Hug more and more to build affinity.

Even if you are a non-Muslim, it is impolite to eat, drink or smoke in public during the hours of daylight. If you can, try and participate in charitable activities and volunteer services.

You might want to leave Qatar for sometime during this time not just because of the punishing heat, but also because you don’t feel obliged to observe the rituals and be a part of it. Don’t. This is your chance to show that you appreciate their culture and are keen to celebrate with them. It’s a sign of friendliness.

Dress appropriately and do not play loud music. It’s considered intrusive and disturbing to those who are fasting. Be modest and patient.

You will do well to steer clear of debates, arguments and fights since Ramadan is a time of peace and tranquility. Remember, you are not a natural in Qatar. You are seeking acceptance, and it comes only if you adhere to ground rules and show that you care. Play by the culture. Don’t go on kissing or cuddling your partner of the opposite sex in public. It’s especially offensive during the Holy month.

Try fasting yourself. It has health benefits, cleanses the soul, helps you understand your body better and helps you with self-control. Of course, in a way, it also makes you one of their own.

 

Indian expats which is one of the largest expat community, constituting more than 25% of the population, in Qatar celebrated 69th Republic Day at Indian Embassy with much patriotism and vigor. Indian ambassador to Qatar P Kumaran raised up the Tricolour Flag at the Embassy of India premises in Doha yesterday.

The ceremony was attended by large number of Indian expiates including professionals, families, schoolchildren, representatives of socio-cultural organisations as well as embassy officials.

The celebrations included National Anthem sung by school students and a special message by President of India Ram Nath Kovind.

The message expressed that India’ nation building project is not limited to its own country but is to contribute to building a better world which is more composite and cohesive world, a world that is at peace with itself and at peace with nature.

His speech further expressed about the human resource capability of India that “A confident and forward-looking nation is built by confident and forward-looking young people. Over 60 percent of our fellow citizens are below the age of 35. It is in them that our hopes lie.”

“In 2020, our Republic will turn 70. In 2022, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of our independence. These are special occasions and we must strive, in the manner of the leaders of our national movement and the framers of our Constitution, to build the edifice of a better India an India where each and every citizen will be able to realise his or her full potential. An India that will reach its deserved pedestal in the 21st century,” further quoted the ambassador.

With this further patriotic songs were presented by the school children in honour of their nation. Apart from the stated audience and performers the event was studded with President of Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) Milan Arun, President of Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF) Devis Edakkalathur, as well as officials of Indian schools, prominent Indian community members and management committee members of ICC, ICBF, Indian Business Professionals Council and Kerala Business Forum.

Mopaw Foundation/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Domestic workers in Qatar now earn on average US$450 (QR1,645) a month, up 4.4 percent from $431 (QR1,575) last year, according to a new survey by an online recruitment firm.

The report, published by HelperChoice, is compiled annually. This year, it analyzed some 2,000 job advertisements placed on the site between January and August.

The data showed that salaries across the region increased in 2017. Domestic workers in the UAE earned the highest average salary per month ($494), up 14 percent from $433 last year.

Helperchoice.com

Domestic workers in the UAE command the highest wages

Qatar’s workers earn the second highest salaries in the GCC, the report said, followed by Saudi Arabia in third ($442) and Kuwait in fourth place ($419.)

The figures quoted are for salaries only, and do not include flights, medical care or other allowances, such as food or clothing.

Doha slips in city rankings

Notably, people living in Doha were willing to pay higher salaries than those living in Al Khor, according to the report.

Employers in Qatar’s capital paid QR1,612 ($461) on average, while those in the north offered QR1,411 ($386) a month.

Ameer Abdul Razak/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Compared to other cities in the Gulf, Doha fell in the rankings this year, from second place to fourth.

Dubai took the top spot for best-paid domestic helpers, followed by Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, the lowest paid workers in the GCC are in Makkah, where they earn an average of $360 a month.

New domestic worker law

The apparent increase in average income for domestic workers in Qatar follows the passage of a new law to help protect the country’s home helpers.

Amnesty International

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Law No. 15 of 2017 states that newly-hired nannies, maids, drivers and gardeners must have a written contract with their employer.

Previously, these were not required, and this meant that they could not file complaints against their employers with the labor ministry.

The law also says that househelpers should have a maximum 10-hour day, during a maximum six-day week.

The legislation is historic in that no such caps were defined before.

However, this still means that a worker earning the average of QR1,645 a month makes about QR7 an hour in Qatar.

 

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