Sheikh Mohammed: Bis Millah Al Rahman Al Raheem. We wish to welcome all our brothers and sisters from all cities. Consider me, Mohammed bin Rashid a brother to all. I will try to answer all questions tonight.
Flona: What is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's vision of Dubai in the next 10 years?
Sheikh Mohammed: We have a vision and a clear plan that impacts our entire trade, economy and benefits the region. We believe that if we keep pace with this plan and vision in a timely manner we will achieve our goals
Zuzu: when did you start writing poetry?
Sheikh Mohammed: I started loving poetry at an early age; poetry readings were nurtured within my family. I used to write a few verses using an alias, a friend's name. This was then published in the papers, which was when I realized I had a talent.
Peeyes: His Highness. You have been invited to India by the Indian government. Are u planning to visit India? Then when?
Sheikh Mohammed: The last time was on an official visit with Sheikh Zayed. I saw a big and lovely place. One should visit not only the big cities, but also villages and country. I plan to visit as soon as I have the time and can schedule the trip. There are a lot of things I would like to see.
Hamed78: From UAE (Dubai) I wanted to ask H.H Sheikh Mohammed if he checks his personal e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org personally.
Sheikh Mohammed: Yes. I like to go through my e-mail in the evening when I have time at home. I enjoy reading my own messages.
urduniya4ever: Your Royal Highness, good evening, I would like to know your opinion on His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan on his actions in improving the economy in Jordan. Being a person with an economic mechanism, does your Highness think that His Majesty would succeed? Thank you.
Sheikh Mohammed: Young rulers around the Arab world are my brothers and friends. Over the last few months, results have been good and their efforts and achievements have been prospering. Soon, changes will take place. I am confident that hurdles will be overcome. Theirs are young efforts and I wish them the best.
peeyes: Tell me about the person who inspired in your life? Peeyes, Karama, Dubai
Sheikh Mohammed: I lived and grew up in the era of two great leaders, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and Sheikh Rashid. They are my roles models in this life.
ManOush: What is the role you see for Arab women?
Sheikh Mohammed: Arab women are half our community. Sometimes better than men. Perhaps in the past we lagged behind, but today she is growing to better heights in our society and is able to achieve goals within our communities. She will only grow.
nosmoking: What is the one quality you would like to see in your children?
Sheikh Mohammed: I wish to see them clinging to roots and traditions with the knowledge and education that our modern society gives them.
Mal: What will you do to ensure media freedom in the UAE? Dubai
Sheikh Mohammed: Freedom of press in the UAE; be it in the Media City, or a free zone, we will accept and respect all opinions and views, even if opposing our own point of view. We welcome this.
atifa: which is your most memorable incident your Highness?
Sheikh Mohammed: The biggest and most memorable event is that which has not yet occurred.
HHANE: Would you like to tell us where did you study?
Sheikh Mohammed: I studied in the UAE then went to military specialization in the UK. I also studied in Scotland. However the biggest education is that of my professional life.
stevedxb: Do you see Dubai overtaking Singapore as a truly digital country in the near future?
Sheikh Mohammed: The UAE and Dubai differ from Singapore, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and others. Dubai is different. Our vision is different because we aim at taking the UAE to the standard of advanced countries.
Bent_Dar_MaktooM: What is His Highness advice for the young ladies of UAE so that they can have their roles in progressing UAE?
Sheikh Mohammed: We provide all opportunities in government departments. Unfortunately not everything is totally prepared, but we are constantly offering better programs; IT and e-commerce and new projects and we encourage this because the future is digital.
a7medooo: how can you manage between your several jobs, such as being crown prince of Dubai, minister of def. car race, horse back riding and some other bus. and hobbies?
Sheikh Mohammed: One can be busy without being productive. However one who is organized can find lots of time for hobbies and the different tasks in one's day.
Silence: Sheikh Mohammed, I realized that you're so interested in Horse Races, is there a special reason?
Sheikh Mohammed: Don't forget, my brother, that horses are our heritage. Arabs have been nurtured with horses, our ancestors and beyond.
Tariq: Tariq from Boston. What is your favorite meal, especially in Ramadan, Kul Aam wa AlAlam Alislami Bi Khair?
Sheikh Mohammed: That depends if I'm hungry or not. If you go shopping when hungry you buy more. When hungry I prefer dates and laban. It is healthy. This is the best way to break fast, then one can eat later in the night.
Tariq: What is your total net worth? And how many palaces do you own?
Sheikh Mohammed: Cash is weak. Goodness is plenty. I have a home in Zaabeel. One smaller on the beach. The other in Abu Dhabi. I have a horse farm, which I prefer to spend my time in. I would also like to add our farm in Abu Dhabi.
Jam: What is the last book you read? And what do you think of Adonis?
Sheikh Mohammed: I have read Mawt Al Nawaris. This talks of the suffering of the Iraqi people. Another is Ard Al Fursan by Al Shafiyi. Another is Zahrat Al Thalj by a Moroccan; he writes about being away and describes Russian cities. I also read Adonis. I am a poet and enjoy reading, sometimes I like to read only and not necessarily own the book.
Tariq: What is the place that you have never seen and you would like to visit?
Sheikh Mohammed: Thank you for this question. I hope to visit Al Quds and pray there. This is my dream which I hope will come true soon.
Sniper: How many hours are you able to sleep at night, considering your high position?
Sheikh Mohammed: I sometimes sleep 4 hrs, sometimes 6 hrs, occasionally 7. When I'm awake I am always working and enjoying what I do.
Murali Nair: How can an ordinary person meet HH Sheikh Mohammed?
Sheikh Mohammed: One can visit us anytime. Our Majlis and offices are open. We have open doors and messages are welcome.
Kristine: I am from Los Angeles. Why are you seen as a strong leader?
Sheikh Mohammed: Leadership does not need strength. Everyone gets in return what equals his efforts and what he puts in. One must be dynamic and able to change and adapt to lead and grow.
Moby: Your Highness, can you please reflect on the most memorable race you have ever seen and which race has been the most emotional for you personally? Thank you Sir. Leslie Wilson Jr (Gulf News, Dubai)
Sheikh Mohammed: Myself and my brothers were very involved with Dubai Millennium. We hoped to see him on the track and that was the biggest joy and pride.
dubai4ever: H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, what are the differences between you and your father H.H. Sheikh Rashid?
Sheikh Mohammed: I am the son of my father but I have not reached what he has. He's a great leader. I think the resemblance is that we both have beards, perhaps.
Kristine: What is your philosophy in beauty?
Sheikh Mohammed: Everything in this life is beautiful. We as humans miss that sometimes. Nature is beautiful, the skies, the environment are often spoiled because of the people. Love and devotion make beauty.
mysore: Kumar from Dubai, UAE. Your Highness, what is your message to expatriates?
Sheikh Mohammed: Dubai encompasses many peoples from around the world. My message is that you should work hard, make money, and enjoy yourself! And enjoy your family above all.
Ana-A7eB-BaBa-ZaYeD: Sheikh Mohammed is this the first and last time for you to chat with the world on arabia.com, or you will give us another chance also to see you on line and to ask what we could not ask?
Sheikh Mohammed: This is the first time I chat live online anywhere. It is the first time I put myself in front of such transparent questions. For those who enjoyed my answers, I'll be back again. For those who have not enjoyed my answers, perhaps I will not appear.
osamasherif: We just heard that His Highness Sheikh Zayed will be coming home soon....what are your thoughts about his leadership and the future of the UAE? Osama, Jordan
Sheikh Mohammed: Sheikh Zayed is a great personality. We are all proud of where he has been taking the UAE. Those like Sheikh Zayed are few and far between. He is a great man and it's difficult to find such a man.
Qatada: Qatada from Chicago. If you were stranded on an island what are the three things that you would like to have with you?
Sheikh Mohammed: The 3 things are 1. A hunting tool 2. A form of transportation. 3. Someone I love
trevor: Trevor (Dubai) Do you have a favorite place in the desert here?
Sheikh Mohammed: That depends. I am a lover of nature, the desert, and the wadis. What you love depends on your state of mind, emotion and time. If you have time, you are lucky to go far, otherwise one has to be satisfied with close places.
Jameel_dubai: We all love Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and we all wish that we will meet him one day in our life. so how do you explain this feeling from the people?
Sheikh Mohammed: Al Hamdulillah. We are all humans, with the good, the bad, the critical, etc. People have different feelings, some are obvious. If one earns the love of the people this is a blessing. Even those that criticize, that is OK since we are all human. If one is knowledgeable his criticism is acceptable.
DJ: Which matter is causing you the most concern at this moment in time? (London, UK)
Sheikh Mohammed: Obviously the issue of US concern is their elections. We here in the Middle East, we want peace. Peace is imperative for people and societies to grow and prosper.
snowgirl: Are you working on ways to give positive images of Middle Easterners to the rest of the world? Anchorage, Alaska USA
Sheikh Mohammed: Naturally there are priorities for the ME. Sometimes we have been blamed and that is because of media miscommunication. Now media enables a better image. Hopefully we are all working on a better image for the Middle East.
nadim: What are your thoughts on Arab unity regarding Iraq and Palestine? What can be done by ordinary people to foster closer ties and stronger stances on issues? (San Diego, USA)
Sheikh Mohammed: You know that over the years, there are those that tried to weaken the Arabs. I know that we can work hard together towards an Arab Unity which includes Iraq, Palestine. Once everything is back to normal, since this is just abnormal and it will not continue, Arab unity will be back.
Hizbollah: what do u think about the intifada Sheikh?
Sheikh Mohammed: Al Intifada is brave. But we want peace not war. Al Intifada is a means of communication. We do not want this to continue, nor do we want Israel's hostility to continue. The Intifada will continue if we do not arrive at a fair and a comprehensive peace.
Guest954: Sheikh, how will traditional Islam in Dubai cope with so much foreign influence?
Sheikh Mohammed: We in Dubai, it's true that we are an open land, however we adhere to our culture, religions, traditions, etc. These do not change. We will learn the positive from visitors and foreigners.
duraid: Your relation with President Bashar Al Assad has been very strong even before he became president...do you expect further economical ties with Syria?
Sheikh Mohammed: It's true I had a relationship with Bashar before he became president. Actually I have been friends with most of them. We exchange ideas and thoughts. These relationships will enrich country ties and help improve relations and our joint economies.
Babylon: Salma Dear Mohamed...please tell me please ...what is your opinion about the situation of IRAQI CHILDREN
Sheikh Mohammed: The situation with the children of Iraq is very painful. Not only the children, but also the elderly. We hope to remove the embargo on Iraq, help rebuild it and provide all assistance to the people of Iraq.
uaefalcon: If you were not the crown prince of Dubai and Minister of Defense, what would you like to be? Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sheikh Mohammed: I would like to be a dedicated citizen under the rule of true leadership. I would like to serve my country and would then have more time for my poetry.
HAKAN: are you going to pardon some of the prisoners soon due to the Holy month of Ramadan or some other occasion ?
Sheikh Mohammed: We are always trying to pardon prisoners, in Ramadan and other occasions. We do not want prisoners. We want people to be free. But sometimes people make mistakes and the law is the law. We will always try to help when we can and enable freedom.
Hind: My mother has told me that your father (Sheikh Rashid) visited her school, will you visit my school? I am 10 years old
Sheikh Mohammed: Sheikh Rashid, Allah Yirhamahu, liked to pay such visits. If I get an invitation I will gladly accept. I would like to know what the name of your school is, where is it located?
Hind: Hassa School in Zaabeel
Sheikh Mohammed: You've got school tomorrow Hind. How come you're still awake? We love our children to be clever and do well in school.
sultan: are you thinking of writing a book on your life, philosophy, experiences bad and good including secrets
Sheikh Mohammed: This is a good question. My life is full of experiences of which I have my memoirs. I keep these safe and when I have the time, perhaps when I retire I can spend time on this. For the moment we are busy with many duties.
dxbGirl: do you really think that "Honesty" is the best policy, as the saying says, Your Highness?
Sheikh Mohammed: Honesty is the road to success. He who lies only believes himself.
jo: HH do u like to mingle in public without their knowledge or without your guards?
Sheikh Mohammed: Guards are for official occasions. Otherwise I am sometimes with a companion or two, sometimes alone.
Flower: Do you see a time when democracy will come to the U.A.E.? (from Boston, USA)
Sheikh Mohammed: This depends on your definition of democracy. What is it you mean by democracy?
Flower: Your highness, is there a form of democracy you think is appropriate for the UAE? (Boston, USA)
Sheikh Mohammed: I asked about what democracy meant to you. There are various definitions of this around the world. Look at Russia. Look at China and how things are evolving. Local democracies are what work, rather than any that are imported. To me it's about freedom, individuality and respect of one's own space, freedom in one's beliefs, work and environment. One should live in comfort and with peace of mind.
Flower: Your highness, in those respects, the UAE does well in democracy, from my experience living there. You are leading another form, with giving people direct access to leaders. (Boston, USA)
Sheikh Mohammed: I am very pleased that you understand our democracy.
abdou11: What are your thoughts on the population problem in the UAE, Sheikh?
Sheikh Mohammed: We have no problem with the population count. You probably mean the demographics. There are committees studying this currently in the UAE.
SCULPTOR: Do you really like being a person of such high position?
Sheikh Mohammed: I do not know if my position is high or not. My job is to serve this position and country and people. Titles come and go. It does not matter what your title is, it's about what you do. One should not look at titles, but rather at achievements.
nilofar: How many children do you have? Boys and girls? Sharjah UAE
Sheikh Mohammed: I have 7 boys, 9 girls and the rest on the way. )
faisald: Dubai- Traffic is a serious problem in Dubai. Do you plan to build more bridges over the creek?
Sheikh Mohammed: Yes. I would like to announce that we are working on improving this. In a short while, you will not get so stuck in traffic and our roads will be improving. We are improving the roads and grids around here and it will improve your time on the road soon I hope.
nadim: Your Highness, what are your thoughts on attracting Arab minds back to the Arab world in relation to the computer and/or internet industry ? (San Diego, USA)
Sheikh Mohammed: We encourage our good minds to return. We constantly try to offer them good incentives to come back. It is our duty to provide them with opportunities. In the meantime, I wish them well.
iOasis: KSA - how can the rest of the Gulf States benefit from Dubai's experience of IT?
Sheikh Mohammed: Gulf States are considered like the UAE. Whatever they ask for, we are happy to provide assistance and support. We are here to extend our knowledge and efforts to the entire region.
abuleena: The Arab people have lost a lot of ground in technology during the last century. Do you think in the new century we will be advancing in that manner (Omar- Canada)
Sheikh Mohammed: I will give you an example; Arabs were at the forefront of the sea and it's needs. Once machines came in we lost ground to the west, who used the latest machinery. Those who do not keep up will lose pace fast. But hopefully with the leadership in the Arab states, we will be able to regain any lost ground.
Steve: This is Steve from Sydney How much of your time do you spend with your family?
Sheikh Mohammed: Naturally, I try to spend as much time as possible. One's base is the family. It is the best thing in the world. It's a great feeling to be with your kids, talking about their likes and dislikes, their views and their opinions. This is something beautiful and so my time with my family is very cherished by me.
Ranya: I am from Stockholm Will you ever have elections in the UAE?
Sheikh Mohammed: Elections are representative of people's opinions. The people of the UAE are always able to speak their minds and opinions, we do not find that there is a void here. WE are here to serve our people.
Interested: What do you think are the most important qualities that an Arab ruler should have?
Sheikh Mohammed: An Arab ruler should be loyal to his people and country. One should have a vision that is time relevant. One should be able to make his people's dream a reality.
Guest968: I am in Paris, can you describe a typical day in your life?
Sheikh Mohammed: I wake up, wash, pray, have breakfast, go to work and then come back home for lunch where officials accompany me and this is where we are able to get out of our routine. I also like to walk on the beach, but when I do not have time to do something, I postpone that to a better time.
Khaled: Khaled from California How do you see the American role in the Middle East?
Sheikh Mohammed: Americans did not understand the Arab situation 10 years ago. Media plays a big role in this image these days. We hope that they act impartially and as mediators and facilitators in the future.
dubai-boy: what is your new project for next years? Dubai
Sheikh Mohammed: The one I am thinking about now. )
Syrian2DIe4: Sheikh Mohammed what do u think of all Arab nations uniting to become one strong nation
Sheikh Mohammed: This is the dream I always dream of.
Nadir: Is there anything that makes you sad and frustrated? Are there times when you need to motivate yourself to keep working harder? (Nadir from Muscat)
Sheikh Mohammed: No. I have never felt frustrated nor depressed. That is for sick people. I do however get sad and that is when things fail. I usually feel bad because of circumstance, but keep going.
mos: Do you encourage students to study outside the country ?
Sheikh Mohammed: Most of our prominent figures are those who went abroad to get an education, training and experience. This is something I support, whether it is abroad or even these days within our own countries. We today have the capabilities to offer good experiences.
110R: What languages do you know? (Dubai, UAE)
Sheikh Mohammed: Do you mean to ask about the languages I speak?
Khaled: How do you evaluate the performance of various Ministries in the UAE?
Sheikh Mohammed: We have a wise leadership represented by HH Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Maktoum, both of whom have a vision which is obvious from what we see around us today. About the Ministries, I am always honest and do not wish to hurt... for example I would not be true to say that the situation is good within the Ministry of Education, Health, Labor, etc. Ministers and their teams are what make better Ministries. It is the combined efforts of everyone. We do however have some Ministries which are doing well, like Finance, Defense. The Min of Information as well is one of the better ones.
MMR: In general, you have made us proud of you in all aspects, what would make you be proud of us as a young female from Dubai. (UAE,Dubai)
Sheikh Mohammed: I am very proud of our people and proud of our youth. We have evolved into a people who are able to develop the country. I am proud to be surrounded with the youth of today.
Mo: Your highness, how will the UAE benefit from the e-government initiative? Since you are going to be the first to take this ambitious step into the 21st Century, do you feel intimidated since other countries will look at you as an example for the future? (Lebanese CS student in London, UK)
Sheikh Mohammed: This is the road to the future, one should not follow, but should rather walk in parallel. One should not be intimidated, rather we should continue to strive. We are working within our plan and our vision which we have planned for and we have task forces to achieve this.
Mohd_n: Do u get angry sometimes? How do u manage to get away with the anger,,,,(UAE)
Sheikh Mohammed: Yes, I am a person with feelings. I get angry but not with people. I get angry when I do not fulfill my duties. During the times of anger I spend an hour by the sea, think to myself and then the anger subsides.
naz: I know you are a pilot. Have you had a chance to fly lately?
Sheikh Mohammed: Yes I am a pilot. I am a fighter plane pilot and it is unfortunate that I do not get to fly them often. These days I get to simply take off and land regular flights and fly helicopters from place to place and within units.
Fatma: Do you think the routine kills the talent of the human?
Sheikh Mohammed:Yes. I agree 100%. I have committees and work groups whom I talk to often. He who does not have a mission falls into a routine and routine is deadly. One should always strive to move forward and out of his box.
sultan: your highness what do you think about the death of the young boy Mohamed Al Durra in Palestine?
Sheikh Mohammed: It was Allah's wish to show the world what is happening with the Palestinians through allowing the media to pick this scene up. It is not only about Mohamed Al Durra, but also more about the entire Palestinian people 's suffering.
Ayman: His Highness, how long you spend every day on average browsing the internet (London, UK)
Sheikh Mohammed: Some evenings I spend time online and whenever I have a bit of time. Just an addition to the Mohamed Al Durra situation. I have some poetry you can read on my site www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae
Taher: Do you smoke?
Sheikh Mohammed: No. Al Hamdulillah. I have never been a smoker. However as a kid, I did light up a cigarette but never again.
umyousef: How many beauties inspire you in your poems?
Sheikh Mohammed: Beauty is always an inspiration in my poetry and in my life.
aquarius: What makes you laugh?
Sheikh Mohammed: My children's small issues make me laugh, along with the mischief of people.
SultanAlAkhali: Thanks to your courage to have an open discussion with Arab citizens! I am writing my Ph.D. theses on Arab political leadership. So, in your highness view, what are the most difficulties that prevent Arab leaders to achieve a common defense, or common economic market or federal Arab state the same as the UAE? Is because of mistrust among them, or is because of external pressures? I will be grateful if your highness could reply?
Sheikh Mohammed: I always wish that the UAE experience were replicated in other Arab countries. We should work on uniting our people, armies, and efforts. I do however see a light at the end of the tunnel, when Arab unity will exist. We have a lot of potential and the unity will happen. There is a lot we complement each other with and our joint efforts will benefit everyone and all our countries.
I thank everyone here today. I do hope to meet again. It is now getting late, and we must end this chat in order to move on to close the day and prepare for an early morning.
Arabia.comSaturday, November 25, 2000