After a number of visits to Dubai and photos of Lindsay Lohan carrying a Quran, the press recently announced that she officially moved here in December.
Last week, she deleted all the posts from both her twitter and instagram accounts. All that was left on her instagram was a short and sweet bio saying “Alaikum salam ✋.” For those who may not know, Alaikum salam means “and peace be onto you” in Arabic. It is usually the response to As-salam alaikum which means “peace be upon you.” It’s a very respectful, friendly and common Muslim greeting.
According to Emirates Woman Magazine, “The 30-year-old plans to spend much of the upcoming year volunteering at refugee camps in Turkey, and setting up her own production company right here in Dubai.”
I’ve seen a lot of mean tweets (and comments) about the Mean Girls star suggesting that she is being brain washed, is a loser that will never change, is only doing this as a media ploy, etc. Blah, blah and a dash of blah!
I personally think her leap into change is very positive and bold. It takes courage to make a massive lifestyle adjustment and move across the globe. In this “Muslims are the enemy” day and age, a celebrity of her status moving to the Region brings a positive light onto it.
I’ve had many people close to me suffer from addiction (and alcoholism) and one of the pieces of advice is to change “people, places and things.” In addition, doing service work and helping others is greatly encouraged in sobriety. She is doing both. As someone who visits refugee camps I can tell you how deeply humbling of an experience it is. Their reality cuts deep and stays with you. It forces you to harshly evaluate your life, decide what is important to you and how to live out your higher purpose. She has the financial means to help refugees and the exposure to create awareness. There’s nothing negative about that.
On a professional note, most countries already have a solid infrastructure in their arts and film sectors. In the U.A.E. creatives have had to build it from the ground up. The arts and film community have grown tremendously over the last decade. From Festivals to Production Companies to Dubai Opera to The Lourve. The next step is for it to become a full on industry. Having big names like Quincy Jones supporting music and Tyrese Gibson and Lindsay Lohan opening production companies here, will help elevate the business to greater heights.
Back in 2008, my husband (Ali Al Sayed) used to always say; “my dream is for the Middle East is to not just import great talent but to export it.” Today, it is happening and inshallah it will keep growing all while breaking negative stereotypes in the West and building creative bridges.
So to Lindsay I say “Marhaba gurrrrrl! How YOU doin? Let’s make some great and meaningful art!” She’s been hated on enough over the years, let’s support her efforts to grow, find inner-peace and give back.