Dubai: Being a senior Malayalam journalist in the UAE, P.P. Sasindran, Middle East bureau chief of Mathrubhumi media group, frequently gets invited as a guest to various events by Dubai’s large Malayalee community.
The one he attended on Saturday, an iftar get-together, was unique. Every male attendee other than him, including the second guest, was named Faisal.
Yes, you guessed it right. It was an exclusive iftar held for people named Faisal and their families. And all of them hail from the South Indian state of Kerala.
They are members of a social media group named, well obviously, after them.
What started off as a Facebook group of a handful of Faisals in Kerala in December 2018 is now a large network of 1,500 members in both Facebook and WhatsApp, said Faisal Tahani, who initiated the group in the UAE.
The aim of the group is to unite in the name of the name Faisal and be there for each other through thick and thin.
“There were around 150 members who joined us from the UAE before our first gathering on Saturday,” Tahani told Gulf News.
“Almost 70 of them attended the iftar get-together with their families.”
Except a few who already knew each other personally, it was the first time that all the Faisals had met, said Tahani, who drove all the way from Al Qua’a in Al Ain, more than 250 kilometres away from Dubai, to attend the function.
They also ensured that one of the special guests — Faisal A.K, corporate executive director, Malabar Gold and Diamonds — had the same name.
When you call Faisal
With so many Faisals assembled in a party hall of a restaurant, as Sasindran pointed out, it is indeed difficult when someone calls the name Faisal as everybody looks up.
So, the Faisals decided to address each other only with their second names or initials, the same system that they follow in their social media groups.
Though some of them spell their first name differently, the meaning of the Muslim name in Arabic remains the same — that of an arbitrator, judge or separator between good and evil.
Tahani said the name gained more popularity among Malayalees, millions of whom live in the GCC, because of the former Saudi King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
“It was a special gathering. The group has united in the name of a name. I hope they will always stand united for each other and do good things,” said Sasindran.
The Faisals have pledged to help each other when anybody has issues with their jobs.
“Most of us are businessmen. We can help with jobs. We are also planning a loyalty card programme to help members get discounts from businesses owned by us and our supporters,” said Tahani.
After the news of the gathering spread among the community members, the group is getting flooded with registration requests from many more Faisals, he added.
Faisal Kannoth, who is in the hospitality business, said all the Faisals would be encouraged to attend a mass gathering being planned on July 14 in Kottakkal in Kerala.
“We are expecting more than 1,500 Faisals to attend the mega event, the convener for which is former Dubai resident and senior television journalist with Asianet News Faisal Bin Ahmad.”
He said the group is expecting a Christian Malayalee named Faisal, who lives in Switzerland, to also attend the event. “We were happy to know that his father chose to give him a Muslim name as a mark of religious harmony. We will be delighted to have him at our mega event.”