Dr Ameen Talib, chairman of the organising committee, said it had been organised to create an awareness of Arab culture - and to liven up Arab Street.
'We want to create in Singapore an awareness of the Arab community which has been here for a long time,' he
'The festival hopes to introduce Arab culture to Singaporeans.'Dr Talib
is aware that current concerns about terrorism and developments in the Middle East have thrown the spotlight on Arab culture.
said: 'We have no intention of politicising the festival.
For example, Yemeni dances are performed mostly by men, Dr Talib
said.But for the Egyptians, female belly dancers are a common sight.
There are about 10,000 Arabs here who form a close-knit community.Dr Talib, who is also a member of the management committee of the Arab Association, said Arabs had contributed to nation-building despite their small size.He
said Arab traders arrived here in the 19th century.
'Many of the big Arab families here, like the Alkaffs and Alsagoffs, have played their part to help build Singapore.
'The festival hopes to bring this across and introduce the community to the rest of Singapore,' said Dr Talib
Mr Wan Nor, 32, said the festival opened his
eyes to Arab culture.
Three or four years ago, the street was dead after 5pm, Dr Talib