08 August, 2009

Dubai malls join anti-indecency campaign

The Emirati side of the story:

Mariam Al Salem and her Emirati companions said visitors and expatriates should tow the line.
"Our rules must be strictly followed," Mariam said.

Khulood Ahmad, a 23-year-old Emirati and a college student said the situation has become uncontrollable. "Majority of shoppers don't adhere to our style's policy, and we don't think a sticker or leaflet will make them pay attention," he said.

Khalid Al Hammadi and his friends Nawaf and Majed, all of them Emiratis, said an aggresssive media campaign should be launched to deliver the message.

Najla Al Awadi, Federal National Council member, Deputy CEO of Dubai Media Inc and General Manager of Dubai One TV, said awareness of the rules should be done as early as while a visitor is processing his entry visa.

"I don't want to generalise and say that all expats behave in that inappropriate way. However, certainly many expats who come to our country are either not aware of our cultural norms or are just not respectful of them and choose to behave any way they want to.



Abu Dhabi Blogger said...

Just read this on the GN website two minutes ago. I must confess, this is very surprising coming from DBX.

Lirun said...

what difference would a campaign make..

haylale said...


Is it respectable clothing like when you go to the court or something? :)

oink-oink said...

"Our rules must be strictly followed," Mariam said.

The rules, and the source of the rules (i.e., the issuing authority) require greater publicity, preferably indicating the date of issuance of the rules. Many people seem to think they are "make them up as you go along" rules, and very often people quoting the "rules" seem to be expressing personal opinions more than anything else. Want compliance? Be clear.

Anonymous said...

"I respect Dubai, its religion, culture and people, I come here frequently for business and pleasure, and I was never asked to cover my shoulders or my knees until recently," she said.

"I used to wear a sleeveless short gown or miniskirt and according to my background it is a decent outfit and doesn't cause any kind of embarrassment. But lately a security approached me and in a polite way handed me a brochure that includes the mall's courtesy policy regarding dress code and general behaviour."
I didn't know if I should laugh or get mad... why bother say you respect this country and its religion when you are going to do whatever you please? can't afford to buy few suitable clothes, then don't waste your money coming here...
I agree, it gets a little confusing with the "do or can't do"..but the can't do things in general isn't in your face as far as I have seen..

Russians, lebanese, philipinas and brits are the expats I've seen not adhere to suitable clothes the most....

Proud Emirati said...

what is DBX?

oink-oink said...

Note to all: non-pc comments may not be approved. This is better than Gulf News.

oink-oink said...

On the other hand: you're welcome to say stuff like "what is DBX?". It's sure to see the light of day.

Thanks, moderators, for promoting meaningful and useful discussion.

Anonymous said...

To: Najla Al Awadi:

Ms. Al-Awadi:

Stop building all these hotels, stop imitating the West, try for once and be yourselves and then maybe you won't be required to draft a paper law on decency just a few days before Ramadan.

Have a nice day.

A law-abiding resident

samuraisam said...

People who are members of this blog are not placed in the moderation queue and as such they appear instantly.
If you are not a member your comments go to the moderation queue and appear after some time once approved; the majority of comments are approved.

Anonymous said...


Why can't they make up their minds already?

Do they want to be a major tourist destination or not?

Do they want tourists or not?

This sure isn't the way to go about it..

unJane said...

You can buy the clothes from shops in Bur Juman. You just can't wear them there. What's not to understand ;-)

Anonymous said...

You know what - as an American I fully agree.

First, the issue of "when in Rome". We are still all guests and like any, should keep some very simple and clear concepts in mind. I noted in MotE the other days a Chinese woman in the tiniest shorts and top, with high heels of 6 inches or more. She had also blinged herself so much I couldn't believe she was still standing up straight. She seemed not the least bit concerned. Seriously - people like that need to be given one chance to change and then escorted to the airport.

Perhaps Dubai needs 'Culture Police' with the ability to educate and still be able to issue fines. Give people a chance - but only one.

It is embarassing, as an expat, that so many are so ignorant - resident and visitor alike.

another expat said...

"Aggressive" media campaign. Perhaps you should have men with long beards and sticks running around beating women up to cover up like they do next door.

How about stopping the rampant prostitution before starting to harass innocent people simply going out for a cup of coffee.

Everyone would be a lot more 'respectful' if you were not such huge hypocrites.

Dubai Jazz said...

Interesting topic, I'd just blogged about it.

Anonymous said...

Yes let's abide by the culture and tradition of the country you're in. It's common decency and I find it very surprising that so many people can not respect this simple rule which is now forcing the french to publicly forbid wearing Abaya's in the street and veils in public school.

But to be honest, even as a westerner I've been choked but the slutty outfit of some girls at the mall. Visible underwear and bra sized shirt? seriously? Even in Europe you'd be categorized as a woman of little virtue.

i*maginate said...

I walked into a designer shop in a big DXB mall last week and there was a see-through top on sale. I asked the Arab salesguy what on earth are you meant to wear underneath this, a vest? He said NO, A BRA! I said 'excuse me, do you know where we are?' He defended the bra answer!

As for the shops selling these clothes, who knows what the shopkeepers are advising TOURIST customers, despite existing guidelines at the entrance of the mall!

Rose in Dubai said...

>>I noted in MotE the other days a Chinese woman in the tiniest shorts and top, with high heels of 6 inches or more. She had also blinged herself so much I couldn't believe she was still standing up straight. She seemed not the least bit concerned. Seriously - people like that need to be given one chance to change and then escorted to the airport. <<

Why? Was she doing you any harm? She might have looked ridiculous but seriously, was she really hurting anyone? Can we first focus on fixing the things that do hurt people rather than pole vaulting over mouse turds?

Emirati said...

What is the land-rapist zionist doing on this board again ?

fellow atheist said...


Just cause an item is for sale doesn't mean that it's something you can wear where it is being sold. You don't see people wearing tuxes in the mall, but they sell them. Such a top could be worn at a private party for instance. Or, hell, maybe even for her husband only. Your logic is seriously flawed.

@ another expat,

It appears that the Emiratis are not affected by the prostitutes turning tricks in broad daylight.. or in the 5-star hotels. They are, however, affected by tourists and mall visitors. As such, the government naturally responds to the many complaints they are receiving from their own citizens.

So, until the Chinese hookers move into Emirati neighborhoods, no one is going to care how many they are.

This goes to show you how isolated they are.

@ Anon @ 09 August, 2009 14:17,

Please.. no one in Europe cares what anyone is wearing. Just cause you carry a European passport doesn't make you culturally European.. it's obvious from your response.

i*maginate said...

fellow atheist,

It's not a matter of logic as I was not making an argument - I was recounting my experience. For you, I'll finish off the story. When he said it's OK to wear a bra only under the top, I challenged him and asked if he expects me to walk out of the shop right past a massive coffee shop (full of men) with bra on full view. He insisted that's OK - when the mall guidelines state otherwise - and smiled.

Anonymous said...

Is there no connection between Dubai's sudden concern with decency and rumours of other, more conservative emirates/countries getting more say in decision-making here? I have been here for other Ramadans and have not seen this concern with modesty earlier. Also, the permission to film sex and the city was refused...Just thinking aloud

Proud Emirati said...

Yes Rose in Dubai, she is psychologically hurting the people there. The least thing that could happen is a guy going home and thinking about her in the bathroom and doing some stuff ...

rosh said...

There was a fine line being comfortably clothed and blatant nudity. Friends and I cringe at what (more than) some women wear in the city. It's like why bother putting clothes on? Fellow Atheist - I'm not sure about EU, however, on several occasions, American born / raised cousins / friends have cringed at some of the 'sightings'.

That said, I find it confusing and to be quite honest, sort of insensitive when the national Media head, who is also a member of the FNC make statements like the ones below;

"certainly many expats who come to our country are .."

Just how many "expats" does she know that make up the UAE? Unless GN butchered her statement (which they often do), I hope she and many others make an effort to know the people..sorry, the "expats" and their ways of life, which make up the UAE. It's not a cookie cut society OR culture.

"while a visitor is processing his entry visa."

Most folks who're into provocative clothing do not do not need a visa for the UAE. They can get on a flight and land in DXB wearing whatever they please, no questions asked. And it's almost ludicrous to have them 'read' through the campaign whilst entering a Mall. Please, think, research, strategize and focus on more effective ways.

That said, I agree, a campaign / dialogue shall help better understand cross cultural expectations & perceptions. However, it has to be a two way process. It has to be honest, transparent and consistent and effective i.e. have rules in place and not have Paris H inspired women over to DXB to help "place" DXB on the "world map".

hemlock said...

rosh: have rules in place and not have Paris H inspired women over to DXB to help "place" DXB on the "world map".

hear! hear!
and if it's ok to have PH come in and shoot MY NEW BFF!!!!!!!! (i lost some braincells just saying that), then let them shoot sex and the city too...
personally i think SatC is a great comment on the world we live in today. the PH crap is just insipid.

Rose in Dubai said...

>>The least thing that could happen is a guy going home and thinking about her in the bathroom and doing some stuff ...<<

Then the guy needs to grow up and develop some impulse control.

I agree there are some pretty scary sights wondering around the malls and some people go shopping wearing things better suited to the beach, but to suggest that people are psychologically scarred by them is a bit of a stretch. If you want to go home and obsess about what someone was wearing you need professional help!

fellow atheist said...


Come on now! The people working in retailers hardly know how to get to their store, let alone know what the policies are! You need to lower your expectations... a LOT!

On the other hand, it sounds like he thought you could pull it off and was hoping you would try it on -- some women would take that as a compliment :)

rosh said...

Rose, think PE was kidding / sarcastic in a way..

Stained said...

It does disgust a person when he/she by chance happens to glance(for whatever reason) in the direction of some ladies sitting at the other end of a restaurant who are dressed in a way that in the single glance you can tell what kinda of lingerie they are wearing if they are wearing any in the first place. I'm not talking about the perverted/desperate bunch of men or women who get high on seeing inner wear but I'm talking about the rest (local or expat) who don't want to see such stuff...

We need a campaign, but a proper one. Not this useless sign board out side malls. The one in MOE has been there for ages and I still see people dressed in ways I don't want to describe...

Anonymous said...


Alton Towers bans men in Speedos

Small swimwear is out, says water park in barely concealed grope for August publicity

--- are we likely to see the same here u think?

oink-oink said...

i*maginate said...
fellow atheist,

It's not a matter of logic as I was not making an argument - I was recounting...

Male sales assistants in women's clothing stores are not to be confused with Style Consultants. Also, telling you what most customers would do with the item in question may not necessarily constitute fashion advice.

The only suggestion I could possibly give is that when shopping for clothing, if you see something you would never dream of wearing, simply ignore it and look for what you would like, rather than engaging underpaid salespeople in confrontational dialogues...

**WatsUpInU@E** said...

Respecting the culture and values can be in many forms. Eg. We won't be seen EATING FOOD or DRINKING anything in the public during Ramadan as we respect them, eventhough we're not muslims.

Respect should be gained and not enforced.

Anonymous said...

So if they can ban miniskirts in Dubai... Speedos in the UK is it then acceptable for France to do this?


French pool bars Muslim woman for 'burquini' suit

PARIS – A Muslim woman garbed in a head-to-toe swimsuit — dubbed a "burquini" — may have opened a new chapter in France's tussle between religious practices and its stern secular code.

Officials insisted Wednesday they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards — not out of hostility to overtly Muslim garb.

Anonymous said...

No, because there is a difference. In the UAE we are telling people NOT from here to follow our rules.

That woman is a FRENCH national. He own country is telling her her rights as French National are nul and void.

Big difference.

If an expat doesnt like the UAE's rules he/she is welcome to leave.

Where should that French National leave to? She's in her own home.

BIG difference.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Proud Emirati said...

Anonymous @ 07:48

Actually, not only miniskirts should be banned, we should go after bikinis, men piercing and many many other stuff.

Meanwhile am enjoying using my authority to stop that idiot from doing a public display of affection. I am generous enough that I didn't call the police to arrest him !

amazingsusan said...

It seems to me to be pretty simply.

1) Issue CLEAR guidelines about what is acceptable and what is not.

2) Publicise widely, including in all tourism campaigns, employment contracts, etc.

3) Fine and/or deport those who don't comply.

Problem solved.

Either the UAE wants to be progressive/Westernised or it does not. Choose a path and stick to it. It's not a question of right or wrong, it's a question of different values. Emiratis need to decide what values they would want to live by and that they would want visitors to their country to live by and then implement them. Visitors then have criteria upon which they can base a decision to come to the UAE or not.

Proud Emirati said...

You'v just contradictedi urself NotAmzingSuzan when u attached progressive with being westernized and then say that its not about what is right or wrong but about different values. If u want to pretend to be neutral at least try not to show ur total bias.

Lirun said...

i saw a really obese italian lady parade around our pool yesterday..

it certainly wasnt my preferred view.. but i couldnt really care..

i have tried and tried but cannot understand the fuss..

amazingsusan said...


well you're right. progressive and westernised are not the same thing, although many people use them as such.

delete progressive. the rest stands.

BTW, you accusing me of being biased is certainly the pot calling the kettle black LOL.

Proud Emirati said...

Exactly, the problem is that usually westerns usually attach being progressive with acting like them which is far from the truth. This is a self-centralized imperialistic view of the world.

Anonymous said...

"So, until the Chinese hookers move into Emirati neighborhoods, no one is going to care how many they are."

It doesn't matter that prostitutes don't generally operate in Emirati neighbourhoods. The problem is that they are operating in this country at all. Women from many countries are being trafficked here and sold as sex slaves - this is a major human rights abuse and it should concern any decent human being whether it is happening in their street or not.

The unregulated prostitution industry here is contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS as well. And prostitutes here are used by men of all nationalities.

This is a far more serious issue than someone wearing a mini skirt in a mall. Grow up and focus on the real problems here.

Anonymous said...

keep it simple.
i think decency is beyond what one person wears, and respect is beyond personal moral opinion. although its important to put a limit on certain things, co- existence has something to do with compromise, its both parties responsibilities...well at the end of the day i PERSONALLY think wear something sexy if you have something to show,, hide it if its hideous. that applies to ALL (limitation applies)..:) come on guys loosen up a bit. smile dubai is still and should be a place to be creative and fashionable.

Anonymous said...

I agree with amazinsusan on choosing a path and sticking to it. Either be socially liberal or conservative. Quit flip-flopping and then wondering why people act the way they do.

For me? I remember once at a club in Fairmont (can't remember its name, where the entrance is from the back?).. New Year's party.. dancing with my WIFE.. a bouncer walks up to me and asks me to step back and not get too close to her. We weren't 'dirty dancing' or anything.. just having a good time.

Ruined my night, much to the relief of my wife, who is not big on dancing anyway.

Mind you, this is a place where alcohol is served and everyone is getting drunk. It's NEW YEAR's EVE!

Then, you go to a club across the street and you hear:

500 khundred, one shot

And I'm thinking.. WTF?!

So.. make up your mind. Do you want a brothel or a mosque? Or somewhere in between like most 'normal' countries are? Cause, quite frankly, it looks to me like you have a brothel in the mosque.

I got it! The new Dubai tagline:

Dubai: A brothel in the mosque

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your cooperation.

Anonymous said...

amazingsusan said...
It seems to me to be pretty simply.

1) Issue CLEAR guidelines about what is acceptable and what is not.

It is CLEARLY stated on every door to MOE (An example) that shoulders should be covered and shorts/skirts should be till the knees. Yet so many many people ignore this. Like bratty children being "rebellious" while just proving that they cant be trusted.

ColOman said...

its funny that people are starting to take the law into their own hands while the government sits back and watches, when business people start turning away customers/profit, it tells you something is really wrong and they are really fed up.

When will the government step in?

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