Dress-code for UAE malls during Ramadan: Residents draw fine line for acceptable decency

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Fines for those breaking rules suggested; Flyers for passengers arriving into country; Dress-code all-year round mooted

In a united show of support for the need of a ‘respectful’ UAE dress code, most residents have called for authorities to step up the drive to ensure the social movement goes beyond the holy month of Ramadan.

While a few have suggested passing out flyers to passengers arriving into the country, others have proposed levying fines to those flagging the rules.

Several have also revisited the debate for the need of a law that will give clarity to what passes off as a ‘decent’ dress code.

Last week, the spotlight was on Dubai Mall, which has appointed its guest services representatives to hand out flyers to visitors, outlining a ‘dress code policy’ that is appropriate on the premises.

In a statement, a spokesperson said earlier: “Our Guest Service representatives and security staff have been instructed to hand out the flyers, discreetly and courteously, to remind any guests about the need to respect the region’s cultural ethos.

“We are committed to ensuring the social and cultural morals of the UAE and encourage visitors to respect the country’s cultural sensitivities.”

Dubai resident AV lauded the mall for its initiative, commenting: “This (flyers) is really necessary, especially in Dubai Mall and not just for Ramadan.

“Some people are just stingy with clothes. It’s sometimes really vulgar. Be decent and show some respect.

“There are cultured people out here who are not interested in such ‘shows’. Dress decently at least.”

SCM said: “I respect this dress code. People in the UAE come from different cultures, but they are committed to respecting the moral values of the host country.

“My opinion is that not only in Ramadan, but also throughout the year, those living in the UAE must wear appropriate clothing when going to a public place.”

Fathima Farook said: “I really appreciate the initiative taken by Dubai Mall. There is a real need for this.
“I absolutely respect freedom and I love Dubai for the same reasons and come on, showing some respect to the culture of the country, doesn’t harm.”

Flyers at airports?

Not everyone was as vocal though, with Max Calderan and Mayjas both suggesting flyers to also be handed out at entry points within the UAE.

Calderan said: “The flyers could be given at passport control when entering the UAE. [There will be] no excuse to wear inappropriate clothing then.”

Mayjas said: “The flyers can be handed over at the airport by immigration officers at the time of stamping the passport and entering UAE. So no excuse now of not receiving any flyers.”

Jezabel Martins said: “I’m a European woman, I like to wear feminine and fashionable clothes but I do agree that you should dress up accordingly to each country’s cultural sensitivities, as well as each region’s cultural ethos.

“My opinion is that the UAE Government should have dress code flyers along with local magazines displayed at the airports so all tourists would be aware of these local specific and fundamental values.”

Meanwhile, tourists such as Arlene Thomas think it’s valid for a country to request visitors to dress accordingly.

She wrote in to say: “I am a South African and have visited your beautiful country twice now.

“I totally respect the need for appropriate dressing. Your UAE ladies are beautiful in their attire. Can’t wait to visit Dubai again.”

Need for a dress code law?

Flashback three years and who can forget the infamous incident when a British woman was arrested in a Dubai mall for stripping down to a bikini following an argument where she was accused of not being respectful of the UAE culture and wearing ‘revealing’ clothes in a public area.

The dramatic incident brought into focus a UAE dress code law, or lack thereof, but it was still another one year before a social campaign was kicked off on Twitter, giving movement to the debate.

Fines for those breaking rules suggested; Flyers for passengers arriving into country; Dress-code all-year round mooted

Despite being discussed at the federal level, no UAE dress code law has been implemented, albeit malls across the country are in the practice of placing signage for appropriate dressing at entrances.

However, malls aren’t the only places doing that.

Several residents claim they were unaware that certain public places, such as the Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah, also enforce a dress code.

Darlene Vickery-Brooks said: “[The dress code is] not restricted to the malls. I went to the Dubai Zoo in a tank top and shorts (mid-thigh).

“I was offered two pieces of fabric to cover my knees and my shoulders. I was not impressed but I was with my niece and daughter and they desperately wanted to go in.”

Sarowar Zarna commented on the website’s Facebook page, saying: “Yes, [a dress code law] is necessary for this country; there is too much violation.

“There should be a fine if you are in violation. If the UAE government can fine people for jaywalking, then why not for this?”

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