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UAE considers skimpy clothing ban

Authorities in popular holiday destination Abu Dhabi are considering imposing a nationwide law that would enforce a dress code in public places within the UAE.

The new law is currently being discussed in cabinet after recommendations from the Federal National Council (FNC), which were supported by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Dr Al Owasis.

The conservative society condemns wearing revealing and tight-fitting clothing. Wearing sleeveless t-shirts, short length dresses and skirts which are above the knee, is heavily frowned upon and considered disrespectful. Low cut t-shirts and tops with thin straps for women might not be appreciated in public areas. Even men wearing shorts would be considered odd.

Wearing offensive clothing could have previously resulted in receiving a warning from authorities, now it could be a criminal offense. “In the UAE we are a conservative society. We hold on to our traditions. I speak as the head of the national tourism council and our powers are limited,” Dr Al Owais told a local newspaper.

The law also references the ban on wearing veils in France. “If these policies have no law behind them, then how are they [offenders] punished,” said Hamad Al Rahoumi, an FNC member who proposed the law. “In some countries they do not allow a face veil or a headscarf. We must also have laws to organise our dress code here.”

Holidaymakers might be deterred from travelling to the country should the law come into force. Dubai is typically considered more liberal than other member states, but the law would still be enforced in the popular holiday destination. It’s unclear if and when the law would come into force. While most travel insurance policies don’t typically cover you if you have broken the law, it is still well worth taking on holiday, along with appropriate clothing.

Date Created: 18 June 2012

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