Middle East

Dress properly in public places in UAE or face jail

Photo Courtesy: CNN

Residents and those who visit UAE are warned not wear inappropriate dress in public places like malls and cafes, otherwise face three years’ imprisonment and deportation for ‘harming the country’s public morals’, as reported by local news agency.

The instruction came following a viral video on Twitter of an Arab woman who spoke about how she reported a “woman who was dressed inappropriately” to a mall security in Dubai. The security then provided the woman with an ‘abaya’ to cover up.

“There are no context or law that regulates or controls clothing limits or set penalties for it, but there is the Article 358 of the Federal Penal Code of the State, which says that indecent actions or anything that might be prejudicial to public morals made by a man or woman in public and could be considered as indecency would be punishable by six months to three years and deportation, according to the first paragraph of the Article 121 of the same law,” Mohammed Talal Al Tamimi, a lawyer at Tamami & Co, told the media.

The UAE government’s official website also asks tourists to “dress modestly”. “Emiratis dress conservatively in traditional dress and can be offended when people dress inappropriately or not in accordance with Islamic values,” the website says.

Most malls in Dubai have a sign on their gates, asking visitors to dress appropriately.

There are no clear instructions of ‘proper dresses’, but the cloths shall not indecently expose sensitive parts of the body, be transparent or display obscene or offensive pictures, slogans, or gestures and anything that might cause religious or cultural offence.

“It is the duty of every resident and visitor to dress appropriately in public. Generally, ladies in public places like streets, shopping malls and restaurants etc., should wear shorts, skirts which are of appropriate length and down to the knee or of knee length. Beach wears and swim suits are only allowed in designated areas of beach or swimming pools,” said Ashish Metha, Managing Partner of Ashish Metha & Associates, a solicitor and legal consultancy firm.

“We welcome diverse visitors, both residents and tourists from all over the world throughout the year. We remind visitors’ about the culturally appropriate dress code and behaviour in the UAE with messaging at our malls’ entrances,” said a spokesperson from Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls.