Dubai expats told to dress respectfully when visiting malls

Published:  2 Oct at 6 PM
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Advice cards on what to wear when shopping in Dubai’s malls are being handed out to expats and tourists considered by security guards to be dressed inappropriately.

The latest crackdown on visitors and expats who may be unaware of the UAE’s strict dress code is taking place at the Dubai Marina Mall, where security guards are busy handing out cards ordering shoppers to dress respectfully when on a visit. Placards with the same information were earlier placed at the entrance to the mall, but are apparently being ignored.

The cards tell shoppers that clothing covering the knees and also the shoulders must be worn at all times and also state which type of clothing is acceptable and which is not. The rules are applicable to both male and female shoppers, but it seems it’s only women who are being targeted, with many expats and visitors to the emirate branding the cards humiliating and discriminatory.

One Australian female shopper noted that men wearing shorts were not being targeted, but women similarly dressed were being handed the cards, and another visitor from the UK, Laura Gates, was wearing a sleeveless dress but was not handed a card. According to local journalist and cultural advisor, Ali al Saloom, the confusion is a result of an unclear understanding of the exact nature of disrespectful dress.

He added that short skirts and sleeveless tops are clearly immodest, and would like to see more stringent rules introduced, including the banning of all inappropriately dressed shoppers from entering the mall. He may get his wish as, given the reactions of a number of those targeted, it would seem that many will now be looking for another, more welcoming mall in which to spend their money.
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