Dubai remodels Ramadan rules for non Moslem expatriates

Published:  12 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, Dubai, UAE
In response to Saudi Arabia’s opening up its economy, Dubai has remodelled its strict Ramadan rules in order to benefit its non-Moslem expat community.

In the past, the daytime fast and other rules relevant to the holy month of Ramadan have applied to non-Moslems as well as to followers of the faith, but this year’s period of abstinence passed like any other month for the emirate’s expatriate community. In a response to Saudi Arabia’s efforts to attract wealthy tourists as well as the best and brightest expats, Dubai fought back by allowing increased food and alcohol licenses during Ramadan.

A vital hub in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has always been an accommodating destination for foreigners wishing to live and do business in the futuristic city. There’s everything to lose should Saudi Arabia manage to usurp Dubai’s crown via an effective liberalisation push as in Vision20/30. Allowing expats to get around the compulsory piety of Ramadan and access bars and restaurants as and when they please is a clever ruse, especially as many outlets have competed for non-Moslem trade by offering special deals on entertainment, alcohol and food.

Admittedly, the relaxation of Ramadan rules for expats is a major split by Dubai, with many devout local Muslims less than happy about the changes. One enterprising deli and cocktail club took it too far, advertising an all-you-can-eat ‘dirty brunch’ serving limitless alcoholic drinks as well as dishes based on pork, an unclean, forbidden meat for practising Muslims. However, one local hospitality worker seen drinking a pint in a Dubai pub told reporters she was happy to be able to smoke a cigarette and drink alcohol during the holy month. For locals, she said, this makes a huge difference.
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