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15 June 2012 at 11:41 BST

Sheiks face pressure to crack down on 'inappropriate' dress

Pressure on the UAE authorities to support traditional Muslim values is building as the rulers face calls for the imposition of a strict dress code law.

Probably best not to wear it down a Dubai shopping mall

Over the last decade, Dubai first and subsequently Abu Dhabi have attracted hundreds of thousands of western businesspeople -- with global law firms being at the forefront – as well as tourists. But the blending of cultures has often been fraught with difficulties.

Twitter campaign

Now a Twitter campaign launched recently by two young Emiratis has highlighted growing concerns in the Persian Gulf region that Islamic customs are in danger of being overwhelmed by a tide of westernisation. And the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper, The National, yesterday released the results of its own survey showing that 70 per cent of UAE residents said a dress code law is required.
According to the newspaper, 40 per cent of survey respondents maintained that the incidents of ‘inappropriate’ dress were worsening. The researchers also found that 80 per cent of respondents said the problem was not limited to tourists, with expatriate residents frequently dressing inappropriately in public.

Inappropriate clothes

A typical view came from Khawla Al Haremy, a 25-year-old  administrative assistant in Abu Dhabi. She told the newspaper that she favoured toughened legislation because ‘I'm totally against seeing people walking in malls wearing inappropriate clothes because I don't want my children to see this. I don't go to beaches because I'm expecting it there, but not in shopping malls and public places.’


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