Monday, March 30, 2009

New Dubai Morality Rules

So a few of my friends have been talking about some new morality rules that have been introduced by the Dubai moral police, or whatever they're called. I was at the mall the other day, and noticed that there are a few signs around the place that advise people against certain behaviour and dress. It's weird when this sort of stuff comes up, because a lot of rumours start getting spread around, and no-one knows what the actual situation is.

Firstly, I think these rules have pretty much always been in place, they just haven't been enforced. I know a girl who was asked to leave the Mall of the Emirates because she was wearing slightly revealing clothing. She told me that she was given a 'red card' by some morality police, and was asked to leave, but I get the feeling she's exaggerating. I've also heard that under the new laws, laughing in public is forbidden. This has surely got to be a joke (zing!).

So how did the new rules come about? Well, according to The Economist:
"A commission chaired by the crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, has proposed a code of public conduct to tighten strictures on dress, drinking, dancing and public displays of affection, such as kissing.
Not yet law, the code stresses tolerance and respect for diversity as cornerstones of Dubai’s success. But it also stipulates that improper behaviour that flouts local customs may lead to fines, prosecution or deportation. This is neither new nor unexpected. Dubai’s authorities recently jailed and deported a British couple caught having sex on a public beach, and have sentenced another Briton, a mother of two, to prison for adultery. Occasional morality campaigns have led to suspected homosexuals and cross-dressers being pestered, and may have dented the emirate’s thriving prostitution trade."

So they rules aren't actually law yet, they're just a recommended code of conduct. And according to the AP, the rules are as follows:

"Dancing and playing loud music in public will be banned. Couples kissing, holding hands or hugging could face fines or detention.

Miniskirts and skimpy shorts would no longer be tolerated outside hotels and other private areas. Bikini wearers also could be chased off public beaches and only allowed on the fenced-off sands of luxury resorts.

Other no-nos: drinking alcohol outside licensed premises or swearing and displaying rude gestures in public..."

Again, there's nothing really that new there, is there? OK, so the hugging in public thing is a bit strict, but I haven't read anything that is a major departure from what has been the case before. And there's definitely nothing there about a ban on laughter.

So what do you guys think? What other rules have you heard about? Do you think the morality police are being too tough, or is it about time that Dubai tamed things down a bit?

My opinion? I find it odd that men are allowed to hold hands in public, but that men and women aren't. I think drinking in the street isn't something that should be encouraged, but I also think that people wearing bikinis shouldn't be hassled or ushered off public beaches. So it's a mixed result really.

Let me know what you think in the comments below..


  1. I was a little concerned when I read the travel warnings - makes you nervous...
    But we are going to visit anytime soon...

  2. That's a shame, Mr/Ms Anonymous. I'm surprised there are travel warnings against Dubai. It's perfectly safe here, you should definitely come and check it out for a week or two..

  3. I am not anonymous - sorry followed the link from tweet - it just Shell here is Oz - just too lazy to sign in...

  4. Common! is the 30th century!... nobody cares about your sexual behavior.

  5. very different and touchy emotional picture you have made.
    Dubai Desert Safari