Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Concerned about too many uncovered
faces, elbows and knees, the women of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have
launched a campaign against Western clothing. The initiative was proposed by
the "One of us" association and aims to "teach" the
tourists to respect local Islamic traditions concerning clothing.
Najla Al-Mahmoud, a Qatari, said that during the summer it is
scandalous to see foreign women exposing bare shoulders and knees, who don't
respect the local culture based on sharia. "We are offended by this
behavior", she says, "many tourists who come to our country do not
know our customs and we are convinced that they will welcome our initiative. We
only want to educate them."
In the Emirates, the campaign was launched by two women,
Hanan al-Rayes and Asma al-Muhairi, who on their twitter accounts have
expressed their disgust towards foreigners, who tour the country in inadequate
clothing. "Like it or not", reads one of their slogans posted on the
social network, "this country has its own culture that must be protected
and respected by its own people."
Women residing in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are
obliged by law to wear the "abaya", a dark mantle that covers almost
the entire body. For men there is instead the "kandura", a white robe
that leaves only their wrists and ankles uncovered.
Hamad al-Rahoumi, a member of the Federal Council of the UAE,
said that many tourists, even if they know the local traditions, choose not to
respect them. According to the politician, the campaign is not sufficient to
impose the rules on clothing. He also proposes to extend to foreigners the
dress code that applies to residents. "Its application", he says, "serves
as a deterrent. We shall only enforce it, but without imposing penalties or
On the Internet, hundreds of people have applauded the
campaign in defense of a dress code in line with sharia. But there have been
several criticisms. For some, the government should not waste time teaching
Westerns how to dress. The authorities should undertake to enforce laws that
save lives, such as the ban on smoking in public places, often ignored, and the
requirement to wear seat belts.