Jumeirah issues etiquette guide for Ramadan tourists

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Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1, with all Muslim adults expected to observe a fasting period during daylight hours

Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1, with all Muslim adults expected to observe a fasting period during daylight hours

Jumeirah Group, operators of the iconic Burj al Arab hotel, said Sunday it plans to issue an etiquette guide to tourists visiting its hotels during Ramadan.

Tourists will receive guidelines outlining rules such as no eating or drinking in public between sunrise and sunset, in keeping with the laws of the UAE, the company said.

“Our general managers are placing letters in guests’ rooms, informing them about Ramadan etiquette,” a Jumeirah spokesperson told Arabian Business.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts also plans to prep guests visiting the Gulf states during the Holy month, said Christian Muhr, general manager of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah.

“We verbally inform guests during check-in and run them through the dos and don’ts and the general changes in local life during the Holy month,” he said.

 “The welcome letter that we place in every room also provides the same information, so that guests can use it as a ready reckoner during their stay.”

Muhr said it had also given training to its staff “to make sure that the correct information regarding the Holy month is relayed to all our guests, should they approach them.”

The Holy Month of Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1, with all Muslim adults expected to observe a fasting period during daylight hours.

Authorities in Dubai earlier this month warned of strict penalties for those caught eating in public between sunrise and sunset. Offenders can expect one warning before they risk arrest and a fine of up to AED2,000, said Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department.

Dubai has received high-profile coverage in the British press in recent years, following a spate of arrests relating to crimes such as culturally inappropriate behaviour. Partly to blame may be a poor understanding of local laws, such as the consumption of alcohol without a licence.

The British Embassy said in 2009 that Brits were more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world.

While guests visiting the Gulf during Ramadan are required to adhere to related laws during their stay, travel agents are not obliged to give tourists information on local laws.

A spokesperson for the American Society of Travel Agents said tourists travelling to the Middle East during Ramadan would not be advised of local etiquette during the Holy month.

Leo Fewtrell, general manager of Dubai Travel & Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) said local hotels were doing enough to inform guests of the rules during Ramadan.

“I honestly think they do [enough to inform guests]… I don’t think anyone coming out here not knowing about Ramadan has any excuse,” Fewtrell said.

“No hotel wants any poor report in the foreign press of its guests getting into trouble.”

A British expatriate was last week fined AED3,000 by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours for insulting Ramadan in a status update on Facebook.

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Posted by: Fatima

There is nothing in the Qur'an or Sunnah that states that a Muslim or non-Muslim cannot eat in public during Ramadan. So why these restrictions in the UAE? One would think that a devout person could easily withstand the temptation of seeing other people eat or drink. True religious devotion is when people do something for God of their own free will, not because it's compulsory.

Posted by: Sara

Mr. Charles. I am a Muslim. There is no such thing in Islam as not allowing others to drink or eat in front of you. Otherwise what would be the point in fasting? How can you think you're doing a good job if you don't really have anything to hold back from? Turkey is considered a Muslim country. But even during the hours when Muslims fast, restaurants are open and people are eating. People of other faiths such as Christianity don't need to fast. Why should they not eat in public? I'm not a baby. If I'm fasting for God then a person eating in front of me, will not affect me in the slightest. If one member of the family is not fasting in my house (for whatever reason), then he/she eats very freely in front of everyone else that is fasting. And so far, no one has jumped up and snatched the burger off their hand and ate it because they couldn't control themselves. Public or not public, there is no such thing in Islam as not allowing people to eat in public during fasting time. It's juvenile

Posted by: Abbas

Well written Sara...

Agree with you completely

Posted by: Bushra

The tolerance of the UAE must not be tested. The law is clear and simple, do not hog and drink in PUBLIC. Everyone must respect the law esp. the unruly Brits who think they are above the laws of the land.

Posted by: Grant Holt

What has Jumeirah's guide got to do with the Brits? There is no need for such comments, as the guide makes no referrence to nationality.

The law is the law and that should be respected by all, no matter what nationality or religion.

However, I think youll find hotels like Jumeirah will be open for business, though albeit more reserved, as the tourist money is what keeps Dubai going.

Why also do you think they serve alcohol in the first instance? Without that tax revenue Dubai wouldnt be able to fund many different projects of benefit to the state or employ a large numer of people.

Finally, I suggest you read Sara's well thought out post.

Ramadan kareem to all.

Posted by: Diabetic

What about people with medical needs like a Type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetic?Such patients may need to eat food at any time given the fact that they are always vulnerable to hypoglycaemia.If the sugars go down, then there is a life threatening risk of slipping into a coma or epilepsy attacks due to onset of severe hypoglycaemia.If untreated, deat cannot be ruled out!These humanitarian needs ought to be considered and not ignored..that is my plea.

Posted by: Yaqoub

Mr. Samir is correct. There is nothing in the Qur'an or Sunnah that states that a Muslim or non-Muslim cannot eat in public during Ramadan. As a Muslim, who lived in Saudi Arabia for twelve years, I have always found this rule offensive. It makes Muslims look like we are weak and easily tempted. As Samir said, how about the other days we fast during the year?

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