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Wed 9 Jul 2008 11:35 AM

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63% oppose beach segregation plan

Proposal to divide up new $28.5mn beach in Abu Dhabi not backed by Arabian Business poll.

Plans to segregate a new beach in Abu Dhabi have not been supported by people taking part in an Arabian Business poll.

More than 63 percent oppose the proposal with the majority of these (36 percent) saying beach patrols should be introduced instead to monitor behaviour on the beach.

It was reported on Tuesday that Abu Dhabi’s new $28.5 million beach will be divided into two separate areas following complaints from families about groups of single men congregating there.

The beach, which has only been open for a week, will be divided into an area for families and women and another for single males by the end of the week.

But the plan has only won support from 27 percent of people responding to our online poll with just under another 10 percent suggesting the segregation should happen but only during certain hours of the day.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents were adamant that everyone should be able to go where they like when they visit the beach.

Details on how the 2km beach on the Corniche will be separated and the rules enforced are still under discussion.

Steve Hawkins 11 years ago

Can I make a suggestion please. No discrimination is meant but to provide more privacy to women and families, could the Municipality not introduce a small fee to use the beach, much the same as Jumeirah Beach Park in Dubai. This would provide funds for the upkeep of the beach and its facilities. Or alternatively have a fee paying section of the beach and a free section.

MOHAMMED KALEEMULLAH 11 years ago

There is always a tendency in the expat community to go too far without any consideration for the religion & culture and sensitivities of other people. So, I am for segregation plan, considering old habits die hard.

Abdul mateen 11 years ago

It's good to have separate beaches for men and women, as it would allow respected females to have freedom without obstacles and avoid nuisance of ugly elements.

expat lady 11 years ago

I live close by and have used this magnificent beach, and I have also been highly irritated by the unwelcome advances of 'single gentleman' - but perhaps employ a team of ladies and men, a visible beach patrol, lots of them - they would act as a deterrent. To deny ANYONE the use of ALL of this lovely new facility would be so very very sad. Imagine not being able to walk/jog/run along the entire length of the beach (if thats what you enjoy doing).

Paul 11 years ago

If, as accused, it is the expats who are the problem here, perhaps a better solution would be to segregate on nationality rather than gender. There should be a section reserved for Emiratis and their families, which obviously should be a better part of the beach in recognition of their status, and then a non-segregated section that is open to everyone. This would ensure that expats who object to sexual segregation, or wish to go to the beach with their friends, can use the beach as they would at home, while protecting the culture and sensitivities of the UAE and its people. I appreciate that the family is the cornerstone of UAE life but the fact remains that under the immigration system, many expats do not have the option of creating a family to the same extent and therefore more likely to do things as a group of friends of mixed genders, rather than as a family. There should also be a women only day as well, as they have in Jumeirah Beach Park, which should also continue to be segregated on nationality.

MOHAMMED KALEEMULLAH 11 years ago

Mr Paul email is not sincere but sarcastic, since it seems he didn't get the point, which I wanted to make. It was because my last comments were not published in full. Anyway, any commoner who visits the beach will find people who are flirting with the rules and exploiting the liberty? You can't justify obscene things in public owing to any reasons or restrictions, however in private life one can do as he is pleased with. I would like to sum up and request these comments to be published, 'a person who is not God fearing will do anything, anytime, anywhere, no matter what.'

Peter Peter 11 years ago

It is a shame that a few insensitive souls are creating ripples in the harmonious atmosphere. We have seen that the UAE is doing its best to make life for the expat. as normal and comfortable as possible. The freedom of worship and the freedom to enjoy certain food and drink considered unacceptable by local tradition are cases in point. While I do not condone inappropriate or indecent behavior in public , perhaps there is a strong case for having beaches and other pubic places like gardens having areas where people from the more liberal societies can feel free to enjoy the company of their friends and family without having to look over their shoulder to see if they are offending somebody.

Frank 11 years ago

Apartheid is dead. Is this the equivalent in the UAE?

Shahla Mohd 11 years ago

I welcome the authorities move to segregate beaches since it will give more peace of mind to mothers like me having two teenagers who love swimming in the sea and going to public parks. However, I am against segregation based on nationalities as one gentleman suggested. Mothers are the same irrespective of nationalities and each of us wants our children to be protected from the oggling single men who roam the beaches and public parks in groups. I am not accusing all are alike that but 95% are a nuisance to families. I am sympathetic to their loneliness but safety and honour of my family too is very important to me. The best solution would be to have Friday or Saturday (1 day) as family day through out UAE in parks as well as beaches. If Friday is family day in beaches then let Saturday be family day in parks. On the common day let those who are not bothered about the looks of single men could go to parks and beaches whether male or female. This way the interests of all could be protected.

Paul 11 years ago

Mr. Mohammed, I'm sorry if you thought my comments were sarcastic. I also don't agree with your statement that 'a person who is not God fearing will do anything, anytime, anywhere, no matter what.' I am not God-fearing (unsurprisingly, I'm an atheist) and yet for some reason I don't think it appropriate to indulge in lewd behaviour on a beach. All I am saying is that if it is the locals who have a problem with the behaviour of the expats here, then it makes sense to keep us apart. By all means, have standards such as no topless bathing and the like. But segregation of the sexes is something that is very alien to most expats in the UAE, and asking us to surrender things like that are tantamount to Western countries forbidding their Muslim inhabitants from following their cultural beliefs. Segregating nationals from expats and then having one gender segregated day pleases everyone. It ensures that the people of this country never have to worry about being 'oggled' by gangs of men, it keeps the expats happy because they can continue according to their culture without damaging the local culture, and then the gender segregated day ensures that all women, regardless of nationality, are safe.