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Wed 28 May 2014 10:43 AM

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Qatari campaign warns foreigners to dress modestly

Leaflet, which warns leggings are not pants & to not wear swimwear at public beaches, has attracted international headlines ahead of Qatar’s World Cup

Qatari campaign warns foreigners to dress modestly

A group of Qatari women has launched a campaign warning foreigners to dress modestly, including not wearing swimwear at public beaches or leggings.

The “Reflect Your Respect” campaigners say from June 20 they will handout leaflets with diagrams of people covered up from their shoulders to knees to remind visitors and expats of the country’s conservative Islamic law.

“If you are in Qatar, you are one of us. Help us preserve Qatar’s culture and values, please dress modestly in public places,” their message, already revealed on social media, says.

It defines modest as covering from the shoulders to the knees and declares “leggings are not pants”.

The campaigners claim the points are “principles” within “the global tourism ethics law”.

The campaign has made international headlines, as the Gulf state prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

In addition, about 80 percent of Qatar’s population are expats, while in January, Qatar Tourism Authority launched a new tourism plan including a goal to increase visitor numbers from 1 million to 7 million by 2030.

But complaints of a “cultural invasion” have led to the establishing of the latest leaflet campaign.

Although the campaign has not been endorsed by the authority, “obscene” dress can lead to a jail term of up to six months under Qatari law.

The new Hamad International Airport, which opened last month, also advises women visiting the country to dress “modestly” and men not to be shirtless in public, along with warnings that public displays of affection and drinking alcohol outside of hotels is banned.

Meanwhile, employees at Qatar Foundation, a government body, were last week sent a reminder to dress in a way that reflects a “consistent, professional and respectful image”, according to Doha News.

Tight, revealing and transparent clothing, denim or potentially offensive logos, slogans or pictures are all considered inappropriate, staff were advised.

Extremes in hairstyles and colour also “should be avoided”, and family and friends visiting a QF office also must adhere to the policy.

Those whose clothing does not meet the required standards could be subject to disciplinary action, staff were warned.

John Harte 5 years ago

Well it is their country, so Qataris are entitled to lay down the rules of what is or isn't acceptable dress, just so long as the dress rules are consistent for everyone. However, perhaps Gulf visitors to the West could reflect this demand for cultural respect by not hiding faces, and therefore one's identity, which is alien to Western culture and will elicit a hostile response. If your religious rules do not allow this, then visit a country that is more amenable.

agarez 5 years ago

well said, John. I am sure lots of people have same thought. If no swimwear to be worn at the beach, well they might as well close up shop. The only tourists they will get will be those who can't make it to Dubai - not a lot. The target is like other things and policies in Qatar, disconnected from reality.

hypocrisy 101 5 years ago

I totally agree John. It's funny (sad) that they are all offended with how expats dress and conduct themselves in their country. But every holiday they rush to the very same expats countries, where the behavior and customs would be considered 10x worse!
I sincerely hope this group of Qatari women only travel in the gulf (not including UAE, Bahrain and Oman of course) because I wouldn't want them to be offended by a bare shoulder or knee.

Samir 5 years ago

This is simple its called on Abaya and covers all the offensive bodyparts and curvy shapes.

Samir 5 years ago

The Qatar foundations advice to dress in a “consistent, pro fessional and respectful image” is vauge and left to a matter of opinion. When a group of 20 male professionals arrive for the world cup and dress like maids, this is seen as a bit of harmless fun.

The Avenger 5 years ago

Another push at something which has zero bearing or impact on life in Qatar. Firstly there's not much of a problem , it's not as though people are wandering around the Malls or Souks in swim wear and secondly it's a control measure , nothing more nothing less .
The Qatari's would be better versed into sorting the issues out that matter to their country , like maybe the deaths on the road . In may there was 29 deaths by RTA and 130,000 traffic violations which 2,000 of those were for jumping red lights.
No please correct me if i'm wrong but i think those figures which are from the MOI are a lot more concerning than a pair of leggings or a bra strap in Cost Coffee.
Get the basics right and the rest will follow , respect is earned , it's not a right.

Alex 5 years ago

I love how it seems every country on earth seems to have their groups of busy-bodies with nothing better to do than worry about what other people are doing.

OM Heleno 5 years ago

agreed 100% with your post John Harte.

Steve 5 years ago

"If you are in Qatar, you are one of us." That's such a welcoming statement.
But you need to explain this in more detail to the construction worker, who is not allowed to visit the malls on weekends. You should explain how you mean this to the maid, who carries your child through the super market, while pushing the heavy trolley. And explain it to your driver living in the shag in your garden.

chalky6766 5 years ago

Its a very good idea to do this, creating awareness ref cultural sensitivities saves a great deal of misunderstanding. Its always better to be prepared and to understand different cultures and the restrictions surrounding those cultures when it comes to modesty. I see nothing wrong with this whatsoever I see it more as preventative ref future tourist build up as Qatar is nowhere near Dubai at present however I don't think that's really an issue for them as they don't seem to want to emulate Dubai.