May 30 2014
Women planning to go to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, better bring their summer burqas, it will be 120 degrees. Homosexuals are advised not to come at all.
The Australian FOR those of you wondering whether it’s acceptable to wear leggings without tunic tops over them, Qatar has an answer: “leggings are not pants”. The Arab emirate has launched a social media campaign to educate Western tourists on appropriate clothing ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which is likely to bring an influx of badly-dressed visitors to the state.
Campaign group “Reflect your Respect” has created a graphic to share on Instagram and Twitter showing what sort of outfits are considered immodest in the Islamic country.
The advert, also being handed out in leaflet form at Qatari airports, reads: “If you are in Qatar, you are one of us. Help us preserve Qatar’s culture and values, please dress modestly in public places.” The words are printed alongside pictures of four stick figures wearing unsuitable outfits, each with a cross underneath.
Three are women — one in a sundress, another in shorts and a singlet and a third wearing leggings and a T-shirt, with a muffin-top of bare midriff clearly visible. The fourth figure is a man in shorts and a singlet. The advert clarifies that “modesty” means being covered from shoulders to knees, and that “leggings are not pants”.
It is part of the Qatari Islamic Culture Centre’s efforts to educate foreigners on local customs and practices.
Nasser Al Maliki, Chief of Public Relations in Fanar, told Gulf News: “The amount of immodest clothing is growing in public places, especially shopping malls. Such foreigner behaviour conflicts with our traditions. We do not want our kids to be exposed to it or learn from it, and that’s why we will start this campaign.”
The Arab state also forbids residents and visitors from uttering “indecent phrases”, displaying affection in public, drinking alcohol and taking photos of people they do not know. Any behaviour considered obscene under Sharia law — including homosexuality — is punishable with a fine and up to six months in prison.
Many tourists have previously fallen foul of Islamic law in Muslim countries. One British couple were arrested for kissing in a Dubai restaurant in 2009, while another pair were sentenced to jail for having sex on the beach. Other visitors have been imprisoned for exchanging steamy text messages or drinking.
The Islamic Culture Centre launched a similar campaign in 2012 under the name “One of Us”, but it was withdrawn after expats said it made them feel excluded, according to Doha News.
And the latest campaign has drawn a mixed reaction from observers. Some Twitter users called it an “excellent project which everyone should support” and said “expats should respect local tradition”. But others responded by claiming that Muslims did not “respect local traditions in Europe”.
Several even suggested that the campaign could be misused in Western countries to discriminate against Muslims and justify a ban on traditional niqabs and hijabs.
The group plan to hand out chocolates, flowers and shawls along with their information, in the hope of engaging with tourists in a positive manner.