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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Campaign for ‘modest dress’ relaunches in malls and public spaces

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Photos by Chantelle D’mello and Reflect your Respect on Twitter

With reporting from Riham Sheble

The relaunch of a grassroots campaign that aims to encourage expats and tourists to dress modestly kicked off on Friday afternoon at malls and public spaces around Doha.

Spearheaded by the Qatar Center for Voluntary Activities, the Qatari Women Association and Dar Al Sharq, the “Reflect your Respect” campaign was publicized at four malls – Villaggio, Lagoona, Landmark, and Ezdan – as well as at Souq Waqif and Aspire Park.

Leaflets entitled “Welcome to Qatar” were handed out by volunteers at the five locations, urging people to cover their shoulders, knees and midriffs, as part of a drive that was previously called “One of Us” when it began in 2012.

In Aspire Park, groups of Qatari women accompanied by children wearing t-shirts bearing the campaign logo released balloons and wandered around the park, handing leaflets and an accompanying rose to any expats they saw in the area.

Meanwhile, at Villaggio, male volunteers handed out leaflets to passersby and encouraged them to write down their thoughts in a comments book, and in Landmark, cupcakes, chocolates and flowers were handed out along with the leaflets.

Leaflets

Leaflets being given out yesterday called for expats to help the group “preserve Qatar’s culture and values” by dressing modestly in public places.

Written in both Arabic and English, the leaflet also cited Qatari law as the basis for the campaign.

It included two legal references – the first to Article 57 of the Qatari Constitution, which states that “abiding by public order and morality, observing national traditions and established customs (are) dut(ies) of all who reside in the State of Qatar or enter its territory.”

The other reference was to the country’s penal code, citing a punishment of six months and a fine not exceeding QR3,000 for those judged to be making gestures, reciting songs, uttering indecent phrases or carrying out obscene acts in or near public places.

However, there appears to be no specific element of the penal code that targets dress code in Qatar, although many malls and parks have their own clothing rules, which are enforced by private security guards.

The leaflet also supplies a telephone number for people to call to report “cases of violation.”

When called by Doha News, the respondent identified the line as the Preventive Security Department of the Ministry of Interior.

The member of staff who answered the telephone was unable to provide more information about what action might be taken if a dress code issue was reported.

Campaign video

Reflect your Respect has also published a campaign video on YouTube. The film, directed by Abdullah Al-Ansari, shows an expat mother, wearing a long pair of pants and what appears to be a sleeveless sports top, playing with her child in Aspire Park.

It then shows a Qatari mother and child approaching the woman, and handing the expat a leaflet explaining the campaign’s dress code.

The expat woman expresses surprise, and is then seen in various scenes around the city wearing clothing that covers her legs and arms completely – a marked difference from the guidelines given in previous statements from Reflect your Respect spokespeople, which have only called for shoulders and knees to be covered.

According to Mohammed Al-Horr, a volunteer at Villaggio, reception to the campaign has been “largely positive” so far. Speaking to Doha News, he said:

“We launched on Instagram and Twitter a month ago, using the #ReflectYourRespect hashtag, and we found that people were active, friendly, and started helping out.”

Another Villaggio volunteer, Abdullah Al-Qahtani, added that that the group approached more than 100 people in the mall yesterday who they felt weren’t dressed modestly. He said:

“The first step is establishing a relationship with the public in a friendly manner and to inform them of what the law states. We saw over 100 – 200 people in Villaggio who weren’t dressed appropriately, and we handed all of them leaflets.”

Al-Qahtani told us that one woman, who was wearing what he described as a “nightdress,” left the mall immediately to change upon receiving the leaflet.

Comments left by passersby in the book displayed, mostly in Arabic, congratulated the team on their efforts, according to Al-Horr.

However, some of the expats who’d been approached by campaign volunteers expressed mixed opinions.

Speaking to Doha News, an Indian expat who preferred to remain anonymous said:

“Since the large majority of the population in Qatar is expats, and seeing as Qatar hopes to host the World Cup, which will bring in an influx of foreigners, they should be more understanding of other cultures. The dress code that they are trying to implement in an effort to protect their culture and traditions is a little too harsh, and will only offend people.”

Another, a young Egyptian expatriate, also expressed her indignation.

“It’s hot in Qatar. Sometimes we wear tank tops to deal with the heat, but we wear cardigans on top of that. Even that doesn’t seem to be acceptable anymore.”

Meanwhile, some responses to the group’s YouTube video, which was published on Thursday, have been angry, arguing that Qatari women visiting Europe should be asked to wear typical European dress in response.

Nasser Al Emadi replied:

“It’s up to you, you can do it in London. However, don’t deal with this campaign as racism action toward residents and visitors in Qatar. The campaign is only a civilized way to express what we believe, and its our rights to save our culture from indecent behaviours of our perspective.”

In response to criticism, campaign volunteer Al-Horr told Doha News:

“A citizen is a citizen. If I went to the UK, I would not have the same benefits or protection as the citizens. In the UK, they wouldn’t tell me to abide to their dress code, because it would involve me removing my thobe. But here, we’re asking people to add on, not to remove.

And it’s not about religion. It’s not about how the country respects its religion. It’s about how people respect the country.”

Next steps

According to the men manning the Villaggio booth, leaflets and t-shirts were only passed out for the launch yesterday. After that, the direction the campaign takes will depend on public support, they said.

Organizers plan to establish programs, gain endorsements from local celebrities and influencers, and create skits and plays to further the campaign goals.

Did you take part yesterday, or were you approached by the group? Thoughts?

250 COMMENTS

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Moizuddin Mohammed
Moizuddin Mohammed
6 years ago

Great Idea!!!

samesamebutdifferent
samesamebutdifferent
6 years ago

The likes of the English Defence League and the French political far-right have a dress campaign – banning face covering Islamic dress.

Do you think that is a “great idea!!!” ?

You can’t have it both ways.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Yes, it is a great idea to let the people know what modesty is…… Coming back to your question, I dont know what have u understood about this campaign and what made u to add the face covering subject in this matter. As far as I know covering of face is an option for a woment but not mandatory in Islam.

Moizuddin Mohammed
Moizuddin Mohammed
6 years ago

According to the Bible, if a women doesn’t cover head, shave her head! No religion teaches us to leave the women on the road and let her wear and do whatever she wants to…. Okay. What you do is don’t follow the country, but follow what religion says! My Friend, If christian is a name of a person who follows the teaching of Jesus (pbuh), we Muslims more christian than the christian as we love, respect and follow his teachings…..

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

I’m no expert, but I believe your opening statement only applies when a woman is in church, or offering prayer?

Moizuddin Mohammed
Moizuddin Mohammed
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

Read the real Bible first then talk

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

1 Corinthians 11:2-16

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

I reckon that covers it – excuse the pun!

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Again, not claiming expertise, but…
Christian – Holy Trinity – Resurrection
I believe Muslims don’t accept either of those – so difficult to be ‘more’ Christian I’d say?
I’ll leave any Holy Book study to your good self, I have my own opinions on morality, without the requirement for religious study

Doc
Doc
6 years ago

The bible also says men with long hair are a disgrace though that’s been conveniently forgotten……..

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  Doc

The lobster thermidor is out the window too!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Seriously I know it’s hot out there in the summer but don’t they have anything better to do?

I see this as the same as France banning full face veils, wrong. It is freedom of choice and who are they to be the moral judge of others.

Mili
Mili
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I think when people come over here, they should be well aware that this a conservative country and the least thing to do is respect the culture. Who are you to come here and ask us to make everything your way.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  Mili

Who are these guys to tell anyone what to do? If the government wants to appoint a body to do such things, so be it. Self-appointed morality police? Who do they speak for? What is their agenda?

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Mili

It is possible to respect it without agreeing with it.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Mili

I’m not asking for them to change, I am just asking for them to leave me alone and not to appoint themselves as moral guardians for all. As far as I am concerned they have no authority to push their relgious agenda on others.
Muslims who have more than one wife who visit europe where bigamy is illegal, do not get arrested at the airport, so why invite us to come and do a job and then leave, (of course because we can never be citizens) and then also tell us how to behave and how to dress? Ludicrous.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It is Qatar, such intolerance is part of the fabric of society, do you really expect more? These are merely private individuals expressing their interpretation of their culture on others, it is not official and therefore carries little meaning.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

True, but it is being presented as official. The flier and leaflets were even being passed out at the airport.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

If it is being passed out at the airport then it has their tacit support. If it does not then they would ask the flier distributors to desist or leave.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago

Ivan, I agree that this not an official campaign, but when people who are unfamiliar with the country hear about ‘laws’, phone numbers to report people etc. people start to feel ‘intimidated’. My wife, who is a very non-confrontational person, always tries to dress appropriately but is worried about someone approaching her and complaining. Because these individuals are trying to enforce their personal definition of ‘modesty’, and no one in authority is challenging it, a lot of people are feeling very uncomfortable.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

A very good point that I had not considered, thank you. Anyone there have a feeling of which organization or individual is behind this initiative?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

Very true, it’s a sexist campaign and the same as Muslim women wearing abayas and hijabs in Europe receiving verbal abuse because of how they are dressed. Both very wrong. However the people pushing this religious campaign fail to see that.

So_Real
So_Real
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

When I moved here 2 years ago I took pains to find out what was considered OK in terms of women’s clothing and was told by many people/sources that in Qatar knees OR shoulders uncovered was OK (but not both) but to be more covered on Fridays and completely covered during Ramadan.

I have happily followed this guidance as I do not want to cause offense or upset (especially to local women) or attract unwanted male attention. Now I’m told by this campaign that I have not been modest enough!

This campaign may be well intentioned by a group of people who see their country changing beyond recognition but the tactics used (reference to indecency laws and phone numbers to report people) will only distress those like me and Masbro’s wife who want to be, and believed they had been, considerate and were dressing appropriately, and further alienate those who don’t care at all.

One Friday I was complimented on my clothing by a local woman in the supermarket. THAT made me feel happy, that I was doing the right thing. Perhaps a positive campaign along those lines would bear more fruit?
I would also be interested to know from any Qataris on this forum whether my original guidance was correct?

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Respect…ok…respect my right to live when I drive on your road….respect human rights of workers and maids…respect…yeah right.. its a 2 way street….

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Couldn’t agree more.

I wish these individuals would put forth as much effort to call everyone’s attention to the abuses of laborers’ rights (that are in violation of ACTUAL Qatari laws). Let’s see some of those pamphlets and posters and Qataris passing them out. And how about a guest book for everyone who has a maid or employee to sign and pledge that they will treat that person ethically.

The muffin top on the third women in the poster is hysterical.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

You beat me to the muffin top comment! Glad I wasn’t the only one to notice that. I was going to applaud the realism in the diagrams, but then remembered that the campaign is aimed at expats, not locals.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

By the way yes I do wear long pants in public etc, as 2 wrongs don’t make a right, i just wish respect was 2 way though…

Corali Carvalho
Corali Carvalho
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Totally agree!

Bassel
Bassel
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

These are the first issues that popped up in my head when I first read this article. This dress code issue should be the last on their list

pinoy82
pinoy82
6 years ago
Reply to  Bassel

true, there are more far more important (like the sponsorship system)..

Martin
Martin
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Maybe whilst in Villaggio the concerned citizens could encourage some respect for our dead children by asking those found guilty to respect the law and come to court rather than staying out the country or managing the mall.
Or is how you appear more important than justice to Qatar

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Martin

Exactly, priorities and values seem askew.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Priorities and values are not only askew, but they are conflicting!! What does the Qatar Tourism Authority think of this little “respect” campaign (considering 3 months ago QTA said that the national strategy was to have tourism rise to 7.4 million visitors per year in 2030 (versus the current 1.2 million) and that their aim is to “woo” people from OUTSIDE the GCC???

The QTA plan will cost $40-45 BILLION (with a “B”) so I would be curious to know how they feel about a campaign directed at expats and tourists. If I were an investor, I would be VERY concerned about my ROI, especially when tourism is such a feedback-related industry (with sites like trip-advisor, etc).

Qatar needs to figure out what it wants to be, but at the moment, I am exhausted with the bi-polar personality!!

https://dohanews.co/qatar-aims-to-attract-7-4-million-annual-visitors-by-2030/

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

I’m not schizophrenic – I’m bleedin’ Quadraphenic
-Peter Townsend

Desert Rose
Desert Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Are you saying Qatari’s should not make up the rules to suit their own country? Would you mind too much if a guest comes into your house and does what ever they please without any regards for your loved ones? Or your culture, religious beliefs etc… why can’t Qatari’s define what the conditions of entry to their OWN country should be?

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Rose

Sure they can do that, no problem. My point is that if it is a national objective of Qatar to increase its tourism to 7.4 million visitors, then having an intolerance to foreigners’ cultures and lifestyles is a behavior going against that objective, not going towards it. Qatar can define whatever it is that Qatar wants to be, but at the moment these objectives are conflicting with each other, which sadly will destine Qatar to not meet its tourism objective after spending billions in an attempt to get it.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

punishment of six months and a fine not exceeding QR3000 for those judged making gestures, reciting songs, uttering indecent phrases or carrying out obscene acts in or near public places

what?! for reciting songs?!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Hey you get 15 years for reciting a poem

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

if there justin beiber songs i can get behind that law

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

I’m with you there

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago

One of the very few times vigilantism is justified.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

If we can chuck in Miley Cirus as well you have a deal….

dohadude
dohadude
6 years ago

Originally, I thought the effort was a reaction by some locals who feel they’re being overtaken in their own country and I ‘got it’. I don’t go out wearing anything they’re against so I thought no big deal. Then a friend who works in West Bay came over with the flyer that had been handed out at his office. According to him, not only was a poster in the building lobby, but the campaign is also against showing tattoos and men cannot have earrings.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

Well yes, technically tattoos aren’t part of the religion, and nor are earrings on men. And for that matter there would be a school of thought that says women can’t wear slacks, or other garments that approximate men’s clothing. The trouble with a group of volunteers running a campaign is that no one is really sure who is in charge, and what it actually is that they specifically want. Each volunteer will be imagining his/her own version of what is ‘appropriate’ and ‘modest’.

And that is exactly why the government isn’t touching any of this with a 40 foot pole.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Exactly

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  dohadude

Fine which govt department is going to pay for the removal of my tatts, please, as I want some gone so I can update?

Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago

Reflect your respect for road laws, human rights, the environment, educators, other nationalities, judicial justice, building codes, family, reasonable wages or holiday entitlement and they may get some in return. As we are taught from a young age respect works both ways.

Corali Carvalho
Corali Carvalho
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

I agree!

Mili
Mili
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

It is not like you’re forced to live here. That’s all your opinion how these thing should settled, from your OWN culture and sometimes made u fantasies.
Respect for the road laws: I think even Qatari want that since, a lot of foreigners even ‘westerns’ have absolutely no respect to anyone else because they came from ‘superior’ country.
Reasonable wages: I think the wages are reasonable enough that you’re here.

aerofoiler
aerofoiler
6 years ago
Reply to  Mili

https://dohanews.co/ministry-stats-show-average-qatari-household-earns-qr72000-monthly/

Tell me another country where the differentiating gap between
citizens and expats is so wide?

If expats are not forced to live here doesn’t mean that they can
be treated in any way the locals consider okay.

hohum
hohum
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

Ditto

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

If only that they could get themselves so indignant about the way workers are treated in their country. Seems a naked elbow if much more offensive than the suffering of human beings.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

Same could be said for some countries who criticize the laborers situation here while they vote into office people who lie about other countries possessing WMDs and then invade those countries. Resulting in the deaths of 100,000s of people!

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Whole different topic. But anyway, more people have been killed in Iraq in Muslim on Muslim killing, than anything the Americans and their allies did, and by the way, more Iraqi’s were killed under Saddam than anything the Americans and their allies did. Also I don’t remember Bush/Blair getting 100% of the vote, they certainly didn’t get mine. But anyway lets not worry about all that, we can carry on abusing labourers, and funding ISIS in Iraq, because the Americans invaded Iraq 10 years ago. Just as long as those pesky expats cover up the knees everything will be ok.

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

I think you will find a million people marched in London against that invasion. Can you show me two Qataris out protesting about labour rights, because I can see about four Qatari’s in the headline photo protesting about covering up your shoulders

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

“Whole different topic”
isnt a dress code and workers rights to completely different topics as well?

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

I was comparing the energy they seem to summon up about one Qatari related issue, but not another Qatari related issue. The war in Iraq is related to neither issue nor even related to Qatar.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

its common for nations to have very pressing concerns yet they spend time and energy on other useless stuff. i remember when america was involved in several wars, economic issues, high crime rates and yet the biggest issue was what if two dudes wana get married.
in this respect were no different
, although i will add why not try multi tasking and handle both?

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

I agree. I see no Qataris handing out flyers about workers rights, if you walk do the high street in my home town you will be offered countless flyers ranging from workers rights, religious issues, removing the governement, stopping a new building being made, stopping an old building being destroyed, stopping child labour being exploited abroad, helping starving children in Africa, taking the world cup away from Qatar.

Ok, i made the last one up. 😉

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

“I agree. I see no Qataris handing out flyers about workers rights”
no but we do pay our zikah (chairty) to help them out, many people have open weddings were litterally everyone is invited (the mens wedding) so workers can come and get free food, or have iftar’s in ramadan for them or just give them money which i think is more helpful than passing out a flyer with info everyone already knows.

personally i hate people that pass out flyers and stuff in malls regardless of the cause mainly cus i just find them annoying. when im in the mall i dont wana save the dolphins, i dont wana know how your religion wt ever it is is gona help me find happiness, i dont wana plant a tree, i just wana be left alone to buy my cheap primark socks in peace

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago

Now there is something that we can both agree on! Nice one.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

America is generally always multitasking. What gets media attention there and here, unfortunately has more to do with what stories get more viewers (this increases the charges for advertising rates). The government in America is one of consensus, but also of populism. Sometimes that can mean officials going off on things they feel their constituents are looking for or things they personally endorse. Like the current mess with the US Senate spending so much time on trying to get a Football team to change its name. We are often presented with distractions by the government. However, the American people are generally a culture of acceptance and tolerance, despite the media refrain. How this relates to the desire of some Qataris to not be offended by the way in which a minority of expats dress is an entirely different story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people wanting to share their beliefs with others. Although it would be better if done in a less targeted way, as it makes people feel singled out as if they are being shamed. So perhaps criticism is best left to the approach rather than the motivation? And lets keep the actions of our respective governments out of this conversation, as they don’t really reflect the opinions or beliefs of all the residents of a particular country and the stories that make it into the media are more designed to gain readers/viewers than express a singular system of beliefs. Should Qataris be handing out fliers about workers rights or protesting the system, even that is separate issue. In this case it is being used as some idea of creating balance to an argument from the other side of this. As the comments seem to represent, it seems that people are offended by this campaign in general, so maybe a different approach might be used to communicate the same message?

Ahmed A
Ahmed A
6 years ago

I admire your patience in replying to all these comments. Its frustrating just reading it. A simple campaign about modesty turns into labour rights, kafala, crazy drivers, etc. But keep in mind invading a country taking apart their security forces and to watch the ensuing chaos unfold (because you know we already withdrew) is off topic.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

Good point. It might be if the campaign didn’t carry the ridiculous slogan “reflect your respect” and it was not posing as an official campaign.

If it was simply: Private Qatari group petitions government for a more modest dress code, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. As many critics have stated here, they already dress modestly and have no objection to conforming to social norms. It’s the way the message is being delivered that causes agitation and ridicule.

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Or indeed, ‘remove’ those people from office, largely for the very reason you point out.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago

‘If I went to the UK, I would not have the same protection as the citizens’. The point is you would, and if a a group of locals approached you with leaflets and said that you were dressed ‘inappropriateley’ the Police would remove the locals not you.
I don’t agree with this campaign, but I can understand the sentiment behind it. Unfortunately it will only serve to divide the expat and local communities even more and the threat of legal action is nothing more than ‘bullying’ tactics by people who are trying to impose their narrow definition of ‘modesty’.
Qatar as a country has a vision and to make that vision in reality things have to change. Have any of these campaigners been watching the World Cup coverage? If they have they will have seen the dress and behaviour of the fans. If you believe that all of these people are going to comply with your narrow view of ‘modesty’ you are very much mistaken and I suggest you petion your government to withdraw from the hosting of 2022 now.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

Maybe when it’s time for the world cup, assuming it takes place here, each arriving fan should be handed a suitcase full of appropriate clothing at the airport. I’m starting to wonder who actually wants the world cup here, doesn’t seem that the locals do, unless they want some fictional version of the world cup, and they’ll be sorely disappointed when they realize that none of the arriving fans are taking notice of these customs, either that or you’ll have empty seats, which would be more of the same really

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Let’s acknowledge the facts, it’s not like the locals had a say on whether Qatar should host 2022 or not.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

As I recall, in the case of the young Qatari Mohammad Al Majid who was murdered / killed by a British hooligan, the police were in fact called by the restaurant owner a few hours before the tragedy, the police promised to do something about it, and then they didn’t.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Interesting that you chose something that happened six years ago. None of the reports that I have read suggest that the Police were directly involved prior to the unfortunate murder of this young man but the killer was caught and is currently in jail. I think that you will find that the UK has changed a lot since in six years and the Police response to any incident that is racially motivated is to treat it very seriously. You may have heard of the Stephen Lawrence case where a young British black man was murdered which was a great catalyst for change.
You may want to look up Anjem Choudray on google. He is a preacher who is campaigning for Sharia law in the UK. Although his views are very unpopular in the U.K he has the right to express them and the British Police are there to ensure that he is free to express that right whenever he has a rally.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

I did a Google search a while back, and came across an article where the Turkish shop owner said that he stopped a police car that passed by some 1-2 hours before the incident and asked them to keep an eye on the situation. They said they would, but then….

Yes, people are free to express themselves in the UK, no argument on that. However, again, I direct your attention to a well known group in the UK who have gone as far as to enter mosques while wearing their shoes and asking the people their to convert to Christianity! Compare that to the reflect your respect group, and maybe you’ll see that things are not so bad here!

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Which group is this? I have never heard of a radical Christian group in UK that does this, and I would condemn such actions completely.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Thanks for that information. These guys are not Christians, just a sorry group of right wing idiots who have almost zero support. You will see the name Choudary also mentioned in this article and this is what happens when the moderate ‘silent majority’ become invisible and it is just the extremes that are heard.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

And the mall guys are kindred spirits of the folks above.

Doc
Doc
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

These people are not Christians they are the dregs of UK society. It is the 1st and only facebook page I have been banned from for correcting their views, The usual ‘We couldn’t do this in their country’ when the furthest they have travelled is Margate. – They represent nothing for most Brits and most of us are ashamed of them. Ignorant, racist and brain dead describes about 99.9% of them.

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

what is the different between this and standing in a mall telling people they are dressed in an offensive way. these people are a minority in the UK and are mocked and disliked by the majority. while we think they are unreasonable and a bad example of who British people are, you are defending yours!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I think you’ll find that people who do that in the UK are generally considered nut jobs.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I read about a case in the UK yesterday where 3 individuals threw bacon inside a mosque and put bacon on the doors. One got 12 months, another 10 months and I can’t remember what the last person got.

Although I think the act is very disrespectful I believe prison is over the top. I think the UK has become too liberal in allowing other cultures to dictate the agenda.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The bacon agenda?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I want to know if I can have vegetarians arrested if they throw a piece of lettuce at me. I find that most offensive.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Iceberg or Radicchio?

BBCA
BBCA
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Bwwaaaaaaahahhahahahaha!

BBCA
BBCA
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Hahahahahah. That’s Hilarious!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The third person (Wayne Stilwel) pleaded guilty to the mosque attack back in 2013 and was sentenced to 10 months.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Thanks for that. I thought they should have got a suspended sentence at the most and told to stay away from the mosque. If they continued to harras then they should have got jail time.

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The other person was ‘grilled’ by the police. Thank you, thank you ladies and gentlemen, goodnight.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Police not doing anything? Really like not doing anything about the reckless driver who goes on to kill someone just down the road..like that. Both terrible, but truth be known more people killed in Qatar by reckless drivers then Qataris killed in street fights in the UK…not that that takes anything away from the poor soul who lost his life as a result of murderous thugs in the UK..just throwing some perspective…

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

More Americans are killed by guns than by terrorist attacks. What’s your point?

I was replying to a very specific point about how the police in the UK would stop the locals from harassing people there. Nothing more, nothing less.

And I appreciate keeping things in perspective; however, in my experience here, whenever I’ve suggested keeping things in perspective regarding local issues (labor rights, reckless driving, Villagio trial, etc.) all I seem to get is accusations that I’m defending those wrongs. Maybe we all can try to keep things in perspective 😉

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Don’t know what my point is when I re read it? That can happen I suppose. Anyway I appreciate you as a local engaging in this forum, it gives us expats some perspective from a locals view point.

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I find it very hard to believe that the British police would ignore a call just because the victim was Arab. i have just read the reports about this case and can not see anywhere that as you say “the police promised to do something about it, and then they didn’t.”
that doesn’t mean to say that the murder of this young boy is not a tragedy, it clearly is.
But this story is not about police. it is about civilians taking it upon themselves to tell people how they should behave. Yes, as non Qataris we are all guests in this country and should respect the laws and cultures of this country. i don’t think many people really have a problem with this. But I think the important thing to remember is that this is a respect campaign. respect is something that is earned and can never be demanded. Respect is something that can only work both ways. sitting there and siting isolated incidents in Europe or America actually hold no significance whatsoever.
lets be honest here, Qatar has been built on the backs of foreigners, Qatar would not be where it is today without the expertise, skill and workmanship of foreign labour. Qatar has a lot to be thank full to its foreign labour and should not be so quick to chastise it.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

I never said they ignored the call because the victim was Arab. Again, I’m just giving you the account I read from the shop owner. He saw the hooligans outside his shop, they were drinking, based on past experience he knew / felt they’d cause trouble, he stop a police car that was passing by and asked them if they could do something, they promised to keep an eye on things, and then they didn’t, or at least an hour or so later weren’t around where they could’ve stopped the tragedy from happening.

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

how could they have stopped this from happening. Police in the UK for example are not allowed to arrest people if nothing has happened. police time is not used on monitoring a potential situation. if you were paying taxes towards the police do you think a good use of police time is for them to spend hours outside a kebab shop waiting for a fight. it doesn’t work like that. not a perfect system but then policing never is.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

By the way, I didn’t say the police in the UK never does anything, I simply said that in the case I mentioned, they were told of the hooligans hanging outside the shop, said they’d keep an eye on them, and then didn’t.

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

The sad reality is, Police numbers in UK mean that it would be irrational, if not physically impossible, to allocate officers to a scene just in case something ‘might’ happen, when it would be likely their presence is required in another location where something is happening or has indeed happened.

In UK I would be astonished if you would see uniformed police sitting in their patrol cars playing with their phones. They are generally kept busy.

MisterSandman
MisterSandman
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

Busy eating pie and chips… 😉

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

“If I went to the UK, I would not have the same protection as the citizens’. The point is you would, and if a a group of locals approached you with leaflets and said that you were dressed ‘inappropriateley’ the Police would remove the locals not you.”

i know many women who wear abaya’s or niqab who got approached all the time, no one removed the ones approaching them. the ladies i know simply took the flier walked away and threw it in the trash. no fuss no muss

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago

Exactly in which part of the UK were these women handed these fliers? I am amazed that it was not reported more. I take your point about ‘no fuss, no muss’ and hopefully most people given leaflets given leaflets by the ‘morality vigilantes’ will do the same. The one thing I would say is that the leaflet handed out in the UK could not have claimed to have the authority of the law behind it whereas the ones handed out in Qatar do.

Rodd
Rodd
6 years ago

So can we expats wear the local traditional clothes?
Or is expats wearing the local traditional clothes offensive?

Just wondering,

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Rodd

No laws against it.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Rodd

I know of a good number of expat men, and even bigger number of expat women that just do that 🙂

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago
Reply to  Rodd

I have an Abaya which I will wear to the supermarket / mall during Ramadan. It’s easier than figuring out what to wear so as not to offend. I can wear what I like and wear my abaya over the top.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

The video is hysterical. Everyone really should watch it. Thanks for posting it Doha News!

By the same token, maybe they should make another video in which an expat child points disapprovingly at a local woman and her children mistreating her maid. Then the expat mother could hand the other women a leaflet from Amnesty International outlining Qatar’s human rights record and why it is important to “reflect her respect” for fellow human beings. Now aware of their wrongful behavior, the local family could be shown in a later frame living a joyous life with their well-paid maid.

Having said that, people should try to conform to the cultural norms of any country they visit, irrespective of how ridiculous they may seem. I just wish the campaign wasn’t so twee and condescending. It invites derogatory responses such as mine.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

I agree, the video is a hoot. I am particularly worried about the young children featured though as they may have been scarred for life by the sight of those bare shoulders!

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

I particularly liked how the became best friends at the end of the video. I never realised how forcing your own opinions and beliefs down other peoples throats could result in you finding new best buds. How come that didn’t work out in Bosnia and Serbia?

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

they do make videos and there equally terribly made but at least with good intentions/ msg. this is the only one i found with English subtitles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQCUYWRjxpM
and although it wasnt specifically made in qatar it was shown here alot. also as ramadan is coming soon they will be making and showing lots of videos on television and lots of preachers often bring up the issue of workers rights and ask us to show more care for our fellow man.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

I’m not at all suggesting that all Qataris are unaware or indifferent to workers’ rights.

I am suggesting that the “reflect your respect” slogan is insensitive, and that these individuals’ pretense of being an official group is inappropriate. They would likely take great offense to Amnesty International pamphlets on Qatar’s human rights record being handed out to everyone in a thobe at the local malls (despite claims, they are not just handing the pamphlets out to “inappropriately” dressed people; some are handing them out to all Westerners).

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

i know bro, just letting you know we do make similar videos to the one you suggested and raise the issue of mistreatment of maids/workers all the time just in a mosque with a preacher instead of in a mall with flyers.

although what kind of campaign would be more acceptable? should they just put signs next to the malls entrance saying what clothes are acceptable and what arent instead?

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

I thought about this during the last campaign. If they are serious about it, they should make their case to the government for an official dress code. If that doesn’t work, then make their case to the mall owners, hotels and restaurants, threatening a boycott if they don’t introduce dress codes in these spaces. Malls could easily do this and enforce them, and plenty of places already have them. The owners are also Qatari. The pamphlets and posters are fine, too. But passing them out to shame people and writing them in such a way as to make them appear official (along with hotlines to call) crosses the line. The slogan needs to change, too, as it’s clearly offensive to the very people it is targeting. Perhaps a slogan that makes a request rather than gives a command. The current one sounds like some sort of cliche a teacher uses to admonish children, rather than a request an adult makes to his peers. Although maybe unintentional, it wreaks of the entitled, love-it-or-go-home attitude to which many expats are sensitive–like the last National Day slogan.

If they target audience is expats, then hire decent promotional companies from those countries to create a multi-pronged campaign. Maybe have some fun with it–like the Qtip guys. They manage to get a serious message across but are light-hearted and not afraid to poke fun at themselves.

People will probably make some jokes about it regardless, but I think the vast majority of expats rightly try to adhere to cultural norms when made of aware of them. But let’s be honest, the cultural norms of Qatar are changing rapidly, which is the price (for better or worse) of its newfound cosmopolitanism. Salaam.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

“In the UK, they wouldn’t tell me to abide to their dress code, because it would involve me removing my thobe. But here, we’re asking people to add on, not to remove.”

How naive. Telling women to cover is offensive in some countries. In France, and many countries, the vast majority of the population are offended by women in veils.

Having said that, it is a little hard take this campaign all that seriously after seeing how much (or little) many Qataris wear when traveling in the West. But then maybe they are simply reflecting their respect for the cultures they are visiting.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

This is all very weird, how are decisions made regarding what is acceptable or not? And by whom?

So in a hotel restaurant, in full view of locals, you can drink alcohol, but you can’t show your shoulders? Really?

How are these priorities being decided?

Maybe they should then create a few malls and parks where you can wear tank tops and shorts

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

I was going to write a great inspired comment about the country, traditions, values, integration of communities and the fact that we all live here together – the type of banter that I usually like to come up with. As I went to type I just thought that I really don’t care. Flyer yourselves into a frenzy folks. Send the chocolates, cup cakes and flowers to my address. Expats, try not to walk around naked in the 50C heat. Qataris please don’t look at the naked expats in the aforementioned heat. Finally, I have one word. Taliban!

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Look, if it’s really that big of a deal and you don’t want it worn in Qatar, don’t let stores sell any of that “scandalous” clothing. Go start a campaign against the malls too. Go to the source.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Or maybe there should be a license system, similar to that in place for alcohol. You will need to get a letter from your sponsor confirming that you promise to buy your tank tops and only wear them in your house. You will promise not to wear them outside, or lend them to friends, or sell them to others illegally.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Exactly. Then campaign against malls that do not establish modest dress code for shoppers by boycotting those malls.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

So is this a rule like speeding that some people will be free to completely ignore?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

You can speed all you want, as long as you don’t get caught by the radar.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And labor laws? Etc etc

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

Can it we all get along 😉

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Nice idea Abdulrahman but sometimes I feel its not about us getting along but more about getting us gone.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

That could work as well; once we’re all dead, well, what’s there to argue about 😉

Marwa
Marwa
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Totaly agree people need to relax

Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

i couldnt agree more but getting along requires mutual respect

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

I think someone needs a hug :3

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago

I think it’s a pretty fair campaign, and a very fair request.
The key-word there being ‘request’: we’re being requested to dress modestly, not compelled to do so. Think it’s unfair? Try wearing your Hot Pants and Boob-Tube down the road in KSA and see how far it gets you.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

A request by people who have no standing, and have taken it upon themselves to be the morality police. People like that are to be feared and held in contempt in equal measure.

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago

I don’t understand what you mean by ‘no standing’? It’s their country, their culture, their traditions.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

I think Iain, the point being made is that it is not government sanctioned. It is like someone coming off the local Heathrow estate and telling visitors what to wear in the UK when they arrive.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Exactly. Brownshirts anyone?

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

Only if they’re long sleeved 😉

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

Who are these “they”? Who do they represent? Are they sanctioned? Are their ideas their own? How representative, or not, are they?

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

And what happens when another bunch of locals decides expat women are only allowed in if they are wearing bikinis? Who are we to believe?

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

So Iain, can you explain exactly what is ‘officially’ considered to be ‘modest dress’, as these people seem to be making up their own standards. What comes next, the removal of alcohol? I don’t see what KSA has to do with the argument either?