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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Questions arise over dress code in Qatar – where do you draw the line?


A recent incident involving an expat in a knee-length dress and an irate “veiled” woman has set off a flurry of discussion about what is and isn’t appropriate to wear here.

On Qatar Living, qwertyness writes:

It was a friday afternoon and I was on my way to lunch with a friend. I was wearing a sundress that covered my knees, with a sweater covering my shoulders. It was NOT tight, or low cut, or anything like that. YES I’m tall and rather… agressively pale, but still! Knees covered, shoulders covered, all the bases are covered, right?

…SO I’m wondering, what exactly did this woman want? She was walking with her kids and she grabbed my arm and aggressively told me that my skirt was ‘not allowed’…I just indicated my sweater and disengaged from her, leaving her huffing and shouting Haram— I’m not kidding- at my back…I’ve worn that dress a lot and never had a problem, so what’s changed?

Some readers advised the woman to shrug off the incident, while others said she should have dressed more appropriately, given that Qatar is a conservative Muslim country. 

As someone who wears a headscarf and covers her arms and legs when in public, I’ve still been on the receiving end of many lectures about dressing more modestly. So I’m inclined to view this experience as just another part of living in Qatar’s very diverse community, not a sign of growing conservatism in the country.


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