In the latest example of what some call “reverse discrimination,” a 31-year-old pharmacist was recently denied entry to a music festival because she wore a headscarf.
Last week, Manal Rostom showed up at the DXB Beach Festival at Nasimi Beach in Dubai, but was told the ticket she bought online would not be honored because she was not dressed appropriately.
“I was wearing a long skirt, a sleeveless top, a small jacket, a belt and sandals,” she said.
Rostom was told the venue would not allow anyone in wearing “national dress” as alcohol was being served.
“It was humiliating and I felt like crying. I’m a huge music fan and went to the Usher concert, Amr Diab and Shakira, where alcohol was served, and there were no issues,” she said…
“I felt a little guilty, but I was going just to enjoy the music. I had no bad intentions and even my friends weren’t there to drink. I’m old enough to make the decision for myself of whether I can be there or not.”
According to the UAE’s tourism department, there is no law banning people in national dress from going to venues where alcohol is on sale. But some places or events are told not to let them in as part of the conditions of their alcohol licence.
I’ve been turned away twice for wearing a headscarf (though not an abaya) in Doha – once at the Laughter Factory, and another time at a restaurant after 9pm. Needless to say, it’s humiliating.
Anyone else have similar experiences? Thoughts?