Call for federal dress-code law in the UAE

Take our poll: A member of the FNC has appealed for a federal law banning tourists and residents from wearing revealing clothes in public in the Emirates.

The FNC member Hamad al Rahoumi, standing, has questions he wants answered at today's meeting of the council.
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ABU DHABI // A member of the FNC has appealed for a federal law banning tourists and residents from wearing revealing clothes in public.

At today's meeting, Hamad Al Rahoumi (Dubai) plans to tell Dr Abdulrahman Al Owais, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, of the embarrassment faced by Emirati families at malls.

"At a mall in Dubai, two were in front of me kissing passionately on an escalator," Mr Al Rahoumi said yesterday. "What do you do then?

"Another couple had their hands in each other's back pockets. For those coming with a family, this sight is not appropriate."

He said he was not talking about forcing people to wear a "niqab, headscarf or an abaya", but to dress "appropriately".

"When they are going to the mall, they need to be dressed in minimal appropriateness," Mr Al Rahoumi said.

"Why come to the mall in shorts? If they want to wear shorts, they can go to the beach.

"I don't have to go to a beach and see these sights but at the mall, people need to go there."

He said that just as some European countries had banned the niqab or headscarf, there was no reason the UAE should not have its own dress code.

"This is not just me, this is affecting a very large segment of society," Mr Al Rahoumi said.

He said he might decide to raise a recommendation with the Cabinet for such a law, depending on the responses from Dr Al Owais.

Mr Al Rahoumi will also ask Dr Al Owais, in his other role as the Minister of Health, about the rise of cancer cases in the country.

He said prevention would be better than the millions of dirhams spent on treating the disease, but for this to be effective the UAE needed a research centre.

"Cancer is the second [leading] cause of death in the country," he said. "There are no programmes working on preventing cancer."

The leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease.

Mr Al Rahoumi said he spent three months trying to gather statistics on the number of cases in the country, but received nothing from the Government.

This has led him to direct another question to Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs, on how he planned to deepen the relationship between the council and Government.

"All committees complain that the ministries and government entities take a long time to provide documents and numbers the FNC needs to do its job," Mr Al Rahoumi said.

"The constitution requires that we get this information in a speedy manner."

The Minister of Interior, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, is also scheduled to attend today's session, where he will be asked about including the military under the purview of his ministry.

The session at FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi is scheduled to start at 9am and will be open to the public.