Dubai is known and appreciated for its tolerance towards the almost two hundred different nationalities that visit and live in the state. But the there is a gray area in which certain questions have remained unanswered, and this is starting to cause problems for the 'locals', as well as others. Hashtag #Dubaidresscode, tweeted by two young Emirati girls, has led to a public debate to which the press has dedicated complete pages, asking for "individual common sense" as well as a clampdown on "indecency" by the authorities. Many say that there are laws, but that they are not enforced. One would expect to find a clear dress code in the Muslim-Arab United Arab Emirates; it is unlikely to see women shopping in Qatar, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia with a low neckline or wearing a miniskirt. But the situation in Dubai is different.
The emirate is more tolerant to attract foreign professionals and technicians, indispensible to build and manage the country.
Foreigners may "feel at home" in Dubai, but this policy is now starting to show its downsides. Some Emirati citizens feel suffocated by the foreign residents, grown to over 80% in numbers, but the current situation is also a problem for the foreigners who risk being jailed for revealing too much skin or drinking in the wrong place.
Posters have been placed at the entrance of shopping centres, asking people to "dress respectfully." Pictures of tops, shorts and miniskirts are crossed out by a diagonal red bar. But this message is too vague: how short can a skirt be? And a sleeve? What kind of demonstrations of affection are tolerated in public? And only for married couples? Who is allowed to drink, where and under which conditions? Tourists and foreign residents don't know the exact answers to this questions. That way they may offend the local culture or worse, legal steps may be taken against them, leading to consequences ranging from imprisonment to deportation.
People need more information is the most wide-spread comment.
Brochures must be distributed when people enter the country, leaflets must be available in hotels and bars and the country has to collaborate more closely with travel agencies. Others say that people who live in Dubai need to be more tolerant, and that there must be more "clarity", "surveillance", with the Emirati authorities enforcing the law. (ANSAmed).