THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TAKING A HOLIDAY IN DUBAI - For most westerners we take for granted many things in life. Most of us, regardless of our personal faith, have freedoms that are not afforded to those living in Dubai and when visiting Dubai foreigners are expected to follow the rules of Islamic Law.
So are you planning on taking a holiday in Dubai? Well why not I can assure you it is a beautiful place, hot, but beautiful and in most cases a safe place to visit. However, you must be aware that this is an Islamic Country where its laws and considered by most foreigners as draconian and harsh for the most trivial things in our eyes.
1. Alcohol - Alcohol may only be consumed in licensed pubs, restaurants, clubs and private venues. The Islamic Laws on alcohol are extremely stringent and breaking them will land you in jail. If you want to consume alcohol at home then you will need to obtain an alcohol licence permitting you to do so. You cannot simply walk into a grocery store and buy liquor without permission. No person under the age of 21 may consume alcohol at any time.
2. Showing Affection in Public - You may, if you are married, hold hands in public. However, that’s as far as it can go. If you kiss or hug in public then you will be committing an act of public indecency and this will land you in jail.
3. Sexual Intercourse - It is unlawful to have any form of sexual intercourse, with the opposite sex, unless you are married. Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world and yes it does go on in Dubai but if you get caught you will see the inside of a jail cell. If you are a couple, but unmarried, then sharing the same hotel room, even if you do have separate bedrooms, is considered an act of indecency and will land you in jail.
Homosexuality is NOT tolerated under any circumstances and carries severe penalties under Islamic Law.
4. Drugs - The Islamic laws on drugs is extremely harsh and even having the smallest amount on your person could result in a lengthy jail sentence. If you are on medication and you intend to bring these into Dubai then you will need permission to do so before travelling.
5. Dancing - Most of us like to go out and have a dance but be aware that dancing anywhere in the UAE is strictly restricted to that of your home or a licensed club. If you do come out of a club or a pub and dance in the street you will be charged with the offence of being indecent and provocative in public.
6. Your Behaviour - It is an offence under Islamic law to use offensive or foul language. Aggressive behaviour and acts such as spitting are also unacceptable. Not that the use of foul language also extends to hand gestures – so giving someone the ‘Bird’ or ‘V’ is also an offence. It has been well documented that foreigners charged and found guilty of these offences can, and often do, result in a jail sentence of around 6 months with an immediate deportation order being issued upon release.
7. Driving in the UAE - No amount of alcohol may be consumed while or before driving. There is zero tolerance for alcohol consumption while in charge of a vehicle. Also note that speeding, tailgating, and other reckless forms of driving are totally prohibited. The use of mobile phones is also not allowed and strictly enforced.
8. Use of a Camera - Be careful when snapping your holiday photographs. Taking photographs of women without their express permission is forbidden. Note carefully buildings that you wish to take photographs of as government buildings may not be photographed at any time.
9. Street Etiquette - If you do get lost or need assistance then ask a police officer or a male person. You should NOT address any woman in public as this is an offence under Islamic Law.
Well that’s the basics of things you should know before visiting Dubai. Remember this is an Islamic country and you should respect their traditions and laws. The UAE does not allow you to freely express yourself as we do in the west. I personally don’t have a problem with Islamic Law; my attitude is, ‘When in Rome do as the Romans Do’. I think it’s a shame that those Islamic followers living in the west would follow our rules of law and respect our traditions. Remember, if you don’t like the laws and traditions of a particular country then you have two choices…
A. Don’t go there and or;
If you have ever visited Dubai or indeed have lived there please leave your comments below. It would be interesting to hear your views.