Respectful clothing is urged by residents and visitors more so in Ramadan. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Shopping malls in Dubai have once again urged people to abide by the dress code policy especially during Ramadan, as many visitors remain unaware of the cultural sensitivities of the country.

Malls like The Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates, the City Centre and many others already have put up signboards, flyers, and even LCD screens in a bid to remind people of the mall’s courtesy policies during Ramadan.

Recently, a couple of mall’s guest service representatives and security stuff began handing out visitors entering the mall the flyers with aims of making sure everyone is aware of the mall’s policies and their importance particularly during Ramadan.

According to the Dubai Mall spokesperson in a statement issued to Gulf News, “Most of our visitors are aware of the dress code policy. But given that the city hosts visitors from around the world – some of them not aware of the cultural sensitivities of the country – we take extra care in highlighting the mall’s courtesy policy for the benefit of all.”

But to many, this is not enough, as they believe there are still people walking around the malls during Ramadan with inappropriate clothing and that this could bother the people fasting.

Khalid Shaheen, a Dubai-based Syrian resident who works in the mall said: “It is important to have those policies enforced throughout the whole year, but in Ramadan it becomes even more important.”

“I can still see tourists walking around wearing skimpy clothing, and this might be because they are not aware of the rules or the policies,” Shaheen added.

Bayan Al Sutari, a Jordanian resident also echoed a similar opinion, “People do not abide by those courtesy policies very well. Ramadan is a month of worshiping to Muslims and everyone should be clearly aware that any inappropriate clothing can cause disrespect to those fasting.”

According to mall’s dress code, respectful clothing amounts to knees and shoulders being covered, but this can be hard to apply on visitors new to the country.

Many tourists coming from western countries are not aware that malls may have dress code policies and as a result, they might end up visiting the mall wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts unaware that this may disturb the people fasting.

Sonia, a tourist from Slovenia, said “All I was told was that we are not allowed to eat, smoke, or chew gum in public during this month.” She also added that it was her first time in Dubai and that she never heard about such a policy before.

A couple of mall visitors, who are Dubai residents, recommended other ways of approaching this matter and suggested different ways to aware tourists and others of the social and cultural morals of the UAE.

Lauren, a British residing in Dubai, said she thinks there should be more than one way of informing people of the mall’s dress code policies “maybe like a big page article in the newspaper because the signs they have are not eye catching.”

On the other hand Sarah from the Philippines, who works at Souq Al Bahar suggested something different. “There should be signs put at the metro stations where people will certainly take a glance and be aware of the exact dress code at malls,” she said.

“I have seen securities pass leaflets to visitors right at the door, but I still had one tourist last time asking me whether her cloths were appropriate enough or not, and then I told her it was okay.”

Mary Achkhanian is an intern at Gulf News