Dubai: To secure the safety of Emiratis travelling abroad to Europe during the summer, authorities have warned travelers to adhere to the burqa ban and not carry large amounts of cash.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internal Cooperation (MoFAIC) also urged Emirati men not to wear the national dress while travelling abroad, especially in public places, for safety reasons.
On Saturday night, the MoFAIC issued a number of travel warnings to citizens, following reports of an Emirati businessman who was detained by police in the American city of Avon, Ohio, after he was mistaken for a Daesh member.
Assistant Under-Secretary for Consular Affairs at MoFAIC, Ahmed Elham Al Dhaheri, told the state news agency WAM that the advisory warnings were directed at travelers flying to Europe, particularly to countries that do not follow visa requirements of Schengen states.
“There are some European countries that have a ban on burqas in public areas. If Emiratis do travel to those places, they are strongly recommended to abide by the ban to avoid any legal repercussions or fines,” said Al Dhaheri.
He emphasised that European states who enforced a ban on burqas, including France, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, as well as some European cities – such as Barcelona in Spain, who banned any form of face covering since 2010. The Hesse State in Germany and a number of Italian cities have also banned the veil.
“On the first of July 2016, the Swiss canton of Ticino imposed a ban on the burqa. Offenders can be fined up from 100 to 1,000 Swiss francs [Dh377 to Dh3,774], as well as deportation. The fine can increase if the offender insists on wearing it,” said Al Dhaheri.
The Italian-speaking canton of Ticino is located in the southeast of Switzerland, and receives a regular influx of tourists who visit the lakeside city of Locarno.
According to the law, which was voted in by a 2013 referendum, burqas are forbidden in shops, restaurants, or public buildings.
“People should take extra precaution when travelling abroad due to the security developments in some European countries, which was triggered by the unfolding unrest in the Middle East region, [and also because of] the refugee crisis,” he said.
Al Dhaheri urged citizens to avoid carrying large sums of money and to use credit cards instead, so as not to attract unwanted attention that can put their security and personal safety at risk.
Tourists were also advised to choose their hotel accommodation in safe neighbourhoods.
In August 2015, the ministry warned travellers to avoid wearing expensive clothes and accessories of famous luxury brands.
It also advised Emiratis to save copies of passports and other identifications should in emails or mobile phones, so they can be produced in case of an emergency or when visiting the UAE mission in the host country.
In August 2014, the ministry advised Emiratis travelling to or living in London to avoid certain “dangerous and unsafe” areas. The cautionary guidelines were issued following a spate of attacks on Emiratis, including an attack on three Emirati women – who were bludgeoned with hammers in London’s Cumberland Hotel – as well as an Emirati couple who were robbed in their house.
In June 2014, a Saudi Arabian student was stabbed 16 times in a “brutal and savage attack” as she walked to university, which led police to question whether the woman was targeted because she was wearing an abaya. The incident occurred in Essex, UK.