Dubai: While shoppers tend to enjoy listening to music as they stroll through the many malls, some say that more attention should be paid to the kind of material that thousands are forced to listen to.

South African housewife S.A. told Gulf News she was shocked to hear "offensive" music while shopping in a mall once, expressing concern that some shops ignore profane and sexually explicit language.

"Since we can't stop singers from using offensive lyrics, we can at least reduce the influence they have on society. The fact that little ears are hearing foul language is as apt to this topic as parents often wonder where their children pick up new words," she said.

Hussain Jaffar, an Emirati technology consultant, said he took his disapproval to the store management recently after hearing obscene RnB music while he was shopping with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

"Ten years ago, I would have thought it was cool, but now that I have a baby I don't think it's appropriate especially since she's at a vulnerable age," he said.

Similarly, 45-year-old Indian property consultant Parvez Ahmad agreed that young children "should not have to hear such material" but added that he was not offended by profane music.

"Besides, teens can relate to this kind of music and are probably more comfortable with it, but considering that this is a Muslim, Arab country, perhaps more respect can be shown to local sensitivities."

Eighteen-year-old Emirati student, Ahmad Al Fareed, said that while he might not accept some of the music played in malls, he wouldn't complain about it.

"They're free to play any kind of music they want, but they should censor if necessary," he said.

Strictly policed

Officials at some of Dubai's shopping malls, however, stressed that management was vigilant against offending outlets, saying that all efforts were made to maintain a 'family-friendly' environment.

Victoria Smith, marketing manager at Wafi Mall, said the mall monitors retailers to ensure music volume was kept at "reasonable levels" and "requests that inappropriate content is changed immediately".

As for the Bur Juman mall, spokesperson Sabina Khandwani said all 320 outlets are strictly "policed" to ensure compliance with rules. "We have our own team that monitors the mall and rarely receive any serious complaints", she said.

According to Ahmad Yousuf, General Manager for Dubai Shopping Centre in Deira, controlling the songs played in certain shops was difficult, but shop owners were generally cooperative with the management.

"We have explicitly mentioned in our contract and in memos that all sensitivities must be observed. It is hard to check on all 150 stores but if we receive a valid complaint we take immediate action," stated Yousuf.

"In a multinational country it is hard to force people to follow strict rules; however we can guide and educate them. This has so far worked well," he said.

With additional inputs from Suhail Al Rais, Staff Reporter

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Do you find the lyrics of popular music played in malls offensive? Or does it not bother you? Tell us at or fill in the form below to send your comments.

Your comments

I find it astonishing when people say that we can't control the type of music played. If one can't even set specific rules in his own country, then get prepared for a corrupt forth-coming generation.
Posted: August 07, 2007, 09:17

It?s nice to hear the mall authorities are concerned regarding the matter.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: August 07, 2007, 09:09

To be honest I really don?t find lyrics of popular music offensive. When my kids go to Virgin or any other big music selling outlet they can find almost any category of music which contains such lyrics on open hands. It?s not at all offensive. If such was the case then why not ban news broadcasts which show bloodshed, killing and explicit cruelty? Why not ban video games based on wars, car racing based games which show women in such unacceptable outfits? Why are you guys after music only?
Posted: August 07, 2007, 08:17

I realised only after reading it in yesterday?s Gulf news. But I have noted that many malls in UAE do not cut off the music during the time of "Adaan" which is much more offensive than profane music. "Adaan" is a reminder to all Muslims about their duty. At time they get lost in shopping spree; hence all malls need to address the "Adaan" strictly.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: August 07, 2007, 07:16