The New "Decency and Public Conduct Rules and Objectives" will be implemented today, according to Col. Saleh Ali Al Mutawa, Acting Commander-in-chief of the Sharjah Police.

Al Mutawa said yesterday that the Sharjah Police would start implementing Law on decency and public conduct in accordance with the directions of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Al Mutawa added that he had already given his directions to Sharjah Police to enforce the new rules.

"Offenders will be given verbal warnings. They will also be given booklets to enhance their awareness of the new rules. Those who fail to respond positively, will be penalised. They can be deprived of public services until they respect the rules," said Al Mutawa.

He added that the rules aimed at protecting public values and decency, and providing a peaceful atmosphere for residents and tourists, in accordance with the UAE Federal Constitution.

"The new rules are an invitation to everybody in the emirate, Muslims and non-Muslims, to respect decency and sublime values," said Al Mutawa.

He added that the rules would also target tourists throughout the emirate, including swimmers at public beaches. "Hotels and private swimming pools will be excluded, as the personnel of these hotels will be instructed to ensure that swimmers wear swim suits only on the beaches and at the swimming pools inside hotels," Al Mutawa said.

He added that the police would not interfere to enforce the new rules at public and private educational establishments, as watchmen and security officers would be following-up the implementation of these rules at their establishments.

Al Mutawa urged the public to cooperate with the Sharjah Police. The rules, he said, would not conflict with public freedoms which were protected by the UAE constitution. "The Rules will be implemented gradually in a bid to protect the community from any imported values," he said.

Full details of the the Decency and Public Conduct Rules and Objectives were published recently by the Sharjah Government in a booklet in the seven languages mainly used in the emirate, Arabic, English, French, German, Russian, Urdu and Malayalam.

According to the new rules, men should not wear very short shorts in public, or commercial places, like malls and public offices, or go about bare chested. National men should not go about solely in the 'ezar' in public places (the 'ezar is the local national male underwear).

Women should not wear clothing that exposes the stomach and back, short skirts above the knee, and tight and transparent clothing that reveals the body. Swimmers should not wear bathing costumes in public places.

To protect women's privacy, men are not allowed to visit "ladies only" places, except in acceptable circumstances, in accordance with society's norms.

A man and a woman who are not in a legally acceptable relationship should not, according to the booklet, be alone in public places, or in suspicious times or circumstances.

People, furthermore, should not engage in acts of harassment that violate public decency.

Mosques have their holiness and their sanctity. This must be respected. People should attend in proper clothing, avoid sleep wear, or clothing that has images on it, or improper slogans.