Emiratis urged not to wear national dress abroad

Warning reportedly follows the mistaken arrest of a businessman last week



The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has reportedly urged Emiratis not to wear national dress when travelling abroad following a recent incident.

On June 29, armed police in Avon, Ohio in the United States forcibly detained an Emirati businessman after a hotel employee said he pledged allegiance to ISIL.

A receptionist at the Fairfield Inn and Suites called the police after overhearing Ahmed Al Menhali talking on his mobile phone in the lobby and being alarmed by his national dress.

Al Menhali fainted after his restraints were released and is believed to have suffered a stroke. He is currently being treated at a hospital in Cleveland.

“I always wear my traditional clothes during all my travels and never encountered such a thing,” he was quoted as saying in press reports.

The police and hotel later apologised for the incident.

In guidance carried by state news agency WAM today, the ministry warned citizens wishing to travel to European countries to take caution.

It urged Emiratis to avoid carrying large sums of money during their Eid travels and exercise caution in popular tourist areas to avoid theft, assault and fraud.

Citizens were also recommended to abide by a ban on wearing the burqa in public places in place in some European countries and cities to avoid fines and legal repercussions.

“European states that ban the wearing of veil are France, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as some European cities such as Barcelona in Spain, which banned the wearing of any clothing covering the face since 2010, and the Hesse State in Germany and a number of Italian cities. The Danish courts also banned the veil,” WAM said.

However, there was no specific mention of the male national dress the kandura.