DUBAI, Mar 14, 2009 (AFP) - Playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing and even holding hands in public... is considered inapproppriate behaviour under new guidelines laid down by the authorities of Dubai, a report said Saturday.
Arabic-language daily Al Emarat Al-Youm said the Dubai Executive Council had urged residents of Dubai, where foreigners make up more than 80 percent of the population, to respect the customs of the Muslim majority country and avoid inappropriate behaviour.
The rules, which apply to all public places, include a ban on all forms of nudity, playing music loudly and dancing, exchange of kisses between men and women -- and even on unmarried couples holding hands.
Any breach of the guidelines, by nationals or expatriates, carries a possible prison penalty, the paper said.
The guidelines also stipulate that anyone caught under the influence of alcohol -- even small amounts -- outside designated drinking areas is liable to being fined or imprisoned, the paper added.
Dubai, a member of the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates, has a diverse culture as it is home to a foreign population made up mainly of low-skilled workers from Asia and Western professionals.
Unlike most of its neighbours in the conservative Gulf region, the emirate tolerates a relatively relaxed dress code and hosts dozens of hotels that have bars and clubs, where alcohol is legally served.
However, a series of incidents, including crackdowns on cross dressers and the expulsion of two British expats found guilty of having sex on the beach, has thrown into the limelight the sometimes clashing local and foreign cultures.
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