Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Dhu'l Qadah 1424 H
January 2004
Volume 17-01 No : 205
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ARAB VIEW


No Entry!

No Entry!

By Amr Mohammed Al-Faisal

Last week I visited Dubai on a business trip. I arrived at the hotel - the Marriott Dubai - with a colleague of mine, also a Saudi.

We looked for a restaurant to have dinner, but they were all closed due to the late hour - 11:30 p.m. Finally we did find one that was still open, but to our surprise we were forbidden entry because we were wearing our traditional robes and the restaurant only allowed people in Western clothing to enter (remember this is in Dubai, a member of the GCC).

This reminded me of an incident which happened to me while I was at university.

In the late seventies, while I was studying at King Abdul Aziz University in the School of Environmental Design (now known as the College of Environmental Design), an American professor of mine invited me to have tea at his home. I went to visit him at his home in the Lockheed compound in North Obhur.

When I arrived, the security guards refused to allow me to enter because I had the bad taste to turn up in Saudi clothes and no one was allowed to enter unless they were wearing Western clothing.

I turned my car around and never went back to the Lockheed compound.

This indicates, to me at least, a deep hostility on the part of Lockheed toward its host country and a deep and abiding contempt for its people. Nevertheless, Lockheed has every right to forbid anyone it chooses to enter its compound. It is a private home just like your own, to which you may admit or forbid whomever you please.

The Dubai Marriott, on the other hand, is not a private home - it is a hotel serving customers from all over the world and located in a country whose national dress happens to be different from Western clothing.

That the two incidents are both related to an American company is a point worth highlighting.Imagine for a moment if a Saudi-owned hotel in the USA forbade people to enter one of its restaurants unless they put on Saudi robes.

What do you think would the Americans do?

What do you think their press would say?

How many articles insulting the hotel and its management would be written?

Would they stop there or would they go on to attack the Saudi owners of the hotel and then their country, Saudi Arabia? Would that be enough or would they go on to heap insults on the Arab world and Islam in general as well?

So the question, dear readers, is, when next you visit Dubai, will you be staying at the Marriott?

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