As a long term resident here I am more than familiar with the local laws in the UAE. Whether we are resident or a tourist in the UAE we need to be aware of what is right and wrong with regards to the Laws here. One thing that we should all know, is that sex outside of marriage is not permitted in Islam, under any circumstances. Non Muslims who become pregnant outside of marriage are encouraged to return to their Home Countries or get married to make the union legal.
It saddens me to see in the Daily Mail, that Danielle Lloyd and her fiance were recently living it up at the local Meridien, this may not seem out of the ordinary to you, but Danielle who is pregnant, and a single parent is basically flouting the Law. I think I am right in assuming that she will be sharing a room with her fiance Jamie O'Hara, and we all know the rules on cohabitation. I am pretty sure that Danielle has no idea how much risk she could have been putting herself under, and I hope and pray her stay here was an uneventful one. BUT if she had to go and seek any medical attention regarding her pregnancy she would definitely have found herself on the wrong side of the Law, celebrity or not.
For many years we have known that to consume alcohol in the UAE you have to have an Alcohol Licence, to obtain that you have to first obtain your residency visa. However, recently a man was charged with consuming alcohol illegally whilst visiting the Country. We all know that the hotels serve alcohol quite freely so it does make you wonder how often this is enforced, one would have said never until this recent incident which I read about in The National.
The article in The National states "Federal law makes it a crime to consume or purchase alcohol without a licence, whether a person is a tourist or a resident". How far they will go to enforce this is anyone's guess but it is better to be on the safe side. I personally don't think they will enforce it unless there has been a serious crime taken place at the time the alcohol was consumed, however, you can never really be sure.
With all these rules and laws in place it came as no suprise today that I read an article in 7days stating that Britons ranked Dubai 5th (when it came to holiday jitters) place to visit in the World for a holiday. I think we know why. Laws written in sand can drift, but at the end of the day the Law is the Law and it would do us all good to remember them.
The Office of National Statistics recorded 87,000 travellers from the UK set off to the Emirates in the last quarter of 2010 and it is estimated British tourists will hit the one million mark by the end of 2011.
I am not sitting here in judgement, far from it, no society is perfect. I think what we need to remember is that we are guests in the UAE and we should live by their rules, whether we like it or not. I think the Government would be better placed to make handbooks for tourists that are issued on arrival explaining the Laws of the Land to ensure that there is no confusion.