Prejudice harms Emiratis abroad

Emiratis travelling abroad should not be judged based solely upon their traditional dress, said the Emirates Human Rights Association on Tuesday.

On the heels of a travel advisory suggesting Emiratis refrain from wearing kandouras outside of the country, UAE-based rights advocates  expressed deep concern regarding spiraling cynicism in the West against Arabs who opt to wear their national dress.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internal Cooperation cautioned Emiratis earlier this week not to wear traditional garb while visiting foreign countries, especially in public places, for safety reasons amid an increase in high-profile incidents involving UAE citizens.

An Emirati businessman is the latest to be snared in an international imbroglio  after he was wrongfully accosted by police in the American city of Avon, Ohio, who mistook him for a member of terrorist group Daesh.

“The unfair treatment of Ahmad Al Menhali, who was wrongfully detained for being a member of the terrorist group Daesh, was based solely on what he was wearing and the language he was speaking,” said the Human Rights Association.

In a statement, the group said that this kind of mistreatment speaks to a potential dilemma for all Gulf nationals.

“This kind of judgement jeopardises the safety of all Emiratis, as well as those from other Gulf states, which ultimately ends up compromising their national and cultural identity,” asserted the organisation.

As Gulf News reported, Avon Chief of Police Richard Bosley has since apologised to Al Menhali  who was mistakenly detained by armed police in front of a hotel entrance last Thursday.

However, Al Menhali has said he was waiting for an official apology letter from the US government and is weighing his options with legal counsel.

Emirates Human Rights further affirmed that while countries have the right to protect its people from terrorism and other forms of crimes, citizens from around the world should also enjoy the right to practice their own cultures and traditions abroad.

“The behaviour of Ohio Police was uncalled for, and their reaction was excessive. People should not be discriminated and humiliated solely on the basis of their language, race, or religion,” the organisation said.


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