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The New Arab Staff

Planned Muscat dress code law threatens violators with jail and huge fines

Muscat could see strict dress code rules being implemented [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2020

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Muscat has introduced a dress code in public places with the threat of jail and fines for violators.
Wearing sleeveless shirts, mini-skirts, and shorts in public places in Oman's capital could see shoppers face jail time or huge fines, according to laws being drafted.

The rules drawn up by Muscat Municipality will cover public areas in the capital, after complaints from shoppers about immodest dress being witnessed at malls and stores.

Violators of the new dress code law could face fines of up to 3,000 rials ($7,700) and three-month jail sentences, according to the Omani daily Shabiha.

"Rules of decent dressing have not been worked out in detail, but they [clothes] should cover the body from the shoulder down to below the knee," Qais bin Mohammed Al-Maashari, who heads the panel looking into the matter, told the Arabic-language newspaper.

He said the rules will ensure men and women will be punished for wearing clothing that reveals their chest, lower legs, and shoulders in public places.

"The same rules will be applied to citizens and expatriates alike in the sultanate. We have to make sure that the worn clothes do not violate decent dressing rules. Therefore, this code will apply to everyone without discrimination," he explained.
Al-Mashaari ruled out making the hijab for women compulsary, saying this would violate Oman's committment to religious tolerance and freedom.

While many in Oman have welcomed the new rules, some want the government to focus its attention on boosting the economy.

Oman is looking at ways to diversifty its energy-reliant economy, which has suffered from low oil prices and the coronavirus epidemic, with tourism seen as a key opportunity for growth.


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