UAE Tells Citizens to Avoid National Dress While Abroad After Man Held in US

UAE Protocol Chief Shihab Al Faheem (centre L) seen in a traditional Emirati kandoorah, talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. UAE has asked its citiens to avoid wearing the national dress while travelling abroad, after a businessman visiting the U.S. was tackled to the ground on suspicions that he was a Daesh militant. REUTERS/Saul Loeb

DUBAI, July 3 – The United Arab Emirates has urged men to avoid wearing the white robes, headscarf and headband of the national dress when travelling abroad, after a businessman visiting the United States was wrestled to the ground and held as a Daesh suspect.

UAE media reported that the Emirati man was detained in Avon, Ohio, last week after a female clerk at a local hotel called 911 to report what she had described as a man affiliated to Daesh, according to the Arabic-language al-Bayan newspaper. It only identified him by his initials.

The English language The National said the receptionist at the Fairfield Inn hotel called the police after she heard the man talking on his phone in the hotel lobby.

Gulf News, another UAE newspaper, published photos of the Emirati man in white robes being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before being led away by police.

In a message on a Foreign Ministry Twitter account focusing on citizens travelling abroad, the ministry said on Saturday:

“For citizens travelling outside the country, and in order to ensure their safety, we point out not to wear formal dress while travelling, especially in public places,” the message dated July 2 stated, without referring to the Avon incident.

The Foreign Ministry, in a message posted on its website in Arabic and English, urged citizens to abide by the laws of countries they are visiting. It alerted women to countries in Europe whose laws prohibit wearing of face covers, also without referring to the incident in Avon.

Local newspapers said Avon police released the man after they realised their mistake, but he fainted and needed hospital treatment.

Al-Bayan reported that the citizen had hired a lawyer to pursue the case, saying he had received no apology from either the police or the hotel.

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