When you are a guest in another country, you better learn and respect the local customs, and that includes guarding your tongue from vulgar words when in the United Arab Emirates. One cursing British tourist, who now finds himself in prison for three months in Dubai, found out the hard way.
British Tourist Faces Three Months in Dubai Prison For Cursing At Airport
A British tourist was connecting in Dubai International Airport (DXB) with his mother. He had to transfer between terminals and requested a wheelchair for his mother. Transfers between Terminal 2 and 3 are via bus only. He was informed a wheelchair would be brought when the bus arrived.
But when he noticed another passenger already had a wheelchair, he became irate and demanded one, raising his voice and cursing out a female airport attendant over the matter. She called the airport police, the man was arrested, and eventually fined 10,000 Dirham (roughly 2,700 USD).
Angry over the fine, the tourist appealed. But the Dubai Court Of Appeal decided his initial fine was too lenient and handed down a three-month prison sentence on November 6, 2023.
He should have listened to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office:
Swearing and making rude gestures (including online) are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.
We can learn a lot about culture from movies even before stepping foot in a nation. Do you remember the 2007 movie called The Kingdom starring Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner? It tracked a joint US-Saudi operation to eradicate terrorism inside Saudi Arabia. While the final moments of the film are arguably the most chilling, one part that really struck out to me all the way back in 2007 (when I had not yet been to a single country in the Middle East) was a recurring shtick in which Foxx’s character would curse and his Saudi counterpart would scold him for cursing.
Cursing doesn’t fly in that region of the world, at least publicly. Whether you learn that in Hollywood films or travel guidebooks or government websites, better there than in jail…
When you’re in Dubai or any Gulf state, you don’t want to curse…that’s the bottom line. One British man cursed a whole lot when he felt his mother was not getting the wheelchair she was entitled to and wound up being thrown in jail for it…for three months. That’s not worth failing to hold your tongue!