In a historic announcement aimed at bringing Dubai upto the standards of global metropolitan cities for tourists and residents, the Dubai government has announced that it no longer requires any curtains or screens to block eating areas from the view of fasting muslims. By being the most progressive city in the middle east, Dubai’s announcement comes as a welcome reprieve to expats who were forced to hide behind curtains to have a normal meal until now.
Dubai has been slowly moving towards liberalising its policies and becoming more inclusive over the years. During the early 2010s, eating outside during Ramadan fasting hours was considered illegal and people were fined heavily if found eating. While eating outside was considered disrespectful for muslims, it placed a burden on expats and tourists who are not fasting from venturing out in Dubai during the fasting hours in Ramadan. Dubai has been progressively easing restrictions by spearheading initiatives in this aspect and had allowed restaurants and malls to operate behind dividers / screens / curtains.
Progressive muslims welcomed the move and have observe that allowing others to have their meal with respect without the need to hide. And that their resolve to fast during the holy month of Ramadan is further bolstered while allowing non-muslims to eat. At the same time, conservative muslims on social media have voiced their concerns about the Dubai/ middle east becoming more westernised. But it is notable that progressive regimes such as Dubai and even Saudi Arabia are on the path of liberalisation of religious freedom as well as aligning themselves with modern world traditions so that they can welcome global tourists around the year in the competitive tourism market.