Dubai: International SOS, a leading medical and travel security risk services company, has issued a set of Ramadan etiquette tips for travellers visiting Muslim countries, including the UAE. The tips are as under:
1. Do not eat, drink or smoke in public during fasting hours. This applies to all public places and public and private transportation. Public observance of the fast is compulsory regardless of religion.
2. Dress modestly. Visitors should refrain from wearing revealing clothing out of respect to those observing Ramadan. This is particularly important when visiting malls, hotels and restaurants or iftar tents in the evening. As a general rule, clothing that is sheer, too short, low-cut or tight-fitting should be avoided, particularly shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless tops.
3. Be mindful of workplace etiquette. Business travellers should respect the shorter office hours and work around them. When having business meetings with Muslims, it is best to schedule them in the morning when people are less tired and can better concentrate. Make sure meetings do not occur over lunch, over-run or inconvenience fasting participants. While non-Muslims are permitted to eat and drink behind closed doors, they should avoid doing so in front of those fasting and should instead excuse themselves to a more remote area of the office. If offered refreshments by a fasting Muslim, it is considered respectful to decline.
4. Check food and entertainment schedules. Be flexible with your food and entertainment plans. Avoid unnecessary travel within an hour of sunset, as traffic will be heavy and accident rates peak, and avoid making dinner reservations around that time, as most restaurants will be busy preparing/serving iftar. In many places, live music entertainment is prohibited, dance clubs are closed, and bars are kept dry. Shopping malls are usually very crowded in the evening, and many tourist activities are put on hold throughout Ramadan.
5. Avoid public display of affection. This is a complete no no as are listening to loud music and chewing gum in public. Do not order alcohol or pork around iftar at a restaurant.