Dubai holidays may be a chance to relax and soak up the sun but Britons still need to careful with how they behave. The United Arab Emirates have very different laws and customs to the UK. UK tourists need to be aware of the latest travel advice as actions which are perfectly innocuous at home may get them into trouble in Dubai and neighbouring emirates. One thing deemed illegal in Dubai is something many Britons do every day, perhaps without even realising.
Swearing is quite common among Britons these days and profanities are frequently heard in the streets of the UK.
However, swearing in public is completely forbidden in Dubai and uttering the “F-word” in particular is a total no-no.
Saying “f***k” is a crime in Dubai as the swear word “disgraces the honour or the modesty” of a person according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code.
Consequently swearing in public in Dubai can land you in prison for up to a year.
There is also a huge fine for swearing, amounting to as high as Dhs 10,000 (£2,000).
It’s not just verbal profanities that will get you into trouble in the UAE.
Swearing by flashing the middle finger is considered an “indecent gesture” that breaches “a victim’s pride, privacy and/or modesty.”
According to The Culture Trip, the gesture could result in deportation.
In 2017, a British man who raised his third finger at another driver in Dubai was arrested for “offensive behaviour.”
But the rules on swearing don’t just stop there in the UAE, however – holidaymakers need to be careful with what they write online, too.
Using swear words on messaging platforms, be it on social media or WhatsApp, is considered a breach of the UAE’s cyber laws.
Using ‘swearing’ emojis, such as the middle finger depiction, is also illegal.
For this, you could face deportation, jail time or a fine of up to Dhs 250,000 (£52,000).
According to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “UAE laws and customs are very different from those in the UK.
“Be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK.
“You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with, and respect local laws and customs.”
Another action that is prohibited in Dubai is sharing photos as the action of transferring data or photos could be seen as a breach of privacy.