One of Us Campaign sparks debate

UPDATE: Organizers are calling this campaign “One of Us” – not “No Nudity” – and are revamping the Twitter account. Follow here to learn more.

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In hopes of educating the expat community on how to dress without offending, a group of Qatari women have recently launched a modesty campaign called “No Nudity” on Twitter.

It highlights the part of the Qatari penal code that prohibits wearing “indecent” clothing in public, but adds to it by clarifying what exactly is deemed inappropriate – namely, bare shoulders and legs.

Organizer Najla Al-Mahmoud told Doha News that she and others were taking matters into their own hands because official government channels – including a service called Al-Adheed that monitors violations of the public indecency law – are not always easy to reach and may not be the best solution to the problem of immodesty.

She adds:

We noticed a lot of shorts, spaghetti straps, transparent and very tight clothing being worn freely in public places.

I don’t blame foreigners as they come from a different culture and they don’t know that it’s not acceptable… that’s why a group of ladies from different group of age gathered and decided to do something for Qatar.

We don’t want to interfere with anyone’s religion and force them to wear hijab … we only want modest clothing. It’s a matter of etiquette and class. We want to be able to go to public places without a lot of flesh around us.

The group also plans to send thank you cards to women who set good examples through their clothing. And through Twitter, it also hopes to attract government approval and the usage of their posters on official signage.

Last month, the government launched a campaign to educate non-locals after an op-ed was published by a local woman denigrating the way some expats dress in public places, generating both applause and indignation from residents.

“A National Campaign for Safeguarding Values and Traditions,” has been spearheaded by Fanar but few people we’ve talked to know much about it.

Qatar isn’t alone in the fight to get women to dress more modestly.

Last month, Emirati women sparked controversy by launching their own dress code campaign, asking women to respect their culture by avoiding flashing too much skin.

Thoughts?

Credit: Posters designed by Naja Al-Mahmoud

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