Individuals must refrain from publishing images, audio clips, visuals or other materials that promote offensive content and violate public morals, MOCI reminded.
A fine up to one million Qatari Riyals could be levied by authorities to merchants or shopping malls that trade or display goods that are non-compliant with Islamic values, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) said.
Other forms of punishment include administrative closure for a period of three months or cancellation of the commercial license should an individual violate the mandate.
Through an announcement on Twitter, the ministry highlighted the fourth clause of Article No. 2 of Law No. 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection which stipulates “The right to respect religious values, customs, and tradition.”
The entity urged all commercial suppliers to respect and practice adherence to religious values and traditions. Some of these moves include abstention from displaying goods, imagery, visual or audio materials that are contrary to the teachings of the Islamic religion.
All merchants and major shopping centres operating in the country must “refrain from using inappropriate gifts and packaging materials or marketing and promoting products bearing slogans, symbols, or phrases having immoral connotations that violate the religious and cultural values of the community,” the statement said.
Individuals must also coordinate with import sources ahead of supplying any products for the purpose of trading in the Qatari market.
This is done in a bid to ensure the materials do not promote or bear slogans, designs, symbols or expressions that would be considered a contravention to Islamic customs.
The ministry also encouraged consumers to report on any goods carrying logos or designs that violate Islamic traditions and to specify their locations in order for the relevant inspectors to calculate the necessary measures.
Rainbow-coloured toys confiscated
In December, an inspection campaign launched by Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry led to the confiscation of a number of toys, including rainbow-coloured poppits that have recently become popular with children.
“MOCIQATAR carried out inspection campaigns on several retail outlets in different regions across #Qatar, the campaigns resulted in the seizure and release of several violations, including the confiscation of children’s toys bearing slogans that go against Islamic values,” the ministry said in statement with an image of a popular rainbow-coloured fidget toys.
The ministry cited an updated law that stipulates “practicing commercial activities and distributing goods and services must take place while maintaining respect for the values of Islam, and with adherence to the customs and traditions of Qatari Society”.
Authorities called on the public to report “any goods bearing logos or designs contrary to customs and traditions and specify their locations so that the ministry’s inspectors can take the necessary measures.”
The news was met with mixed reactions on social media, with some mocking the move while others applauding authorities for cracking down on symbols they saw to be against the norms and cultures of the state.