4 Jul 2016

Stop wearing robes, UAE tells travellers

1:01 pm on 4 July 2016

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is urging men to avoid wearing the white robes, headscarf and headband of the national dress when travelling overseas.

An Emirati man walks past a restaurant boat adorned for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

An Emirati man walks past a restaurant boat adorned for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Photo: AFP

The warning comes after a businessman visiting the United States was wrestled to the ground and held as an Islamic State suspect.

The Emirati man was detained in Ohio last week after a hotel clerk called the police to report what she described as a man affiliated to Islamic State talking on his phone in the hotel lobby.

Local newspapers said Avon police released the man after they realised their mistake, but he fainted and needed hospital treatment.

He reportedly hired a lawyer, saying he had not received an apology either from the police or the hotel.

UAE newspaper Gulf News published photos of the Emirati man in white robes being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before being led away by police.

The UAE foreign ministry said in a statement it had summoned US deputy ambassador Ethan Goldrich to protest the "abusive treatment by the Ohio police of a UAE citizen" and to deplore the filming of the arrest, which it described as defamation.

"The UAE cares for the safety of its citizens and demands clarifications about the incident," it said in a statement carried by WAM state news agency.

The ministry tweeted a warning about wearing traditional dress.

"For citizens travelling outside the country, and in order to ensure their safety, we point out not to wear formal dress while traveling, especially in public places," the message said.

The 41-year-old, identified as Ahmed al-Menhali, was visiting the United States for medical treatment, English-language UAE newspaper The National said.

- Reuters