Dear Ali: Could you tell me about dogs in Dubai? Is it allowed to have a dog and what are the rules? From a cultural point of view, would people accept seeing me walking my dog? Also, is there any etiquette to observe when encountering fellow pedestrians? VS, Dubai
Dear VS: Of course, you are allowed to have a dog in the UAE. I am the proud owner of a saluki. The first person you need to ask permission to have a dog as a pet would be your landlord.
But yes, there are certain rules for dog owners living in the UAE that you need to pay attention to in order to avoid paying fines. It's a matter of protecting the animals and the residents.
The Dubai Municipality (DM) established rules for dog owners. For example, the dog needs to be on a leash and wear a muzzle in public places. Moreover, the dog must be registered with the Veterinary Services Section/DM, vaccinated, microchipped and carry a licence or a tag on them.
Just remember to always keep a copy of your health certificate and vaccination certificate with you. For more information please check the Dubai Kennels and Cattery website: www.dkc.ae.
In terms of how people would react to you when walking your dog in public, well, most of the time you would see dogs in a place where they welcome pets, and hence other neighborhoods would accept it and even enjoy it. But in case you come across people who showed negative body language towards you or your pet, the solution is simple: just go on a different path, or simply let everyone see clearly that you are in control of your dog and that the leash is not too long so there wouldn't be a chance for the dog to be close to the people around. Most Muslims won't mind a dog on a farm or by the beach or a park, but many would have a problem seeing the pet in public and they might be concerned if the place they see it is clean or not.
From a cultural point of view, dogs, or any other animals, we respect them all, and we love them all. However, we also have to remind ourselves why we have these animals, as well as where and how we should take them in our society.
Dear Ali: I am taking Arabic classes in Sharjah and would like to visit the mosques in the area. I have never been to a mosque before. Do I have to cover up when I go into the mosque? TL, Sharjah
Dear TL: First of all, I think it's wonderful that you are keen to learn our language. Secondly, our mosques will welcome you.
In Sharjah, you should pay a visit to the lovely Al Noor Mosque, which is located beside the great Khalid Lagoon by the Corniche. It's a very famous mosque so almost everyone in Sharjah knows it. Al Noor Mosque is considered the first mosque in Sharjah emirate to open its doors to the expatriate community and visitors so that they may learn about our faith and culture. You may visit every Monday at 10am (except public holidays) and most tours won't take more than an hour.
In terms of dress code, you would need to cover up just like anyone would when they enter a holy place, whether it's a mosque or a church. For men, wear something that covers the knees at least, and of course, a modest shirt. Women need to wear a modest dress; the centre will provide abayas and shaylas to put on when entering the mosque.
Try to contact Sharjah Center for Cultural Communication, which is responsible for carrying out the tours at the mosque. You can reach them at email@example.com or call 06 548 2211.
Ali Al Saloom is a cultural adviser and public speaker from the UAE. Follow @AskAli on Twitter, and visit www.ask-ali.com to ask him a question and to find his guidebooks to the UAE, priced at Dh50.