DUBAI // Worshippers at a popular mosque in Jumeirah have been told to follow a strict dress code when they come to pray.
People attending prayers at the Al Farooq Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque and Centre must not wear clothes deemed to be inappropriate, such as shorts or shirts with large logos.
“We’ve been told not to allow people wearing shorts and pictures on their shirts,” said Shehab Uddin, a security guard at the mosque.
“The security is here all the time, throughout the year. We coordinate the parking as we have a large number of visitors in Ramadan.
“Our main purpose is to make sure people abide by the rules and regulations of the mosque as set by the management.”
Signs have been posted informing people of the dress code. It states shorts, short dresses or skirts and sleeveless shirts are not allowed. Clothing with pictures, drawings, slogans, or symbols on are also banned.
“The security’s main purpose is to ensure people are properly attired so as not to offend their fellow worshippers,” said Mr Khalek, who manages the mosque.
“Just to give you an idea of what we mean, we’ve actually had people coming to the mosque in Heineken shirts. How can we allow that?
“People should be covered to the ankle. Also, we don’t allow photos and images which may be distracting to people trying to pray.”
The Al Farooq mosque was built three years ago by the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Charity Foundation at a cost of Dh100 million.
“The mosque has Muslim and non-Muslim visitors, including high ranking delegates from around the world, so we need the security,” said Mr Khalek.
The mosque has drawn comparisons with the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul, as its four minarets tower over its neighbourhood.
“The Al Farooq mosque is a privately owned and managed mosque, we are aware of their activities,” said Yousif Al Hammadi, the head of media at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).
“All mosques in the emirate are under our supervision, but some are privately managed by the owner.”
The majority of people who attend prayers follow the rules, although a few have been turned away.
“I was shocked when they told me I could not enter because my polo shirt had the number three written on it,” said Mohammed Kutti, a 43-year-old sales executive who lives in Sharjah and was stopped by security guards on his way to Taraweeh prayers.
“I have never seen security on a mosque in the UAE, it was very strange to see them.
“I was not doing anything wrong, my clothes were not offensive, they have no right to make me leave the mosque.”
The Al Farooq mosque is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is also used as a community centre and houses offices for the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation.
“All the authorities are aware of everything we do here,” said Mr Khalek.
“IACAD supervises all the Islamic activities, sermons and prayers. Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department oversees all the tourists activities we have, so all the authorities are aware of the mosque and the centre and what we do here.”
Mr Al Hammadi said IACAD is always available to address people’s complaints.
“Our doors are always open, anyone with a complaint can come to us and we will address the matter swiftly and diligently,” he said.