x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE lawyers express dismay at Dubai gym's new controversial ad

"The actions in the advertisement are outrageous and demeaning to the UAE's laws and ethics," said Emirati lawyer Yousef Al Bahar.

DUBAI // A controversial advertisement for a Dubai-based gym airing on YouTube can be considered committing a deliberate and public act of indecency and breaching modesty according to UAE law, lawyers said.

Emirati lawyer Yousef Al Bahar said anyone who commits a public act of indecency that breaches the modesty of another is punishable by a six-month prison term if convicted.

After viewing the video, produced by Circuit Factory, Mr Al Bahar said: "The actions in the advertisement are outrageous and demeaning to the UAE's laws and ethics."

Children and teenagers are at great risk because this sort of advertisement is unrestricted or controlled, as those on television might be, he said.

"The ad is using a twisted way to promote sports, through which it is sending a distorted message to a great segment of the community."

Eman AlRifaee, a female Emirati laywer, said the ad includes at least three crimes: breaching modesty, promoting sin and even the act of consensual sex. She said that the gym must be charged by authorities.

"Ads are made to promote, and if I see this ad, it will certainly promote Dubai and the UAE to me in a distorted way," she said.

Mr Al Bahar added that any member of the community has the right, by law, to lodge a complaint against the gym through Dubai Police's Electronic Crimes section, and the matter will be passed to Dubai Prosecution.

"He who files a complaint against the gym and does not have a personal interest in doing so, he or she is rather afraid for the sake of other people and other children who may get manipulated through such an ad which is, in my opinion, more dangerous to underaged than pornographic clips," he said.

Nidaa Al Masri, a female attorney, said the advertisement is definitely breaking the law since any advertisement or behaviour shown in the UAE has to follow the country's laws, which are derived from Sharia.

The advert is "a clear and bold promotion for changing sexual orientation as a getaway from all their marital problems," she said.

Mrs Al Masri, a mother of two, said the ad is not merely like any other act of public indecency, which might be seen by only a few people, but can be viewed by thousands of people, some of whom may be minors.

"I consider it way more an act of public indecency," said Ms Al Masri, who added that, personally, she found it demeaning to women. "Married sex life is a sacred matter and not animal-like, as shown in the ad. If a woman is not appealing in looks, she has much more to give and certainly does not deserve to be stepped aside by the husband who would look for his interests in the same sex.

"The success of married life is not depending on how a woman looks, nor is it a burden on her shoulders alone, nor will it be solved by only joining the gym," she said.

Other sports clubs and gyms should lodge complaints against Circuit Factory, she said, because its ad distorts their noble goals of fitness.

Kawther Ibrahim found the video insulting to men and women.

"A man is shown so weak that he cannot face his marital problems with is own wife clearly and honestly that he prefers to turn to other men for pleasure," she said.

 

salamir@thenational.ae