UAE Warns Citizens To Avoid Wearing Traditional Clothing While Abroad

The advisory came after a man was mistakenly arrested in Ohio while wearing robes and a head scarf.

The United Arab Emirates warned its citizens to avoid wearing traditional clothing when traveling outside of the country on Sunday, less than a week after a businessman was mistakenly arrested in Ohio after a hotel clerk thought he was a terrorist.

In effort to ensure "personal safety," the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged UAE citizens to "respect the laws of a host country," pointing to bans on attire such as burqas in parts of Europe. While the advisory doesn't specifically mention the United States, The New York Times notes it was presumably released in response to last week's arrest of Ahmed al Menhali, a businessman from the country.

Menhali was dressed in robes and a head scarf at a hotel in Avon, Ohio, when a clerk called 911 to say he was "pledging his allegiance or something to ISIS" during a phone call in the hotel lobby. Police soon approached the businessman with weapons drawn, forced him to the ground and arrested him.

Bodycam footage released by law enforcement shows police officers later releasing the man, who was then taken to a medical center after he showed signs of a stroke. He was ultimately treated for minor injuries before being released.

Officials publicly apologized to Menhali on Saturday at the Cleveland branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Julia Shearson, the executive director of the chapter, commended such a swift response, but she told the Times it was still "shocking this happened."

"The bottom line is we understand the American people are on edge, and there’s definitely violence in the world, but we’ve come to this brute level of giving in to our fears," Shearson said.

Police said the incident was the result of "clear miscommunication."

Two other incidents over the weekend have prompted calls for hate crime investigations. On Saturday, a man was beaten outside a Florida mosque attended by the Orlando, Florida, shooter. And on Sunday, a Muslim man was shot on his way to morning prayer services in Houston. Officials behind both cases are unsure if the attacks were racially motivated.

Islamophobic acts have been on the rise since the deadly attacks in Paris and California at the end of 2015. Many American Muslims have said they fear retaliation following extremist attacks at home and abroad, including the recent mass shooting in Orlando.



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