Defiant Brit struts through Dubai mall in a bikini

The latest in a string of conflicts over Western vacationers ignoring social codes in the United Arab Emirates

Published August 5, 2010 3:28PM (EDT)

A British woman stripped down to her bikini and strutted defiantly through a swanky Dubai mall after an Emirati woman covered head-to-toe in black confronted her for wearing a low-cut shirt, police said Thursday.

Mall security detained both women and took them to a police station for questioning Wednesday. They were released later in the day after the Emirati woman lodged a complaint for public indecency against the Briton, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Police said the British woman, whose name was not released, was shopping in the five-star Dubai Mall when the Emirati woman approached her and criticized her for wearing a shirt she felt violated the conservative dress code followed by most women in this Muslim country.

The two argued, then the Briton stripped down to her bikini and walked through the mall filled with luxury shops and near hotels with swimming pools.

The mall, one of the world's largest, has signs asking shoppers to dress modestly, although Westerners routinely ignore the advisories.

The incident is the latest in a string of cases involving Westerners in Dubai, a cosmopolitan, city-state with the most lenient social codes in the Gulf but a tendency to crackdown on foreigners who ignore the rules.

In March, a British couple was sentenced to a month in jail for kissing in public while an Indian couple was sentenced to three months' prison for exchanging steamy text messages.

In 2008, two Britons accused of having sex on the beach got three months behind bars, though their sentences were later suspended.

By Michael Casey

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