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Posted On: 15 June 2008 10:22 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Workers no-go zones criticised

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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MOST Qataris interviewed by Gulf Times have dismissed the idea of no-go zones for bachelors on Fridays as “discriminatory”. Plain-clothes policemen were seen preventing large groups of bachelors from entering a souq in Doha’s banking district on Friday. The former dean of the Shariah College at Qatar University, Dr Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, said single-status labourers had the full right to go to souqs and treat themselves on their weekly holidays. “I believe that denying labourers access to a specific area is not a civilised act,” al-Ansari said. “It would be taken as a human right violation,” he said. “We have brought them here and they deserve to be treated well. It is our responsibility to provide means and places of entertainment to them.” Al-Ansari also criticised the planning of the Industrial Area as “miserable”, saying that it should be reviewed. “With the current design of the Industrial Area, nobody has the right to impose any restrictions on the movement of single labourers in public gardens or on the Corniche,” he felt. “The state has to design the miserable Industrial Area and set up malls, cinemas, public garden there,” he said. Mariam al-Saad, a columnist of the Arrayah Arabic daily, saw the idea of preventing single expatriates from entering specific areas as “wrong”, saying that after a week of hard work labourers deserved a “happy weekend”. “Friday has always been the day when expatriate communities go outdoors and have fun. I think that it would be better for families who do not like mixing with workers and expatriates to stay at home,” she said. Hassan al-Jifairi, a social activist, called any procedure to isolate single-status expatriates or putting restrictions over their movement a violation of the human rights. “The problem, he said, had a hidden side. “There is some sort of imbalance in society in terms of the ratios of male and females,” he said. “Our society is not normal due to the recruitment rules which deny visas for single young women. This has created an abnormal situation where a majority of low-income single men has no chance of finding a suitable partner within Qatar and even if they get married at their home countries they can’t bring their wives here.” The deputy chairman of the Central Municipal Council (CMC), Jassem al-Malki, criticised the idea of banning expatriates from entering areas of entertainment. “It is unfair to bring 1.35mn expatriates who are contributing to the progress of Qatar and then deny them access to places of entertainment,” he said. “It is our mistake that we are not well prepared to deal with a situation like this,” al-Malki said. He called for building a community town with all facilities of entertainment in the Industrial Area. Gulf Times I agree with this. However it's an exaggeration to say 1.35m expats, it's more like 900k-1m and around 15-20% are professionals whereas the rest are labourers.