With the number of foreigners dwarfing that of locals in her hometown of Abu Dhabi, Asma al-Muhairi has become increasingly anxious at the prospect of her younger nieces abandoning their full-length black robes in favor of Western attire that seems to be everywhere she goes.
But it wasn't until the 23-year-old marketing worker came face to face with two scantily-clad female foreigners at one of the many luxury shopping malls in the United Arab Emirates that she decided to take action.
"While going to a mall, I saw two ladies wearing ... I can't say even shorts. It was underwear," said al-Muhairi, whose black abaya — a long garment worn by conservative Gulf women — is offset by a gold Versace watch and egg-shell blue handbag.
"Really, they were not shorts," she said. "I was standing and thinking: 'Why is this continuing? Why is it in the mall? I see families. I see kids around.'"
Failing to persuade the mall to intervene, al-Muhairi and another Emirati woman, Hanan al-Rayes, took to Twitter to air their concerns in May.
They were inundated with responses that prompted them to launch a Twitter campaign dubbed (at)UAEDressCode that aims to explore ways to combat the growing number of shoppers in low-cut dresses and hot pants.
Text and Images: AP
Image: In this photo taken Saturday,Women of different nationalities walk at the Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk in Dubai , United Arab Emirates. As the numbers of foreigners have increased, so have the stories of them violating the UAE's strict indecency code which limits drinking to bars and nightclubs and bans public displays of affection.