Banned from a mall
Al Bawadi Mall banned laborers from entering the mall during peak hours, and plans to build them a mini-mall alongside the main shopping center. What do you think?
July 7, 2009 3:11 by Dana El Baltaji
A mall in Al Ain announced it will build a separate center for laborers after the management banned them from entering Al Bawadi Mall following complaints from mostly female patrons, reports Arabian Business.
The mini-mall, however, is unlikely to quell criticism of the ban, especially given the management’s explanation for its actions.
“This is not a total ban,” Khalid Shraim, the mall’s marketing manager explained to The National. “Laborers are allowed to use the mall’s rear entrance closest to Carrefour during the day and early evening, but they cannot come to the mall on weekends.”
“We are trying to maintain the quality of the mall and create a wholesome family shopping experience,” he added. “Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness on the part of the laborers as to what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t. It comes from a lack of education.”
“The biggest problem we have is them staring at women.”
The news has sparked outrage among laborers.
“A ban like this makes us feel like we are subhuman,” Iftikhar Hussein, a 24-year-old Pakistani construction worker said to the Abu Dhabi daily. “It is not fair to punish us all for the actions of a few.”
“We work very hard during the day and want to relax in the evening by walking around and seeing nice things.”
However, Mohammed al Suwaidi, 39, an Emirati businessman, supports the ban. “Unfortunately these people don’t know how to act,” he said. “They don’t understand that some things are not acceptable. It is better this way.”
The mall opened in December 2008, and hopes to attract up to eight million visitors a year.