CAIRO: The Ministry of Tourism has decided to temporarily close a shopping mall after it banned a Saudi from entering in his traditional garment “thawb” last week, according to a Sunday statement by the ministry.
The one-month closure decision comes due to the mall’s “harming to the country’s tourist reputation” and for allegedly operating with an expired permit, according to the statement.
A shopping center in Sheikh Zayed city in Giza stopped two men; an Egyptian and a Saudi, because their outfits did not match the place’s dress code. A video of the incident was circulated on social media.
Minister of Tourism Khaled Ramy ordered an investigation into the incident, met with the Saudi man and apologized to him, Youm7 reported.
The mall’s manager, Ahmed el-Saadawy denied he meant to insult anyone wearing the thawb, be it an Egyptian or from a Gulf state, according to Youm7. The mall includes 15 restaurants and 1,500 workers, he added.
El-Saadawy told Youm7 that he applies the mall’s rules on everyone without discrimination, claiming that a senior official at the Tourism Ministry told him to allow “any Gulf national in thawb but [do not allow] Egyptians [in this garment.]”
In Gulf countries, most men wear the thawb, also known as dishdasha and Kandura in some Gulf states, as their traditional costume. The garment makes top fashion in those states.
In Egypt, the thawb, known as the Jalabiya, is mainly worn by locals of the Delta and Upper Egypt.
Some bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Egypt do not allow veiled women inside, while others require “veil” notification during reservation.