Friday, April 29, 2005

Move to lower employee monitoring costs is revealing - Khaleej Times

A circular issued by the Organisation and Management Department in Abu Dhabi prohibited women employees of all local government departments from wearing veil at their workplace. “This decision came to bridge the gap as regards the issue of discipline at the workplace. It aims to ensure that the employee will not leave her workplace during the working hours," the circular said. It added that the veil helped some employees to leave and return to their workplace without being noticed, even with the monitoring cameras.
Not all sections of the government agree with the move:

Shaikh Dr Mohammed Sulaiman Faraj, Senior Preacher at the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Auqaf, said hijab is a protective shield for woman as well as men against fitna or seduction and should not be taken out without legal necessity. "It is a command by Allah the Almighty for women to cover the parts of their body. There are different opinions that if there is no fitna then the woman can take it out from the parts covering her palm and face but this is not a call to ask people to take hijab out," he said. He added: "No one has the right to prohibit women from wearing hijab unless there is a legal necessity".
Equal treatment sought by female employees:
S. Amantullah, a government employee, said this move would compromise women's freedom. "It will be like infringing on our rights. This is about our freedom. No one has the right to tell us to take it out," she said. She said there were a lot of national male employees who leave their workplace during working hours and nobody questions them. "A lot of them come and leave and nobody dares to ask where they are going. So why should it be women."
Technological solution recommended:
"This is the 21st century. They came up with robots to act as camel jockeys... so why don't they come up with another smart hi-tech idea to identify employees and avoid this hassle. This is a religious matter and we should not tamper with it," said S. Amantullah.

She said many of her female colleagues were worried now after hearing the news, adding that nobody expected this from a Muslim country. "This is a Muslim country and if the government is doing this at its departments, then it will be opening Pandora's box," she said.

She said even without any such a procedures, any head of department or section should be having a system to monitor his staff. "If you are in charge of an office, if a lady worker is missing, you should know and you don't need to check and match faces to do that," she said.
Maybe the circular reveals more about the monitoring than about the monitored. Why are cameras being used to begin with?



Blogger secretdubai said...

I couldn't find the original article, but I found a "backlash/reaction" article in KT. It was rather shakily written (no surprise!) and one thing I did wonder - because of repeated references to the "veil" - was whether they actually banning full-face veil, not the hijab.

I find it extraordinary and quite unbelievable that they would be banning the actual headscarf. Whereas the full-face veil makes sense, because it is an affectation: unnecessary and irritating.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Acad Ronin said...

1) Interesting difference in views of the nature of the sexes. In the US a common view is that women need to be protected from the violence of men. In much of the Muslim world, the view appears to be that men must be protected from the seductive power of women. (This view also pertained to some degree in Europe in the Middle Ages.)

2) I agree that what is most likely was a ban on the full veil, or the mask, not the headscarf.

3) This is a "Nixon in China" moment. UAE officials can get away with measures that US state driver's license bureaus have backed off from.

5:37 AM  

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