Monday, August 23, 2004

Alright, so they got an attitude, if you click through and read the beginning of the article. This is Dubai, and they have more right to an attitude and less attitude than possibly any country in the middle east. Still, something about the first few paragraphs doesn't live up to their reputation for hospitality. No wait - this article is quoted from the Guardian in Britain! Hmmm. Skip to this:

Dubai has transformed its standing as a centre of commerce by utilising the skills of migrant workers and professionals, who are subject to stringent but realistic conditions. Their welcome does not include placing them in holding centres and giving them food vouchers; there is no daily tabloid press portraying them as parasites. There are, however, a number of conditions. For example, they cannot buy property unless it is in designated zones. These zones are not ghettos - the aim is to ensure that the country's Islamic values are not undermined by western mores. In a recent public opinion survey, 84 per cent of Dubai residents said they felt "secure and safe", despite being a stone's throw from some of the most problematic countries in the world. The crime detection rate of 89 percent puts to shame our own struggle to detect crime.

Every police district employs a team of officers whose job is to ensure compliance to human rights. Senior police officers and politicians welcome these rights rather than see them as a hindrance. And, rather than adopt Britain's conventional method of putting police officers in classes and telling them what a Muslim or a Hindu looks like, operational officers are sent on intensive courses to learn the languages of the migrant communities, encouraging a true understanding of different cultures. They are expected to conduct interviews in these languages. The greatest threat to the UAE, and to Dubai in particular, is from the organised criminals who are inevitably attracted by the country's wealth.

There is growing evidence of the presence of southeast Asian gangs, west African drugs cartels and major-league British criminals using Dubai as a base for their activities. The extent of money laundering through the country's banks, and drug trafficking via its ports, are serious concerns for its government and for Britain. If Dubai is not to become a haven for organised criminals, the police forces of Britain and Dubai must collaborate. But while British officers can assist Dubai's police, there is a lot that British policing can learn from the Muslim world and its attitude to community relations. The idea that we know best in the West how to police our communities may soon have to be given a decent but final burial.

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