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Middle Fingers and the Middle East

800px-Dubai_2010 Dubai's highest court, the Court of Cassation, gave the middle finger to the middle finger today -- so to speak -- making it illegal to flip someone off there, The Associated Press reports. So, if you gesture in said manner, you practically ensure yourself a one-way ticket out of the United Arab Emirates. The AP reminds readers that Dubai is no Las Vegas -- while the showy city begs you to let your guard down, that's probably not a good idea:

But in Dubai's cultural soup -- dominated by foreign workers, visitors and sun-seeking vacationers -- such rules can seem far removed from the skyscrapers, Western-style malls and lifestyle options that are much closer to California than Cairo. The court ruling is the latest reminder of Dubai's split personalities as both ambitiously cosmopolitan and instinctively conservative.

The ruling stemmed from the case of a Pakistani man who flipped off the Dubai Police during a traffic altercation, which resulted in a one-month jail sentence and deportation, which he disputed (to no avail). Other foreigners (they make up a large majority of the emirate's population) have faced similar legal trouble over "provocative" kissing in public, as well as steamy text messages. So, even though Bryan Adams was set to rock Dubai in December of last year, it is still a good idea to be very mindful of cultural mores.

Brendan McKenna is Law.com's news editor.

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 10, 2011 at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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