Qatar’s proposal for family-only mall days is being criticized as racial discrimination
The move is being called a form of segregation, but officials are saying that families deserve their own days in the mall. (AFP/File)
Qatar’s only elected body is to discuss whether certain days would be designated as family-only at the nation's eight biggest malls, however the move is already being condemned as racist. Dubbed the “bachelor ban”, many believe that it would directly discriminate against foreign laborers living in the country.
The proposal, which will be discussed on December 1, is being championed by Nasser Bin Ibrahim Al-Mohannadi, a member of the Central Municipal Council (CMC). He has described how many families claim that there are too many foreign laborers in the mall.
There are around 1.8 million migrant workers living in Qatar, which means they represent 90% of the population of the tiny Gulf state. Many of them are single men, who leave their families behind to find work abroad.
Human rights groups have already decried the proposal as a form of segregation. Workers may only have one day off per week and their opportunity for shopping could be severely restricted if the eight largest malls are off-limits to them.
One single male migrant worker from Ghana told AFP that Friday is his only shopping day, and that the move would cause a big problem for him. He feels that migrant workers are considered second-class citizens in Qatar.
This comes at a time when Qatar is already in the spotlight for its poor workers’ rights record, especially given the fact that it will host the 2022 football World Cup.