DUBAI// A listings magazine’s online feature highlighting “bars to try during Ramadan” has sparked a heated debate among social media users.
Time Out Dubai published the article on its website before the start of Ramadan, but removed it once Twitter users began posting messages using the hashtag #StopTimeOutDubai.
The guide named its “top-five” bars that are open and serving alcohol after sunset.
More than 300 people have tweeted in response, with opinions ranging from outright hostility to puzzlement about all the fuss.
“How disrespectful is that? @TimeOutDubai guide to the Top 5 bars to try during Ramadan,” tweeted Khaled Al Fahim.
“@TimeOutDubai reflects a culture that has lost its common courtesy.”
Jubara Al Marar wrote: “They think Ramadan is a joke? And giving advice to where should drink in Ramadan. Disrespect.”
“Those kind of magazines should be banned from the country as they don’t respect the culture and the community.”
Time Out Dubai responded by posting an apology on its Twitter account on Monday.
“We would like to apologise for any offence caused by our recent article on the subject of nightlife during Ramadan,” it said. “We respect local culture and traditions and this was an error of judgment on our part.”
Although the guide was removed, cached copies show that it was initially published on or about July 17. It was replaced with a short article advising people to contact bars and clubs in advance to find out which were open during Ramadan.
Many Twitter users felt the issue had been blown out of proportion.
“Not everyone is fasting or is a Muslim,” tweeted one. “I’m a Muslim and fasting proudly, yet I’m not offended by this because I’m simply not associated with this ad.”
Others felt once the guide had been removed it should be the end of the matter.
“So, they listened and pulled the article out,” said Saad Rabia. “Can everyone put their pitchforks down aside and appreciate how great they are?”
For others, the guide was more likely to be read by tourists than people living in Dubai.
“Timeout readers are mainly tourists, right?” said @AnisaAmrekeeya. “Let them go to the bars and spend, would help the Dubai economy.”
Others were bemused by the controversy.
“Why is #stoptimeoutdubai trending?” asked Rachel McArthur. “Come one guys – it was an error of judgment. They’ve pulled the article. Done! Ramadan Kareem.”
Ismail tweeted: “Culturally insensitive – agreed. Realised error in judgment, article taken down, mistake corrected. Move on.”
Hassan Galadari, an assistant professor in the department of medicine at UAE University, tweeted: “The magazine already retracted and apologised. We are a forgiving people. Our Prophet and our leaders have taught us that.”