The Qatari solution

It seems the Qataris are doing much better than the Saudis when it comes to mobile phone camera scandals. They have devised a fairly ingenious solution.

DOHA: A new type of security service provider is fast emerging in Qatar, thriving on the fear of young Qatari women being photographed on the sly with mobile handsets fitted with a camera, particularly in wedding parties.

The companies employ a number of Arabic-speaking women who are provided training in handling devices that can detect a mobile phone. The women are trained in dealing politely with others and keeping an eye in wedding parties especially, to see if someone has nonetheless sneaked, hiding a camera-fitted mobile phone.

Secret use of mobile phone cameras has generated so much fear among young Qatari women that it is almost a must for a family having a wedding party in a hotel or a hall, to hire a security agency to prevent the nuisance. This is making Qatari weddings a more expensive affair, according to Al Sharq.

Source: [The Peninsula]

By Natasha Tynes

I’m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.

7 comments

  1. Hiring secuirity agencies ! That makes me ask, how do the Qatari or Saudi women look like !!! Are they that charming !

  2. Jareer, you highlight the real issue here actually. Who knows how charming they are. Who could tell? Most women in this part of the world are covered head to toe in abaya. The exposed flesh is limited to perhaps a face, perhaps eyes, perhaps nothing. So there is tremendous curiosity.
    When brides are married the wedding photos often show only the man; wedding announcements are the same. Again, there is a sort of privation from not seeing the bride that generates great interest.
    And IMHO it points to a larger issue: All this segregation creates not only great interest and curiosity, it generates some men that don’t really know how to properly interact with women; instead tending to objectify them.
    And what does that curiosity and objectification yield? Well on the small scale it generates mobile phone photographs of wedding celebrations and brides but on the larger scale I think you could connect it right down to honor crimes. I’m not trying to generalize here and say “all men” but there’s a far too large chunk of them. At least, that’s my opinion.

  3. That was a good analysis; I like it. That reminded me of a story about a man who once sent this strange invitation to his friend . Invitation says : ” You and the monkhaar “nose” of your wife are cordially invited to our house on dinner next week !”

  4. okay let me get this straight. is sneaking a picture against the law or taking one of a woman at the parties, with her consent, as well is against the law?
    because if the rules are only about sneaking a picture, then i am so for that. i know i would not want someone sneaking a picture of me without me knowing, especially if they are a stranger.

  5. Agreed on the ‘sneaking pictures’ thing generally Linda. Those laws are being passed all over the world. There’s a whole raft of websites dedicated to the phenomena. No surprise there I suppose. But I digress. The idea, as I understand it from friends and those invitees at these soirees, is that no pictures are allowed at all. And I understand that the reason is because they don’t want any pictures of the bride getting out there for reasons that I would call “all things abaya.”
    I chose to go off on that tangent rather than the “sneaking pictures of the ladies,” which is a notable problem in and of itself. I’m saying these wedding party people seem to want to control/prevent any pictures of the lady in question getting out. So, you can imagine, the introduction of a sneaky little camera phone makes it really tricky to stop. And I turn that back to the idea I first mentioned: Sex segregation and the curiosity and “intensity in desire” it brings.
    On another note, I do remember hearing that another reason the Saudis wanted to keep the camera phones at bay was that the ladies themselves were taking their own picture with the cameras and beaming it anonymously to others via Bluetooth, sometimes soliciting illicit affairs. I kid you not. I’ve heard of them same here in Doha and nearly seen such a situation develop.

  6. All this segregation creates not only great interest and curiosity, it generates some men that don’t really know how to properly interact with women; instead tending to objectify them.

    Tell me about it! In Tabriz, a relatively religious Azari city in northwestern Iran, some girls were having a birthday party. You know, nothing usual, except they of course didn’t have their hijabs on. It just so happened that they also filmed their party, a popular practise in Iran. Next thing you know the film find its way to the side street black market and is being multiplied in huge numbers. Imagine that! Some of these poor girls were so scared that they committed suicide! And they hadn’t done nothing ‘wrong’, this wasn’t an orgy or anything.

    On another note, I do remember hearing that another reason the Saudis wanted to keep the camera phones at bay was that the ladies themselves were taking their own picture with the cameras and beaming it anonymously to others via Bluetooth, sometimes soliciting illicit affairs. I kid you not. I’ve heard of them same here in Doha and nearly seen such a situation develop.

    Haha, that’s bloody high tech! Bluetooth enabled phones are just becoming common in the west, they’re relatively expensive.

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