Egypt minister apologises to Saudi national over restaurant ban

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 May 2015

The eatery that barred a Saudi man from entering for wearing the traditional galabiya robe has reportedly been ordered to close for a month

Tourism minister
Egypt's tourism minister Khaled Ramy (Photo: Ahram Arabic)

Egypt's tourism minister has personally apologised to a Saudi national who was barred from entering a Cairo restaurant for wearing a traditional white robe, while the ministry has reportedly ordered the eatery be shut down.

A video has gone viral online of a staff member at a restaurant in the western outskirts of Cairo telling a Saudi man, Ghaleb Hazzaa, that he was not allowed in because he was wearing a galabiya, in contravention of the restaurant's dress code.

Minister Khaled Ramy received Hazzaa at his office on Thursday to offer a formal apology for what he said was an "unique" incident that did not reflect Egyptians' attitude towards tourists and fellow Arabs, his office said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Abdel Fattah Al-Assy, the ministry's undersecretary said  on TV that the punishment for such behaviour was closure of the venue where the violation had occured and the cancelation of its license.

"I apologise not only to the Saudi nation, but to all Arab people for this improper act by a person who does not understand his job," Al-Assy said.

He added that a ministry committee went to the restaurant to draw up a full report about the incident.

Egyptian daily newspaper El-Watan on Thursday quoted Al-Assy as saying that the ministry has ordered a one-month closure of the restaurant.

"The restaurant will be shut down for a month after investigations carried out Wednesday proved the management's mistake."

Ahram Online could not immediately reach the ministry officials to corroborate the closure.

Earlier this week, a similar video was widely circulated online in which an Emirati woman scolded Egyptian actress Abeer Sabry and Tunisian actress Feryal Youssef at a Dubai shopping mall for what she deemed to be their improper clothing, prompting a security official to formally apologise and promise legal action against the woman. 

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