In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
We have observed that there has been a sparked interest in the community to hear the story of our unfortunate incident with the Mina A’Salam World Cup Tent in Madinat Jumeirah. Initially, we had no intention of sharing this story and were hoping that appropriate measures would be taken by hotel management to restore our honor that was scandalously destroyed publicly as you will witness below.
We are not vindictive people by nature; rather we are forgiving, kind, and generous. This incident came as a shock to us and the way it was handled was even more shocking. Therefore, we believe it is crucial that we escalate this further and ask for justice to be done.
The people involved in my party do not only hail from great educational backgrounds but also come from reputable and respectful families. We are well known in the community and have built outstanding reputations around interpersonal etiquette as well as work ethic and diligence. We have each lived in multiple countries, are very culturally intelligent, and do not require any material benefit or social status. The people involved are Dr. I. Al-Marzouqi, H. Al-Attas, and I (M. Kazim).
Our initiative to share this information with the wider community is solely to raise awareness to the kind of injustice that was done to us that probably occurs on a daily basis but is never spoken about. We have made it our mission to pursue this until we receive
- A public apology by Mina A’Salam and Jumeirah International that is seen and heard by the general public through means of media or at a public event solely dedicated for our incident (as we were publicly humiliated repetitively) that explicitly states our names
- Disciplinary action is taken against the two security officers who abused their authority
- Evidence is presented to the general public that such a situation will never recur (through staff education, proper escalation of crises, and cultural awareness)
That said, we would like to begin illustrating the series of disgraceful events that astounded us on Wednesday 07/07/2010 and the disappointing handling of the situation by Mina A’Salam management.
I, Mohammed Kazim, was the first to arrive at the venue at 9:15pm when I was told that tables were not available. As an alternative, I was instructed by the staff at the door to gather bean bags and find a space by at the far end to sit at. I was successful in finding three bean bags and a space to sit at by the tall bar tables comfortably while I waited for the rest in our party to arrive. At this point I call and cancel our alternate arrangements for watching the Semi-Final (Germany vs. Spain) since we were secured seats.
At around 9:40pm, I was told by a member of the staff in a black dress shirt to move to an area closer to the screen which was in the vicinity of an already booked table. I asked if that is a problem since that is someone else’s table and was told that it is fine. At that point, I carried the 3 bean bags over to the area in front of their table closer to the screen which had none at the time (no people or bean bags).
At 10:10pm, the rest of our party arrived. Shortly after the game had begun (~10:34pm), we were approached by 2 security individuals (Bahaa Ala’eddin – Egyptian and Tarek- Emirati) and were being asked to move from the area we were situated in. We made the security officers understand our situation and the fact that we were placed there by the tent staff. Tarek was very understanding of the situation and tried to mediate between us and the other security officer.
After a few negotiations, we recommended to Bahaa to find us an alternative location where we could be seated so that we move. However, we were reciprocated by lies after lies in efforts of making us leave the area we were in. Dr. IM then went with Bahaa to see what alternatives were there for us. After recommending 3 or 4 different areas we could potentially move to, the only offered solution from Bahaa was for us to either stand or leave, which was not acceptable to us by any means given the efforts of early arrival (some of us from Abu Dhabi) and the fact that our food/drinks were paid for and had arrived. Bahaa escorted Dr.
IM to Andrea Ziedler Arslan (AZ), the manager of events at the tent, who also said that no alternatives exist. At this point Dr. IM got annoyed at the unwillingness of the staff to cooperate and wanted to continue watching the game so he asked them to approach us during halftime.
Bahaa, disappointed at his lack of power, then continued his plight to get us removed from there unjustifiably by calling Yaser (the CID coordinator). When Yaser arrived, he committed a felony by claiming to be a Dubai police official and also got physical by lightly exerting some force on us in his attempt to get us expelled from the tent (WHEN WE HAVE NOT YET DONE ANYTHING WRONG). The security individuals then contacted the CID (undercover police Khalfan), who arrived at the scene. After discussing the situation with Khalfan, he agreed that we had the right of being where we were and apologized for the inconvenience and left.
At halftime, I, M Kazim, personally approached the table whose space we were sitting in and apologized for the inconvenience. I even explained to them that we would not just impose ourselves on their table and that we were placed there by the tent staff. We also expressed to them that we want them to understand our situation. Over the course of the game we approached them several times and explained the situation. We were able to come to a mutual understanding with the table that we would even share the bean bags that we had brought over with them as a gesture of kindness and understanding from our end.
However, Bahaa and Yaser, even more disappointed at their lack of power called in the Dubai Police and claimed that we were disturbing the peace at the table (while we were all just enjoying the game in a civil manner). Please keep in mind that none of us were drinking or acting in an uncivil manner. Several police officers in uniform arrived at the scene that interrupted us about 2-3 times throughout the game, a very humiliating experience as this is happening in front of 200-300 people. We were now being accused of criminal activity for nothing wrong we have done but for the insecurity of two lying and disrespectful security officers (how ironic). Every time the situation was explained, the police would shy away because they realized we were not at fault.
The security staff then presented to the police evidence that the table was booked by the larger party (Dubai Select group) and insisted we get removed from that area. The police, under the instruction of Bahaa came back to see us to resolve the matter. Then, when the game went into overtime (last 3 minutes), we were forcefully, dragged out in front of the entire tent in our national dress and made to stand in the common area. While we were being dragged out, we heard people yelling curses at us assuming we are criminals who are disturbing the peace when in reality all we wanted was our right to watch an important game comfortably without any problems.
The location was a right that was granted to us by the tent staff. A mistake that was not ours but theirs suddenly made us criminals. At this point we were standing in the hallway, the insecure security officer, Bahaa looked at the cops and publicly shouted at us demanding we left the tent, abusing his authority. “Outside” he yelled as people stared at us and swore and cursed at us. The police did NOT grant him his wish and asked us to remain standing. Bahaa, knowing he had no more power and that he had lost face quickly exited the tent through the rear door.
It is very difficult to explain in writing the kinds of emotions we were feeling. It is humiliation in front of 200-300 people that was entirely unnecessary and uncalled for. Where did the respect factor of hospitality go? Is this what Jumeirah International intends for its guests? It is unnecessary for the security staff to be involved in such a scene before the management have a word with us. Secondly, it is unnecessary for legal action (calling the police) to be taken before negotiating with the management who never showed up by our location. It is surprising how you can serve us food and drinks at our location yet you try to kick us out of the location. Isn’t this outrageous?! Being yelled and cursed at, pushed around, escorted by policemen, and asked to leave the tent was a ridiculous reaction to a mistake that was made on their behalf. The best part is NO ONE APOLOGIZED. We never got any refunds and we were told that the other party that had booked the table was compensated!!!!
We were then compelled to take matters further to the duty manager and finally we met Ms. Andrea Ziedler Arslan. Ms. Andrea continued to defend her staff while we were explaining the situation. However, she did show a keen interest in trying to resolve the matter and showed us sincere emotion. We then emailed the hotel management demanding that we receive four requests:
- A public apology from the staff at the final game
- A police escort expelling the two security officers of the tent
- Us pointing and yelling out to the security officers as they leave
- A table to compensate us for all the interruptions
We met with the general manager of Mina A’Salam, Mahmoud Sakr. Mr. Sakr was very kind and listened to our every request. Others accompanying Mr. Sakr at the meeting included Andrea, executive director of food and beverage, and hotel security management (UAE nationals). All of whom continued to defend their staff and doubt the truthfulness of the situation as was described by us. After explaining the entire situation and its importance on our honor , our party agreed to accepting a public apology and disciplinary action. However, we were offered by them
- Free stay at Madinat Jumeirah suites
- Free table as guests of Jumeirah at the tent for the final game
- The company of Mr. Sakr and his time at the game
We rejected their offer and accepted number 2 conditionally that they publicly apologize. This request was not granted so we ended up refusing all their offers and leaving.
This is what happened. The emotional content and the implications of this behavior have yet not been described. These require a face to face explanation which we will be more than willing to explain to anyone.
We would like to remind everyone that we are not looking for trouble. We do not want this to get blown out of proportion. We do not want people to use this to spur any kind of negativity. We want to maintain respect and honor the factors that are important to us and to demand what was rightfully ours. How much can we let people abuse power and step all over us? What we want is justice in the terms described above. We hope this long letter has clearly defined our goals and accurately described the event. We appreciate all your support and say we will not let this go until justice is made. This is for you, us, our families, our country, and our people.