Emirati may sue Dubai hotel over terrorist slam

Popular 'Ask Ali' writer and blogger says he has 'no option' but to take legal action against Sofitel, The Palm

Ali Alsaloom writes the popular 'Ask Ali' column, published in The National.
Ali Alsaloom writes the popular 'Ask Ali' column, published in The National.

An Emirati blogger, who writes the ‘Ask Ali’ column for UAE newspaper, The National, has said he will take legal action against Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa after a member of staff reportedly called him a terrorist.

The incident took place on June 12 following the logging of a complaint by Ali Alsaloom due to a booking error, his Twitter feed revealed.

Recounting the incident on social media, Alsaloom claimed the manager said: “Call the police… I don't need a guest like him in my hotel… terrorist!"

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Sofitel, The Palm apologised on Twitter, saying: “Sofitel The Palm met with @AskAli. The matter is being dealt with directly. We sincerely apologise to @AskAli for this unfortunate situation”.

However, Alsaloom’s most recent update on Twitter, is that he will pursue legal action against the hotel, having been left with “no options”.

On the evening of June 15, Alsaloom tweeted: “So after 72 hours of the hotel case I've shared before ... I tried giving the hotel an opportunity to apologise officially and they haven't!”

This was followed by: “I have been left with no options but to pursue the legal action against @SofitelDXBPalm …”

When contacted by Hotelier, a spokesperson from Sofitel, The Palm said: “We are taking this matter very seriously and are currently working with all parties on resolving it as quickly and amicably as possible. We are committed to providing the highest standards of service and care to all of our guests.”

Dr Jamal Hussein Al Sumaiti, director-general of Dubai Judicial Institute, told Khaleej Times that calling someone a terrorist very likely constitutes a violation of UAE laws.

“Our criminal law considers this a crime. It’s a crime because it’s insulting. In our law, it’s the same as calling someone an idiot.

“This is a misdemeanour that could result in a fine of not more than AED 10,000 (US $2722.46) or anywhere from a month to not more than three years (in jail).”

Dubai-based attorney Ashish Mehta also told Khaleej Times that the availability of witnesses is important in such cases. “It is important if there were witnesses. But such a thing would be libel, slander. The law has provisions for imprisonment.”

Ali Alsaloom was schooled in the US and Canada and has a degree in hospitality management & tourism and a master's in brand and cross-cultural management.

He is a member of the Professional Speakers Association of the Middle East and having joined the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority in 2005, he helped develop the city's first Meeting, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) department.

Alsaloom formed his own holding company, Maestro Enterprises, which created and introduced the 2010 Khalifa Fund Business Award "Embrace Arabia”.

His "Ask Ali" column, which is published in The National, answers questions on all things Emirati, from the country's working hours to cultural customs, and the best places to experience.


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