Sex and the City 2, hitting theaters this week, may be set in United Arab Emirates — but it wasn't filmed there. After the UAE's government deemed the film too provocative, the filmmakers were forced to move the production 4,000 miles, from Dubai to Morocco. SATC 2, which has been critically slammed for "anti-Muslim sentiments," isn't the only casualty of the emirate's strict laws against public expression of sexuality. Consider this timeline of Dubai's continuing crackdown on crimes of passion:
An Italian tourist and an Egyptian woman are hauled in for questioning after being spotted "embracing" in the back a taxi. After they admit to kissing and hugging, the man is fined $3,000, while the woman gets off easy with a mere $500 fine for "lewd behavior."
A 36-year-old Bulgarian woman stands "trial for kissing and cuddling" a 30-year-old Lebanese woman on a Dubai public beach. The same-sex cuddling misdemeanor is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, Gulf News reports.
Adulterous British tourists Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors are convicted to three months in prison for having sex on Jumeirah Beach, public indecency, and drunkenness. The prison sentence is later dropped, and the two are deported from the UAE and fined $272 each.
Dubai adopts new rules, applicable to all public places, banning dancing, kissing and holding hands, plus "all forms" of nudity and playing loud music. The new laws are enacted to further enforce foreigners' respect for Muslim culture.
Producers of Sex and the City 2 scrap plans to film in Dubai after authorities express displeasure about the script and the world "sex" being in the title. The MTV reality show "Paris Hilton Is My New BFF," however, is granted permission to film.
March 15, 2010
Dubai police arrest British couple Ayman Najafi, 24, and Charlotte Adams, 25, for kissing outside Bob's Easy Diner after another patron complains that they "were kissing on the mouth." Despite their pleas of innocence ("We kissed each other on the cheek as a greeting," Najafi maintains), the court sentences them to one month in jail and fines them $140 for being in public after consuming alcohol.
Two Emirates Airlines crew members are convicted of "coercion to commit sin" and sentenced to three months in jail after being caught exchanging sexually explicit text messages.
A newly-wed couple from Pakistan is sentenced to one month in prison and deportation after a police officer catches them having sex in their car. The punishment is eventually dropped, however, after a judge rules that the officer breached their privacy for peering in the car's blacked-out windows.