Friday, May 18, 2012

Tourism Ministry bans discrimination at beaches

At Beirut’s Sporting Club, which has long been accused of racist policies, public relations manager Walid Abu Nasser told The Daily Star he was aware of the circular, but considered it “totally wrong. I asked them [the ministry] to please specify, in a complete list, all people I should let into private clubs. They should first of all decide what the rules are for private clubs, and what the rules are for public beaches.”

According to Abu Nasser, Sporting Club’s policy “has always been that any kind of worker, bodyguard, security, escort, maid – any help except for those medically required – are not allowed on the premises.” He added that he considered this to be “social,” rather than racial selection.

Abu Nasser said Sporting Club does screen non-members at the door.

“We screen the clients as to whether they have come introduced by someone at the club,” he said. “They also have to fit a certain profile that we require to maintain a homogeneous atmosphere regardless of whether [potential entrants] are Lebanese, workers or foreigners – it doesn’t matter.”

He continued that the club’s policy was not related to “racial issues,” and that the club reserves the right to turn away anyone at its door, including families with many children, or unaccompanied men.

“It has nothing to do with anything except for what we deem is reasonable for the club’s members to feel comfortable in the environment that they are used to. The same thing happens at any nightclub,” Abu Nasser said, adding that the club has foreign members including employees of the United Nations and embassies.

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