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Arab Countries

In total, there are 22 Arab countries that together make up the Arab league which was formed in 1945 to stimulate the sovereignty and independence, as well as the affairs and interests of the member states. In alphabetical order, these countries are Algeria, Bahrein, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunesia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Most of these countries are located in Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. There are many differences between these countries and customs that are ordinary in some of these countries, like taking off your shoes when entering a home, do not happen in the others. Therefore, do your research about the specific country you are visiting. Things as laws and social norms differ greatly amongst these countries. 

When you visit an Arab country, consider the following general things:

  • Do your research about the specific country you are visiting, as laws and social norms differ greatly among the different countries.
  • Be mindful of the way the locals dress and adjust your clothes accordingly. You do not have to completely veil yourself, except in some countries where it is mandatory by law (for example Saudi Arabia, Iran); and when visiting religious sites. However, in some areas, it is advisable to cover your arms and legs if you notice that the locals do it too, in order to not be offensive.
  • In Arab countries, alcohol is harder to find due to strict regulations that limit the sales. Do your research beforehand, as you will mostly find alcohol in licensed shops, bars, restaurants and hotels. Unless you see locals doing it, do not drink in public as it could be illegal.  
  • If you travel to an Arab country during Ramadan, pay attention to your eating habits. For example, refrain from consuming food or drinks in public during fasting time out of respect for the people who are adhering. Alcohol will be harder to find during Ramadan, even in legal places.

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