File - Emirati men gather in a traditional cafe erected at at the International Hunting and Equestrian exhibition in Abu Dhabi on September 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB
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Think of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf and what springs to mind?Probably all of the above, and therein lies the crux for UAE citizens, who comprise just one in 10 of their own country's population.Emiratis are trying to preserve their tribal customs, including the Bedouin lifestyle, against a tsunami of alien influences from a foreign labor force that has transformed their lives.For an Emirati, tribal affiliation is a social anchor, along with customs like camel racing in which the best animals can cost millions of dollars.Its oil wealth and flourishing economy has long attracted foreign workers.Musallam believes a solid cultural front – rooted in tribal customs – is essential in countering the influences of large foreign communities, an apparent reference to Asians and Westerners.
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