The contest, organized by a private company in Dubai, is open to "Emiratis and foreign residents in the Emirates," according to a poster reprinted by the daily Al-Khaleej newspaper. The name of the company was not given.

Entrants must be "between 18 and 28, have a university diploma and possess a sufficient level of cultural knowledge", the content requirements reportedly state.

The posters also had two mobile phone numbers "for more information," and an email address. However, the mobile numbers were not working on Tuesday.

The announcements have raised anger among residents of Sharjah, who believe that such a competition is contrary to the values of Islam and against the emirate's religious heritage, the newspaper said.

'Socially unacceptable'

Some residents have urged officials to ban such advertisements in the media and discourage similar contests in the future.

This kind of advertising "is socially unacceptable and is against custom," said Abdullah al-Ameri, Sharjah's town hall director, who promised to take steps to have the posters removed from Sharjah's streets.

The booming emirate of Dubai is by far the most liberal of the seven UAE members and has also become an advertising hub due to its rapid commercial expansion.

Dubai and Sharjah are two of the seven emirates which make up the UAE.