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Freedom of religion in the United Arab Emirates

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Title: Freedom of religion in the United Arab Emirates  
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Subject: Bahá'í Faith in the United Arab Emirates, Freedom of religion, Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia, Freedom of religion in Azerbaijan, Freedom of religion in Syria
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Freedom of religion in the United Arab Emirates

The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates provides for freedom of religion in accordance with established customs, and the government generally respects this right in practice; however, there were some restrictions. The federal Constitution declares that Islam is the official religion of the country.

Religious demography

The country has an area of 82,880 km² (30,000 sq. mi) and a non-permanent resident (as all work visas have a maximum renewable tenure of 2 years, previously 3 years) population of 7.4 million (2010 est.). Only 10% of residents are UAE citizens.[1] According to the 2005 census, 100% Of the citizens are Muslim; 85 percent are Sunni Muslim and 15 percent are Shi'a.[2] Foreigners are predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, although there are substantial numbers from the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and North America. According to a ministry report, which collected census data, 76 percent of the total population is Muslim, 9 percent is Christian, and 15 percent is other. Unofficial figures estimate that at least 15 percent of the population is Hindu, 5 percent is Buddhist, and 5 percent belong to other religious groups, including Parsi, Bahá'í, and Sikh.[3]

Religious discrimination

In recent years, a large number of [13][14]


Apostasy is a crime in the United Arab Emirates.[15] In 1978, UAE began the process of Islamising the nation's law, after its council of ministers voted to appoint a High Committee to identify all its laws that conflicted with Sharia. Among the many changes that followed, UAE incorporated hudud crimes of Sharia into its Penal Code - apostasy being one of them.[16] Article 1 and Article 66 of UAE's Penal Code requires hudud crimes to be punished with the death penalty.[17][18]

See also


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  15. ^ UAE - Laws Criminalizing Apostasy Library of Congress (May 2014)
  16. ^ Butti Sultan Butti Ali Al-Muhairi (1996), The Islamisation of Laws in the UAE: The Case of the Penal Code, Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 4 (1996), pp. 350-371
  17. ^ Articles of Law 3 of 1987, al Jarida al Rasmiyya, vol. 182, 8 December 1987
  18. ^ Al-Muhairi (1997), Conclusion to the Series of Articles on the UAE Penal Law. Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 4
  • [1] US department of state - background note:United Arab Emirates
  • [2] International Religious Freedom Report 2007 - UAE
  • United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. United Arab Emirates: International Religious Freedom Report 2007. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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