Freedom of religion in the United Arab Emirates

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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 Shia Muslim expatriates have been deported from the UAE,[4][5][6] Lebanese Shia families in particular have been deported for their alleged sympathy for Hezbollah.[7][8][9][10][11][12] According to some organizations, more than 8,000 Shia expats have been deported from the UAE in recent years.[13][14]

Apostasy

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

References

  1. "US department of state - background note:United Arab Emirates". 
  2. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/gulf/uae-religion.htm
  3. "United Arab Emirates: International Religious Freedom Report 2007". United States Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  4. "Shiites deported from Gulf lament injustice". Daily Star. 4 July 2013. 
  5. "Concern over deportations from Gulf Arab states". rte.ie. 5 July 2013. 
  6. "UAE urged to allow appeal on deportations". Financial Times. July 2013. 
  7. "UAE deportations raise questions in Lebanon". Global Post. July 2013. 
  8. "Lebanese Shiites Ousted from Gulf over Hizbullah Ties". naharnet.com. July 2013. 
  9. "Lebanese Living in UAE Fear Deportation". Al Monitor. 2013. 
  10. "UAE Deports 125 Lebanese Citizens". Al Monitor. 2013. 
  11. "UAE/Lebanon: Allow Lebanese/Palestinian Deportees to Appeal". Human Rights Watch. 2010. 
  12. "Lebanese Families in UAE Face Deportations on Short Notice". Al Monitor. 2012. 
  13. Ana Maria Luca (5 June 2013). "Hezbollah and the Gulf". 
  14. "UAE said to deport dozens of Lebanese, mostly Shiite Muslims". Beirut: Yahoo! News. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  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