UAE Grants Christians ‘Freedom To Worship’

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Foreign and expatriate Christians in the UAE are granted freedom to worship, but are strictly prohibited from sharing their faith.

Church leaders in the UAE welcomed a new commitment of the United Arab Emirates (UEA) to religious tolerance, although in practice it only equates to freedom of worship for foreign and expatriate Christians.

The UAE’s Minister of Tolerance met with Christian leaders from across the Gulf States on Tuesday (16 January).

Catholic Bishop, Paul Hinder, congratulated the Emirate for allowing Christians “to have worship places since the mid-sixties of the last century”, adding, “It is an example for other countries in the region.”

Protestant leaders also affirmed the authorities’ support of Christians. The Rev Canon Andy Thomson stated that “The UAE is blazing a pathway in the region with their long established commitment to the values of tolerance and offering the right to worship to non-Muslim communities.”

Foreign and expatriate Christians in the UAE are granted freedom to worship, but are strictly prohibited from sharing their faith.

In sharp contrast, converts to Christianity from the country’s Arab Muslim population face persecution and opposition from family members and officials.

The law however, does not recognise conversion from Islam to Christianity, which technically still warrants the death penalty, although there are no known cases where it has been applied.

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