The 5-5-5 Challenge: A Story Of Persecution In The United Arab Emirates

July 8, 2013 by Open Doors in Stories of Persecution

United Arab Emirates There are a few countries on the World Watch List that we can’t share stories from. Even if we were to use different names, the Christian population is so small, that the story could easily be traced back to the individual. For their security, we are providing a different way to pray for the country this week. Here are the top 10 things to know about what life is like for Christians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE):

    1. Around 80 percent of the population here are expats
    2. The constitution provides for some religious liberty, but the law denies Muslims the freedom to change religion.
    3. Muslim Background Believers may be pressured to return to Islam, hide their faith or leave the country.
    4. Non-Muslim groups can worship freely in dedicated buildings or private homes, but the government restricts the development of worship facilities for foreign Christians.
    5. Open evangelism is prohibited, but Christians in the country have many opportunities for Muslim Christian dialogue.
    6. Though there are some expat Christians, there are very few indigenous believers.
    7. The constitution and laws are fairly new, as the UAE gained its independence in 1971.
    8. The UAE is often seen as one of the most Westernized and liberal countries in the Middle East, but there are still a great number of restrictions for religious minorities.
    9. Since 2006, the standard weekend has been Friday and Saturday. This was established as a compromise between the Muslim holy day (Friday) and the Western weekend (Saturday and Sunday)
    10. Emirati typically wear a kandura, which is an ankle-length white tunic. Many Emirati women wear an abaya, which is a black over-garment, covering most parts of their body