A Story of Persecution from The United Arab Emirates
This week we are praying for The United Arab Emirates (or UAE). Here is some information on what life is like for Christians (and the persecution they face).
The UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf; expatriates make up around 85 percent of the population. The constitution provides for religious freedom on the condition that established customs, public policy or public morals are not violated. The government restricts this freedom in practice. Christians in the United Arab Emirates, who are mainly foreign workers, are mostly persecuted by the government’s discriminatory attitude and society’s hostile attitude towards Christianity, resulting sometimes in deportation.
The government is placing restrictions on the development of facilities for Christian migrants. Persecution also comes from those community members who monitor Christian migrants. This is a reality in the whole country, although smaller more conservative Emirates are more restrictive than the larger ones.
Muslim Background Believers are under severe pressure by relatives, family and Muslim society due to Islamic government, law and culture. All citizens are defined as Muslims and the law denies Muslims the freedom to change religion under penalty of the death. To avoid death, social stigma or other penalties, converts may be pressured to return to Islam, to hide their faith or to travel to another country where their conversion is allowed. There are very few local believers among the Muslim population. Evangelism is prohibited, but non-Muslim groups can worship freely in dedicated buildings or private homes.