The United Arab Emirates and the Gospel
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), sharing the Arabian Peninsula with Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf. Like Saudi Arabia, all UAE citizens are Muslim and Islam is the official religion. Evangelism is prohibited and the law denies Muslims the freedom to change religion; converts face pressure to return to Islam. The constitution however provides for religious freedom… but the government restricts this freedom in practice.
Around 80% of the population of the UAE are expatriates working in the country. Non-Muslims in the UAE are allowed to worship freely but arrests, imprisonment and deportation still occur if expatriates evangelize or distribute Christian literature. Expatriate Christians however often have opportunities for discreet sharing; reports show that an Increasing number of people are coming to Christ.
One way the gospel message is getting into restricted Muslim nations is through satellite TV. For example in Iran, DOTA (Discipleship on The Air) radio and TV programs are used to get the gospel message to people in the Middle East. DOTA airs five days a week throughout the Persian speaking world emphasizing personal devotion, Scripture memory, Bible study and prayer. Several DOTA (referred to as BaHam) viewers have sent email messages to the program managers:
I would like to thank you for your program and let you know that I’m living in a very hard condition.
Dear Friend, I have some questions for you. I am wondering why you have become a Christian? What was wrong with your former belief? Why should someone change his religion?
Hi, I became a Christian since 11 months ago. I watch BaHam and it is so blessing to me. However it has been few months that the Islamic government sometimes filtered your site and I sometimes cannot watch it. Pray for my family too. Thank you
Hi, I’m a believer and never write or call Christian programs. I am afraid to do so. I just want to thank you and ask you please don’t mention my name or email in your program.
Hi, I’m 20 years old and I watch BaHam programs. I’m an university student and I have to admit that this program has answered a lot of my questions. I still follow your program and just wanted to hereby thank you for the good job you are doing.