United Arab Emirates

This country is no longer featured on the World Watch List

World Watch List Appearances

Year Rank
2018 N/A
2017 N/A
2016 N/A
2015 N/A
2014 N/A
2013 N/A
2012 N/A
2011 N/A
2010 N/A
2009 N/A
2008 N/A

Unable to express faith publicly

Christian expatriates are free to worship privately, but the government does not allow them to evangelize or pray in public. Because Emirati society is conservative, Christians exercise self-restraint in public. Converts from Islam often face pressure from family and community members to renounce their Christian faith. Converts tend not to reveal their conversion then, which is why there are few reports of Christians being killed or harmed for their faith.

How Christians are suffering

Conservative Islamic society is the biggest threat to Christians in the United Arab Emirates. All converts risk losing inheritance and parental rights, being forced to marry, being fired or placed under pressure to work for “free.” Many seek asylum in another country. The government will act against any Christians attempting to speak openly about their faith, because evangelism is illegal and punishable under the law.


At least one female convert was threatened with forced marriage and some converts were forced to flee to another emirate because of pressure.

There were also some converts who were placed under financial pressure and forced to renounce their faith.

Because Islamic education is compulsory for all students within state schools, the children of converts must participate in Islamic education classes.

Why Isn't this country on the World Watch List?


Pray for United Arab Emirates

  • Pray that more people will come to Christ in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Imagine that your fellowship group has had the same three members for a long time. The passion and the hope to have an impact for Christ in society can diminish. Pray God blesses the Emirati believers with new brothers and sisters with whom to share fellowship.
  • Pray for leaders of the UAE to rule with wisdom and tolerance and to allow citizens to change their faith.
  • Pray that the government will be able to keep the country safe from insurgents and terrorist groups. One important way to do this is to provide policies that encourage young people to be motivated to work hard for the good of their country.

Stories from United Arab Emirates

July 7, 2021

7 Vacation Paradises That Are No Holiday for Christians

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January 18, 2021

13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day

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May 19, 2020

Don’t waste COVID-19: Lessons from believers in the Arabian Peninsula

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