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United Arab Emirates Facts

Score: 58 / 100
Region: Middle East
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: High
Population: 9,398,000
Christians: 1,206,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Federation of Monarchies
Leader: President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 1%
Church Life 71%
National Life 62%
Community Life 60%
Family Life 73%
Private Life 82%

Where Persecution Comes From

There is a sharp contrast in the level of persecution faced by different groups of Christians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Emirati society is fairly tolerant towards expatriate Christian communities and allows them to worship relatively freely. Converts to Christianity from Islam face the majority of persecution in the country, and they experience a great deal of pressure to recant their faith, both from their immediate families and society as a whole. While the government technically promotes religious tolerance, its promotion of Islam contributes to Christian persecution.

How Christians are Suffering

Depending on their backgrounds, different Christians in the UAE experience varying degrees of persecution. While expatriate Christian communities are relatively free to practice their faith, they also face restrictions. They are free to worship and practice their faith in private but are prohibited from expressing their faith, worshiping, preaching or praying in public. Proselytization of any sort is illegal, so Christians must exercise caution and self-restraint when interacting with Muslims. Meanwhile, converts from Islam often fear to reveal their conversion. Because most converts keep their faith a secret, we have few reports of Christians being killed or physically harmed for their faith.

Examples

In January 2016, local authorities arrested and deported three non-citizens accused of “preaching a religion other than Islam” in the emirate of Sharjah.

The government forces the country’s two primary internet service providers to block websites that are critical of Islam or dedicated to other religious topics.

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Pray for United Arab Emirates

  • Pray for leaders of the UAE to have wisdom and tolerance, allowing citizens to publicly change their faith without fear of persecution.
  • Pray that the government will be able to keep the country safe from insurgent/terrorist groups.
  • Pray for Christian converts who are afraid to reveal their faith in Jesus. Pray for Christian women who convert from Islam and lose their rights to possessions and often, their children.

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