View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

UAE Progressing Toward Full Religious Freedom

It is good to read the article in The National about a recent visit by a delegation of Muslim scholars to the UAE and the tributes they have paid to the UAE for discouraging extremism, walking a ‘middle way’ and ‘promoting the true principles of Islam’.

Sheikha Huwaida Bakir, a prominent female preacher, commended the Emirates with this bouquet: “Our interaction here breeds tolerance and understanding between the different Muslim countries. The UAE is one of the best examples of tolerance of mixed religions and backgrounds. Anyone can come here and live respectfully.”

The UAE has made significant progress in human rights and religious freedom but it would be incorrect to imply that the country has arrived.

It is important to monitor and study the annual reports on the UAE as they relate to human rights (often an expression of a nation’s religion) and the International Religious Freedom Report (UAE 2007) to identify the work that is still to be done in the path towards full justice and freedom.

Amnesty International Middle East and UAE Reports [these are the most recent at the time of writing]
International Religious Freedom Report UAE 2007
Rasha Elass and Rym Ghazal, Emirates Praised for Promoting True Principles of Islam, The National, 9 September 2008.
Religious Freedom in UAE: Commendable Advances, Significant Challenges, ETE, 9 October 2007.
UAE Law about Muslims Leaving the Faith, ETE, 8 September 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The new mosque in Abu Dhabi.