Since the UAE’s Anti-Discrimination Law has been put into effect in 2018, the government has been very keen on addressing issues that concern this matter.
And because the UAE is a melting pot of culture, colors, and traditions, this is especially important for its residents.
Anti-Discrimination in UAE: Up to AED 1 Million, 5 Years in Jail for Religious Intolerance
According to the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, “any act that insults the divine entity, any religion, Prophet, Messenger, divine book or house of worship will be considered contempt of religion and the offender will be jailed for five years and penalized up to AED 1 million”, as shared in a report by the Gulf News.
Expounding on the topic, Ameena Al Mazrouei, Social Responsibility Specialist at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, shared, “We stand against the differentiation of people based on their caste, creed, and color, and the offender will be jailed for five years and penalized up to Dh1 million as per the rules of the country.”
“We respect all human beings and ensure they get fair services and justice. Whoever they are, irrespective of their religion, nationality, background or culture, they are treated equally here in the UAE. Everyone gets justice equally,” Al Mazrouei added.
There is a specific law in the UAE which details the sanctions for this type of offense:
Federal Law No (2) of 2015 on Discrimination and Hate, Article (4) penalizes the offender with fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 1 million and five years jail.
The law pertains to the act of “offending any religion or any of its sacred things, disrupting or preventing religious observances or ceremonies by violence, distorting in any way, any of the holy books, destroying or desecrating the sanctity of places of worship, graves, appurtenances or any of their contents.”
Al Mazrouei explained that the law comes down heavily against anyone who insults a religion, desecrates it or vandalizes a house of worship, whether it is a mosque, temple, synagogue, church or gurdwara.
Concerning this, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department held an exhibition “Following the Steps of Zayed – Justice and Tolerance”. In an earlier exhibition, the ADJD displayed a series of efforts of the department to spread the message of peaceful coexistence, communal harmony, religious tolerance, and respect to all faiths among community members.
Commenting on this, Al Mazrouei noted: “If people are talking on social media sites, they are not allowed to disrespect any religion, faith or God. In case there is a breach, offenders will be charged under contempt of religion laws and will be penalized.”
She added that they are also focusing on social media, where many people text messages at will and don’t realize that they may be hurting the feelings or beliefs of some others.
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