UNITED ARAB
EMIRATES

Christians here are either expatriates, migrants, or believers from a Muslim background (BMBs)

United Arab Emirates

World Watch List Rank World Watch List Score
44 55/100
Leader Population
President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan 9.3 million (400,000 Christians)
Main Religion Government
Islam Federation
Source of Persecution Persecution Level
Islamic extremism High Persecution

The latter group suffer the most, facing persecution from family, community leaders and government officials. Despite the stability and wealth of the country, religious and political freedom is severely restricted. Islam dominates private, public and political life and all citizens are defined as Muslims. The law does not recognise conversion from Islam to Christianity, and the legal punishment is death. BMBs may be compelled to return to Islam, hide their faith, or leave the country.

PERSECUTION IN UAE

Mostly, it is Christian converts from a Muslim background who suffer persecution. African and Asian expats have a little more freedom, but not as much as Western expats, that is, as long as they do not evangelise Muslims. Muslim background believers are under severe pressure from relatives, family and Muslim society due to the Islamic government, law and culture.

Christians in the United Arab Emirates, who are mainly foreign workers, are mostly hindered by the government's discriminatory attitude towards Christians and the thoroughly Islamic society, resulting sometimes in deportation. The government places restrictions on the development of facilities for Christian migrants. This is a reality countrywide, although the smaller more conservative Emirates are more restrictive than the larger ones.

Although the Arab Spring did not affect the UAE much, the latest developments in the Middle East do lead the local people to question what good leadership is about. Christians in the country have many opportunities for Muslim-Christian dialogue. Although their situation will remain difficult, Christians in the UAE are tolerated to a certain degree.

HOW WE HELP

Open Doors supports the church in United Arab Emirates by raising prayer and awareness.

PRAYER POINTS FOR UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • For believers from Muslim backgrounds, especially women who convert from Islam and lose their rights to possessions and their children
  • For wisdom and tolerance for government leaders, that they would allow citizens to change their faith
  • Openly possessing Christian materials is very dangerous. Pray for courage and protection for those distributing and sharing God's Word.
pic

TAKE ACTION

  • Pray for those that are suffering by reading the latest prayer requests from persecuted Christians around the world.
    TAKE ACTION
  • Advocate for persecuted Christians by signing the Hope for Middle East Petition.
    TAKE ACTION
  • Consider donating your resources to Open Doors.
    TAKE ACTION