UAE Announces Harsh Sentences for Religious Discrimination, Including Death Penalty

By Casa Rosada Argentina [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
By Casa Rosada Argentina [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
The new law makes religious and racial discrimination a crime punishable by law.

This week, the United Arab Emirates issued a new law that criminalizes religious and racial discrimination, insulting or labeling, which including direct and indirect hate attacks. The royal decree of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was announced through the state owned WAM news agency.

The new law aims to eliminate discrimination and intolerance within the country but ultimately to address the growing concern on religious extremism, the most prominent of which is the Islamic State.

Director General of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, supports the law, saying “No small faction of society who choose hate as a doctrine has a right to ruin humans’ innate will to coexist, cooperate and come together.”

Among the prohibited acts of the new No. 2 Law of 2015 include: hate crimes or religious attacks carried out in any form from speech, writing, media publications, up to those committed through the various social media and online websites; insulting of other religion, belief, class, race or ethnicity; labeling of others as non-believers; and including the vandalism of religious symbols, rites, and rituals.

Anyone caught and proven to be in violation of the new law will face hefty punishments ranging from six months to a ten year jail term and fines ranging from AED50,000 to AED2 million which is equivalent to around $545,000.


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