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UAE approves draft law promoting tolerance, regulating non-Muslim places of worship

UAE approves draft law promoting tolerance, regulating non-Muslim places of worship

Abu Dhabi: In a session chaired by Saqr Ghobash, the Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC) at the parliament's HQ in Abu Dhabi, the council has unanimously approved a draft federal law aimed at regulating places of worship for non-Muslims across the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The law seeks to promote the values of tolerance and coexistence, fostering an inclusive environment for all residents in the country.

The comprehensive draft law will be applicable nationwide, including locations within free zones, and proposes the establishment of a committee responsible for examining and classifying non-Muslim religious activities, rites, and customs in the UAE.

The committee's composition, working system, and responsibilities will be determined based on the recommendations of relevant ministries and approved by the UAE Cabinet.

Under the provisions of the law, a competent entity will maintain a registration of licensed or designated roles and places of worship. This registry will contain essential information in accordance with the executive regulations outlined in the draft law.

One of the notable articles introduced by the FNC is the allocation of rooms for worship, which specifies that the competent authority will determine the conditions, requirements, and procedures for granting rooms for worship. Upon issuance of the final license, a place of worship will obtain its personal legal status.

Furthermore, every place of worship, as per the proposed law, will be required to open a bank account with a local bank, adhering to the regulations and criteria set forth in the law's executive regulations.

To ensure compliance, the draft law sets out penalties for individuals contravening any provision, regulation, or related decision. Violators may face fines ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh3 million, without prejudice to more severe penalties stipulated by other existing laws.

Existing places of worship will have a grace period of six months from the implementation of the executive regulations to comply with the rules laid out in the proposed law. This deadline can be extended by up to two years, with each extension lasting six months.

The approval of this draft law marks a significant step towards enhancing religious freedoms, promoting diversity, and fostering an environment of tolerance and coexistence within the UAE. The legislation's aim is to provide a framework that ensures the smooth functioning of non-Muslim places of worship while upholding the country's commitment to inclusivity and harmony.

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TAGS:UAE approves draft law to regulate non-Muslim places of worshipFederal National Council
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