The UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) has approved a new law regulating places of worship for non-Muslims. It will promote tolerance and coexistence across the country, including free zones.
During a session chaired by FNC Speaker Saqr Ghobash in Abu Dhabi, the draft law was approved. It proposes the formation of a committee that will examine and classify non-Muslim religious activities, rituals, and customs in the UAE.
The committee’s structure, working system, and responsibilities will be decided by the UAE Cabinet, based on recommendations from relevant ministries.
A registration will be maintained by a competent entity, listing licensed or designated roles and places of worship. The information in this registry must align with the executive regulations of the law.
The draft law includes an article about allocating rooms for worship. It states:
- The conditions, requirements, and procedures for allocating worship rooms will be determined by the competent authority, as specified in the executive regulations.
- Once the final license is issued by the competent authority, the place of worship will gain its legal status.
- Each place of worship must open a bank account with a local bank, following the criteria and rules set by the law.
Violations of the law, its regulations, or related decisions may result in fines ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 3 million.
Existing places of worship have six months to comply with the rules outlined in the law once the executive regulations are implemented. If needed, this deadline can be extended for up to two years, with each extension lasting six months.