UAE Anti-Discriminatory Law: A Perfect Balanced Strategy

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

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His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a new “anti-discrimination law No. 02 of 2015”. It has multiplier socio-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic effects. It is the reflection of multiculturalism. It stands for globalization. It speaks about universalisms. It has introduced a new social contract in the Emirates.

Long Term Planning

It is a long term planning to maintain societal cohesion. It is a civilized mean to keep spirits of people’s harmony sky-high. It is a decent way to protect the basic rights of its people without any intermingling on the part of state. It marginalizes the role and scope of any non-state element in the country.

Religious Tolerance & Hatred

Religion stands for human freedom and hatred sparks for inhibition. Religion upholds respect and hatred promotes restriction. Religion helps development and hatred sows destruction. And the last but not the least, religion facilitates sustainability and hatred sabotage. Visionary leadership of the UAE has announced new anti-discrimination law to seal all kinds of hatred in the country.

A Perfect Balanced Strategy

It has perfect balanced strategy to eradicate all chances of hatred criminalization in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has set ideal example for the region and globe to diminish seeds of hatred, bigotry and discrimination. It has certain guidelines to further strengthening of true spirits of religious tolerance, peace, harmony and love among the different religions, faiths, sects, beliefs and ideologies in its country where already more than 200 different nationalities live jointly without any fear and discrimination. They are all free to practice their religions and rituals.

Anti-Discrimination law No. 02 of 2015 Statutory Details

Against Any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.
Criminalization Any act that stokes religious hatred and/or which insults religion through any form of expression, be it speech or written word, books, pamphlets or via online media.
Condemnation Actions that would comprise hate speech or the promotion of discrimination or violence against others using any form of media, including online, print, radio or visual media.
Strict Action Strict action will be taken against any form of expressions of hatred or incitement to hate crimes spread in the form of speech and published media.
Punishment Anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels or unbelievers.
Penalties Violation of various provisions of the law include jail terms of six months to over 10 years and fines from Dh50,000 to Dh2 million.
Prohibition Any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.
Abuse of Religion The law also criminalises any act that amounts to abuse of religion or vandalism of religious rituals, holy sites or symbols, and takes a serious view of violence on the basis of religious doctrines.
Provisions To fight discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin

The above given table covers all possible aspects of hatred in the modern world along with provisions of punishments and penalties to make UAE an ideal model of co-existence. From personal thinking, taboos, stigmas, sympathies, affiliations, associations, to ills of corporate world (groups, conferences, funding, meetings, technologies, political connectivity, doctrines and the last but not the least, ideologies every angle is thoroughly discussed in the newly anti-discrimination law to make it perfect, workable and effective too. It creates strategic balance/equilibrium between the virtue and vice, devil and dignity, progress and regression and above all development and destruction. It gives people sense of security, stability and sustainability.

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Prohibitions

The law forbids any individual or group established specifically to aggravate religious hatred and endorses severe punishments for groups or supporters of any organisations or individuals that are associated with hate crimes.

Facilitating Agencies & Facilitators

It also bars any kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE organised with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups on the basis of faith, origin or race. Moreover, receiving financial support for such activities is also punishable under the new law. The law encourages anyone involved in any activity that violates the law to voluntarily submit themselves before the authorities and has provisions allowing the courts to waive penalties in such cases.

No Contradiction

Anti-Discrimination law No. 02 of 2015 does not contradict with any other existing laws in the UAE meant to protect specially privileged groups in the society such as women, children and individuals with disabilities or others.

Giant Step

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With the announcement of a law against hate crime, the UAE government has taken another giant step towards further freedom, harmony, peace and tolerance in its country. It would further strengthen its drive towards achieving and maintaining high standards of human rights without fear of discrimination or violence.

Widespread Appreciations

The UAE newly announced anti-discrimination law has won the hearts and souls of people, jurists, writers, religious clergy, administrators, planners and different forums in the country and around the world. Everybody speaks about its merits, benefits and bounties. Everybody appreciates its strategic origination.

All walks of people acknowledge its human and humanity friendly postures and provisions. All forms of jurists speak highly about its unprejudiced legal framework. All types of writers recognize the elements of fairness, openness and justice in the newly promulgated law. All sorts of religious clergy accept its inbuilt religious tolerance. All kinds of administrators endorse its workability. Planners of all stages admit its perfectibility. Above all different forums in the region and around the globe praise its universality and role model for eliminating miseries of struggling people confronting with ills of religious intolerance and hatred discrimination.

(a) Islamic European Council (IEC)

The Islamic European Council has highly appreciated the law, and stressed on the governments of Islamic countries, members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and member states of the United Nations (UN) to follow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in order to activate Resolution No. 65/224 on Combating Defamation of Religions, issued by the 65th session of UN General Assembly.

Secretary-General of the Islamic European Council, said under the rapid regional and international changes that threaten global peace, it has become necessary to pass a law criminalising the defamation of religions in all the Islamic countries.

(b) Bahrain calls for UAE-style anti-discrimination law

Bahrain has called for a new law to punish hate crime and discrimination similar to that introduced by the UAE. Its Shura Council members have called for new punishments for those found guilty of ‘hate crimes’. They said that such a new law “will add value to their country’s image”.

(c) Secretary-General of the Association of Sunni Scholars in India praises UAE anti-discrimination law

Secretary-General of the Association of Sunni Scholars in India has said that the newly announced decree about anti-discrimination will enhance unity and equality between different nations. “It also helps the feeling of pride and dignity in every member of the community.”

He pointed out that this law seems obviously importance in light of the increase in violent acts, racism and hatred in society in the name of religion and doctrine. It also helps to reduce acts of extremism and terrorism of all kinds. The new law supports tolerance of Islam in dealing with different religions and doctrine, he added.

(d) Al-Azhar praises new UAE anti-discrimination law

Al-Azhar has praised the UAE new law criminalizing all forms of discrimination, protects religion and religious institutions and bans vandalism and insults to Allah and prophets. It said

“Such laws maintain national unity and protect freedoms, personal views, ideas and religious belief”.

It praised wise vision of the UAE leadership which passed this law after it realized risks that tear communities and fuel strife and conflicts. It hoped that the remaining Arab countries will issue similar laws to block a way before those who sow the seeds of strife and politically exploit religion.

(e) Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) News Bulletin

In its editorial entitled “Anti-discriminatory law promotes UAE coexistence model” has said the Anti-Discriminatory Law, issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, promotes the Emirati coexistence model, which, guarantees equality among members of society. It criminalises discrimination among individuals or groups on the basis of religion, creed, doctrine, denomination, caste, race, colour or ethnic origin, it added.

Right from the beginning, UAE has been able to provide a unique model of coexistence and multiculturalism, where its vast demographic composition protect a vast diversified mixture of nationalities living in complete compatibility despite differences among them in relation to culture, religion and race, it elaborated.

Moreover, it’s wise leadership spares no effort in working for the promotion of coexistence and compatibility through a variety of initiatives, mechanisms, frameworks, laws and legislation, it explained.

Its bulletin was issued by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) which said the new anti discriminatory law reinforced the model of co-existence and established the exterior image of Emirates as an active party in promoting a culture of global coexistence and dialogue among different civilisations and cultures.

“The law also stresses the UAE’s ability to provide a civilised image of the principles of the Islamic religion, contrary to those that promote injustice for Arab and Islamic culture as a source of extremism, violence and terrorism in the world”, it added.

The bulletin concluded that in the face of tendencies of extremism and violence, which seek to revive the clash of civilisations and religions, demonstrating that the UAE is on the road to building a global culture which respects beliefs and religions and believes in global humanitarian coexistence.

(f) Emirates Writers Union hails anti-discrimination law

Emirates Writers Union (EWU) has praised the decree. It said that it aims to consolidate the principles of freedom, tolerance and acceptance of others and respect for the views, ideas, beliefs, values of others, as adopted by the UAE since its inception. The UAE guarantees, protects and defends these principles by the force of law.

(g) Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour

Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour termed the new law enacted as “civilisational addition” that provides a legislative framework for the culture of tolerance, compassion, and acceptance of others as they are. UAE introduces to criminalise all forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

“This culture is deeply rooted in the country’s society and provides the foundation for continuous social and economic progress”, he added.

“The anti-discriminatory law reflects peaceful co-existence between different cultures in the UAE, making it an attractive destination for people looking for a dignified life, security and safety under the umbrella of the rule of law and the protection of human dignity,” the minister added.

Contribution of the late Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE

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Since its inception, the late Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE successfully introduced different policies, programs, initiatives, decrees, legislations and laws to promote religious tolerance and spirits of co-existence due to which now UAE is among the most advanced country in the region and around the world. He lessened risk of discrimination or intolerance and institutionalized spirits of equality, freedom and justice. He loved humanity regardless of race, religion or ethnic origin.

UAE: Arab World and Internal Conflicts

The Arab world has had its fair share of internal conflicts because of religion, and many of these fights go far beyond the struggle between Shias and Sunnis. But thanks to strategic vision of successive leadership of the UAE, it is free from all kinds of sectarian rivalries and religious conflicts. The Middle East has been home of Alawites, Berbers, Copts, Druze, Kurds, Jews, Yazidis, Assyrians, Shias and Sunnis but in the UAE they are all equal and just humans. Everybody is free to follow its religion, faith, belief and ritual.

Unprecedented Socio-Economic Prosperity

This year UAE will enjoy its 44th National Day on December 2, 2015. The UAE has enjoyed more than 43 years of stability and peace between all groups living here without any major threat of attack or violence against a religious group, largely because of the harmony that exists and is encouraged by the Government and people of the UAE. UAE is the home of human diversity, dignity, respect, freedom and tolerance.

Concluding Remarks

Most recently, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has adopted a new “anti-discrimination law” which criminalises all forms of discrimination, protects religion and religious institutions, bans vandalism, insults to God, prophets and the like.
The law also criminalises all forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

It bans hate speech through any media with the intention of providing a sound foundation for the environment of tolerance, broad-mindedness and acceptance in the UAE. It aims to safeguard people regardless of their origin, beliefs or race. It acts against that promote religious hate and intolerance.

It includes strict fines of up to $600,000 and jail terms of up to 10 years for anyone spreading any form of hate speech in print or online media.

It prohibits any insult of God, prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards. It forbids any act that amounts to abuse of religion or vandalism of religious rituals, and bans speech inciting religious hatred, particularly calling other people infidels or unbelievers. It calls on violators to submit themselves to the authorities, saying that a court would waive penalties in such cases.

Violating the law brings a prison sentence of up to 10 years or a heavy fine. The new anti-hate law serves as a model for the rest of the world at a time when hate is spreading across the region and the globe.

It enforces religious tolerance and gives the UAE a leading status in the region and world. It promotes human rights too. It combats terrorism and protects over 200 nationalities as well as Christians. It will act as a deterrant toward any religious intolerance. It is a bid to send a message to radical groups such as Islamic State (IS) that the Arab country stands for peace. The government introduced the law to “thwart any attempt to sow seeds of division in the UAE’s cohesive and diverse society.

The new law was welcomed by the country’s 1.2 million Christians and other minority groups such as Shiite Muslims, Hindu’s and Sikhs who call the country home. Christians are also safe to practice their faith without fear in the UAE.

It has elevated the Emirates to the ranks of highly civilised nations, and will put an end to crimes of discrimination practiced by some Arab societies. Sinners and preachers of hatred and extremism would be in the line of fire within and abroad.

It would now terminate networking webs, and notorious satellite channels engaged with the systematic practices aiming to insult religions and spreading hatred and discrimination. Promotion of hatred directly affects social fiber and psychological orientation as well as national security. The new law stresses that authorities must take all possible measures to those people, sects, organizations and groups accusing doctrines and people of certain religions of blasphemy, and incite against them.

Religion stands for sanctity. Hatred projects intolerance. Secrete of socio-economic prosperity and social peace is to maintain religious tolerance. The newly decree uplifts UAE society to the level of these civilised states. It promotes among its people a culture of acceptance regardless of religion or doctrine.

It explains that the crimes of discrimination and hatred are not acceptable in the UAE. It distinguishes that the new law is not limited someone sovereignty or freedom. It applies anyone who commits any of the crimes listed, regardless of their position, status, authority, influence or location.

Islam is a religion of tolerance. It is not a tool for the dissemination of murder and extremism, as used by terrorist groups in the region. The provisions of the anti-discrimination law are clear and uphold the true spirits of Islam, Arab civilization and of course UAE values and traditions.

Hate crime is the scourge of society, which has led to unwarranted deaths, in some countries, of innocent civilians caught up in the whirlwind of misguided prejudice. New law blocks all possible ways and means of the monster of hatred and discrimination.

It gives the full force of the law to protect the principles that have made the UAE an ideal hub of peace, stability and coexistence in a turbulent region. It is a comprehensive law which is more than mere punishments and penalties. It is the declaration of UAE’s leadership commitments towards people harmony and religious tolerance.

The law brings the concept of social security to a new level that protects everyone in the UAE. The proliferation of hate groups is testimony to the trend accompanied by a lackluster response in key countries to fight this scourge. Hate is a driver of social destruction not only in terms of race and ethnic relations, but also between religions. Hate is intense, long-lasting, and demands retaliation or redress. Clearly, hatred leads to extremism which manifests itself across a broad spectrum of belief systems and cultures. But the UAE nationals and expatriates are blessed with the anti-discrimination law.
Its nationals and residents welcomed commitment to preventing and eliminating all forms of intolerance and racial discrimination. Due to religious tolerance, human friendly policies and visionary leadership of UAE, there is no place of hatred discrimination on the bases of ethnicity, national origin or religion. All are equal before the court of the law. It also reflects the UAE leadership’s strong political will and statesmanship to establish relations based on mutual respect between individuals and nations.

Discrimination is one of the most disturbing and destabilising diseases in the modern age. “As affirmed in the holy Quran and Sunnah, no one is superior over another, in terms of colour, religion, language, culture, race, or backgrounds. The only superiority is by righteousness and God-fearing that is the essence of newly announced anti-discrimination law.
All legislation in the UAE are based on the principles of justice and respect for human rights of all people, regardless of their religion and race, and introduction of new anti-discrimination law would further strengthen the state of law.
With this new law, the UAE has demonstrated to the international community their beliefs and enhances the confidence of multi-ethnic communities to establish the UAE as an international centre. People will now get a lot more comfort.

Yet, with the religious conflicts that continue to damage other Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt, the UAE’s new law is also a clear warning to anyone considering importing and disseminating religious intolerance to the UAE.

By introducing new “Anti-Discrimination law No. 02 of 2015” UAE leaders are moving in the right direction and cementing the purity associated with Islam, Arab Civilization and UAE values and traditions. It is indeed a perfect balanced strategy.

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