UAE enacts stealth blasphemy law

UAE enacts stealth blasphemy law

An ‘anti-hatred’ law recently passed by the the United Arab Emirates is designed to tackle ‘discrimination’, but it actively discriminates against non-believers.

According to this report, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, above, said that the “inclusive” decree:

Guarantees the freedom of individuals from religious intolerance.

But Gulf News reports that the legislation makes illegal “any acts that stoke religious hatred” and “any form of expression” that insults religion.

The law, passed by decree at the end of July:

Prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, His prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.

The legislation purports to allow for an “environment of tolerance” and “broad-mindedness”, but includes potential 10 year jail terms and substantial fines for those who break the law.

Provisions in the legislation include a prohibition on expressing doubt about the existence of God.

NSS president Terry Sanderson commented:

The UAE are using anti-discrimination legislation as a cover to criminalise all manner of dissent – including blasphemy. It is dispiriting, and sadly unsurprising to see yet another crackdown on religious freedom and freedom of speech in the Islamic world.

As with the recent comments from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the language of human rights, freedom and tolerance are subverted in order to further an Islamist agenda, in this case under the guise of an anti-discrimination statute. In fact, this legislation insults the concept of equality by creating discrimination against non-believers.

Saudi Arabia is pressing for a global law against blasphemy or ‘defamation of religion’. Abdulmajeed Al-Omari, Director for External Relations at the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, a government body which is tasked with “propagating Islam”, said that “everyone” must:

Intensify efforts to criminalise insulting heavenly religions, prophets, holy books, religious symbols and places of worship.

While the UAE law makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion and the like, it undermines these provisions by criminalising the expression of atheism and with its severe restrictions on free speech.

There have also been concerns that the anti-discrimination provisions of the legislation make no reference to sexual orientation, and therefore offer no protection to victims of discrimination on the basis of their sexuality.

Sanderson added:

It’s important that attention is drawn to laws like these, particularly given that so many Islamist regimes are intent on enacting global laws against the ‘defamation of religion’.

These attempts often cynically hijack the vocabulary of human rights, something which we also see from many groups and activists in the West who lobby for de facto blasphemy legislation.

21 responses to “UAE enacts stealth blasphemy law”

  1. TrickyDicky says:

    So you could build a Christian church in the United Arab Emirates.

  2. Broga says:

    I suppose much of what appears on this site would be regarded as blasphemy and many of us would be for the chop – literally. But devout Christians need take no comfort as they too would be targets. What is really being protected here is Islam.

    Ultimately they want to decide what you think and what you may say. This is not about religion. It is about power and religion is the conduit through which they want to exercise it. Happily they cannot win in the end. Reason is ineluctable and will always keep eroding the fictions and fantasies of faith.

  3. nonehere says:

    When people start turning away from islam stop them by making observance and subservience compulsory on pain of very severe punishment. This is what is going on here.

    Islam is going to drag the world into WW3 if it goes on like this. And do you know the only thing that will lance this festering pustulant open wound? Just let them get on with it and let sunni murder shite muder wahabis murder what ever other fuck verions of islam there are malingering around the world. Let them fight it out. Let them raze their countries to destruction and beggary. This is what they want. They want it all to escallate into armageddon. And those of us in civilised secular countries need to defend ourselves against terrorism by sending anyone who causes trouble to join in with the murder and bloodshed without a return ticket.

  4. Angela_K says:

    I see it now: these religious fascists want an anti-discrimination law that discriminates against those who don’t discriminate.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    I generally like cross cultural exchanges. But here the UAE has taken on the nonsense of Western hate speech laws and both cultures are more poor for it.

    Call it blasphemy or call it hate speech, it is all superstition about magic words I do not share.

  6. dennis says:

    theist evolve, please before you blow the world up as my wife traipses of to church this morning-go figure!

  7. shane tyson says:

    @ nonhere ‘Islam is going to drag the world into WW3 if it goes on like this.’

    It already has, the West is just a little slow in it’s realisation, due to Left-wing Liberals clouding the obvious!

  8. SallyinMI says:

    Every one of those ‘decrees’ could have been written by Huckabee, Cruz, or Pat Robertson. This is what the GOP wants for America. We cannot let them take over. And a global law against blasphemy would also suit them fine (as long as they still get to demonize Muslims, of course.)

  9. Broga says:

    @nonehere: “Islam is going to drag the world into WW3 if it goes on like this.” It is only a matter of time. The conditions have been set. Lies for Islam and against infidels are virtuous. So we can ignore any protestations that their nuclear programmes are for peaceful purposes.

    The provocation from Islamist countries is increasingly extreme and is being met with reactions from the fundamentalist Christians in the USA who want America to strike.

    Israel in cahoots with the USA feels threatened and nuclear response is an option.

    And Islamists think that if they blow the world to bits they will immediately be transported to paradise with 72 virgins (or raisins depending on which translation you favour) awaiting you. With that kind of certain (as they see it) prospect then the choice is obvious.

    We in the UK are living in cloud cuckoo land. While rabid Islamists are fighting us bare knuckle and with no holds barred we are providing them with state benefits and years of legal aid if they are accused – unlikely anyway.

    The question is whether environmental collapse or nuclear war comes first.

    Have a nice day.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – a fine, upstanding man, whose religion obviously underpins the moral probity which characterizes both himself and his family:

  11. Jason says:

    To hell with their ridiculous god and his pedophilic prophet. Creating laws against blasphemy is simply a way of admitting that your supposedly all-powerful magical friend can’t defend himself.

  12. Stuart H. says:

    Good luck finding a UK politician (and you definitely won’t find a government minister) to protest about either UAE or Saudi Arabia.

    The official line is that UAE is the ‘acceptable’ and stable face of Middle Eastern oligarchy, so government and our major business leaders fall over themselves to use Dubai as the gateway to business deals with the rest of the Middle East (i.e. the nastier countries that we’re making mega-bucks flogging stuff to via Dubai-based intermediary companies).

    As for the Saudi regime? Will anyone in Westminster even say ‘boo’ to them while they keep our weapons industry so busy churning out things to kill, maim or torture their own citizenry with?

  13. AgentCormac says:

    Why is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid wearing eye-liner? And is he actually Roy Keane in fancy dress costume? (Ex-Manchester United and Republic of Ireland football ‘hero’ for those who are wondering.)

    Maybe, just maybe, in about 10,000 years the world of Islam might consider joining the rest of us in what was the 21st century.

  14. 1859 says:

    The good Sheikh has published a book. It’s on sale at Dubai airport where I recently spent two hours. Inside it has a generous sprinkling of full-colour pictures of the good Sheikh shaking hands with all the illustrious dignitaries from around the world – including the Queen of England. The book it being sold in Arabic and in English with a full portrait of the good Sheikh himself staring madly at the horizon with mock intensity as though he’s spied a woman’s naked arse. Unfortunately the English title leaves a lot to be desired – it reads in bold print ‘FLASHES OF THOUGHT!’ – which I immediately took to mean ‘There’s still brain activity! He’s not dead yet!’ But sadly I was wrong because, if the good Sheikh can allow such ‘tolerant’ laws to be passed, then clearly he was brain dead long before he published his book.

  15. John the Drunkard says:

    Graveyards? Really?

    Wahhabis are notorious for obliterating any trace of memorials for the dead. Because idolatry for the public version. Because their deranged version denies the existence of the past—since the Koran must be eternal and a-historical, all trace of change and the passage of time must be eradicated—in more private terms.

  16. Laura Roberts says:

    @SallyinMI: absolutely, 100% correct. While today’s Christian churches are neutered version of their former selves, they would implement their own form of sharia in a second if it weren’t for strong secular governments. To this day, American Christian pundits have stated that homosexuals should be killed, or that women who work outside the home are “witches” or “whores”. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile…

  17. Brian Jordan says:

    “Intensify efforts to criminalise insulting heavenly religions,”
    Not much effort needed there then, since all religions are man-made and decidedly Earthly.

  18. The secular state needs to see religion not as a possible revelation from God but something man says is a revelation. God’s role in revelation is irrelevant for you are still taking man’s word for it.

    Until each nation treats religious opinions as merely human opinions, the door to blasphemy laws coming in will always be open. Blasphemy is really about refusing to let people realise it if a religion is man-made nonsense.