11/10/2020 United Arab Emirates (International Christian Concern) – This past Saturday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced relaxed restrictions for its Islamic laws of personal freedoms for the public. Many have commented that this was done as part of its attempt to attract foreigners and investment by showing a toleration of diverse opinions. The UAE’s economy relies heavily on expats, who make up the country’s largest Christian community, though some national Christians do exist and are primarily Muslim Background Believers.
The relaxed restrictions contain a number of positive first steps, including removing honor killings as a defense. When defendants successfully used honor killings as a defense, they could face between 3 – 15 years in prison. Under the new revisions, this defense cannot be used and those convicted can face life imprisonment or the death penalty.
This is a substantial positive development, setting the UAE apart from the rest of the Arab world where honor killings carry weak penalties (if indeed any). Honor killings commonly target women and Christian converts. While we have yet to see how such a substantial legal change in the UAE will actually be implemented, it promises better protection for minority communities.
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