The United Arab Emirates on August 10, 2015 endorsed the legislation imposing harsh sentences, including the death penalty for crimes related to religious hatred and extremism. The law criminalizes any act that stirs religious hatred and also prohibits discrimination “on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin”.
The law refers in this regard to divine religions, namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and prayer places including mosques, churches and synagogues.
It criminalizes any acts that stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or via online media. The law also includes provisions for punishing anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels, or unbelievers.
The law also prohibits giving or receiving financial support for such activities that criminalize and stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or via online media. The law also includes provisions for punishing anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels, or unbelievers.
The new law intends to counter the practice of some Islamic extremists of classifying other groups and individuals as infidels. Those labeling people following any other religion as infidels may face the capital punishment if the discrimination leads to murder.
“The law prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred and recommends stringent punishments for groups or supporters of any organizations or individuals that are associated with hate crimes,” the Emirates News Agency WAM reported. “It also bars any kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE organized with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups on the basis of faith, origin or race.”
The law imposes various term sentence and punishments for violations of the law. It includes a prison terms of at least five years and/or a fine ranging between Dm500,000-1 million for those who provoke discrimination or hatred through any form of expression. Similar punishments are also to be enacted for those who incite tribal strives leading to hatred, those who exploit religion to brand other as infidels, those who propagate printed materials, videos, CDs or computer applications that insult religions or incite hatred.
The law also enacts severe punishments including prison terms and fines on those who establish associations or armed organizations designed to instill hatred or have memberships in any of them. Such sentences also include those who organize conferences or meetings at the UAE designed to provoke hatred and insult religions as well as those who receive or provide financial support for activities that criminalize and stoke religious hatred.
The law also exonerates all convicts who tip the authorities off about any such crimes before hand.