United Arab Emirates, Arabian Peninsula
Political Leader: President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nuhayyan
Religions: Islam 65.5%, Hinduism 17%, Christianity 9.3%, Other 8.2%
Persecution Ranking: No. 38
Number of Terrorist Groups: 1
Acts of Terrorism: 9; Casualties: 4
Percent of Corruption: 38%
% of People in Poverty: Not Ranked
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a Middle Eastern federation of seven states situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, ordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven states, called emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. The UAE is rich in oil.
Before 1971, the UAE were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a 19th century truce between Britain and several Arab sheiks.
The UAE government repeatedly condemned terrorist acts in Iraq, Egypt and elsewhere in the region throughout 2006. In order to prevent extremist preaching in UAE mosques, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments provided prescribed guidelines for all Friday sermons, and required all 1,500 mosques that delivered sermons to record them each Friday to ensure that imams adhered to the guidelines. The UAE undertook several border security measures to deter terrorists from reaching its soil. In February 2006, the UAE passed a cyber-crimes law criminalizing the use of the Internet for terrorist groups to “promote their ideologies and finance their activities.”
Muslims make up 65.4% of United Arab Emirates’ population, while Christians comprise 9.25%. Sunni Islam is the religion of the state. Only about 20% of the inhabitants of the UAE are nationals. The rest are all foreign workers. There are large groups of Indians, Pakistanis, Iranians and Southeast Asians.
Challenges for Christians:
United Arab Emirates is ranked No. 38 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” The radical changes over the last three decades have made the UAE citizens more cosmopolitan and open to new ideas, yet Islamic fundamentalism has increased restrictions. Many are in daily contact with foreign Christians, but not all Believers have opportunities to share their faith because of the possible consequences. There is freedom to worship and witness within the expatriate communities, but no outreach to the indigenous population is officially permitted. There is a great need to reach national Arabs. The indigenous Arab population has still had little exposure to the Gospel.
- Pray for the UAE government to continue its tough stance against terrorists.
- Pray for the UAE government to permit religious outreach to the indigenous population.
- Pray for God to raise up many more Believers in Jesus from among the Muslim population.
- Pray for the protection and encouragement of the few Arabic Believers in UAE. Pray for them to find fellowship and continue on in boldness.
- Pray for outreach to other expatriate communities living in the UAE.
- Pray for the expatriate churches in the Emirates. There are ethnic Arab, Pakistani, Filipino and Indian congregations as well as churches that consist of people from many nations. Pray for there to be unity. Pray for them to be communities of boldness and grace, clearly reflecting the love of God and the power of Jesus to the surrounding peoples. Pray for the training of leaders and teachers and evangelists.
- Pray for Christians in business in the Emirates. Pray that God will use their life and witness in the workplace to communicate the gospel.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, The World Factbook