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UAE Issues New Law Criminalizing all Forms of Hate Crime

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Abu Dhabi: United Arab Emirates has issued a new law against any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin following a Decree by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported last month. The new law, 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 is intended to provide a sound foundation for the environment of tolerance and acceptance in the UAE and aims to safeguard people regardless of their origin, beliefs or race, against acts that promote religious hate and intolerance. Penalties for violation of the various provisions of the law include jail-terms of six months to over 10 years and fines.
The Anti-Discriminatory Law prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards. The law condemns 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.
The law also criminalizes 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.