The St. Mary's Church in Dubai.
PHOTO BY EXPAT MEDIA
The Federal National Council (FNC) has approved a draft federal law regulating places of worship for non-Muslims in the UAE.
The draft law applies to all non-Muslim places of worship nationwide, including free zones, while also setting a fine of between Dh100,000 and Dh3 million for violators.
The draft law proposes the formation of a committee to examine and classify non-Muslim religious activities, rites, and customs in the country.
Based on the recommendations of relevant ministries, the UAE Cabinet will decide on the committee’s composition, working system, and other responsibilities.
A competent entity will retain a registration of licensed or designated roles and places of worship, and the data held in this registry must contain the information provided in the executive regulations of the draft law.
The FNC introduced an article on the allocation of rooms of worship, which stipulates that the executive regulations of the draft law determine the conditions, requirements and procedures for allocating rooms for worship by the competent authority.
The competent authority will also issue the final licence that grants the place of worship its personal legal status from the date of issuance.
The proposed law requires every place of worship to open a bank account with a local bank, in line with the rules and criteria set by the law’s executive regulations.
Existing places of worship must comply with the proposed law’s rules within six months of the executive regulations’ implementation. This deadline can be extended by up to two years, with each extension lasting six months. ICA/Expat Media
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