United Arab Emirates  

Flag of United Arab Emirates Rank: 35
Score: 51/100
2013 Rank: 26
Leader: President Sheikh Khalifa
Government: Federation
Main Religion: Islam
Population: 8.3 million (400,000 Christians)
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism

Christian Persecution in United Arab EmiratesThe constitution upholds religious freedom for the expatriate community (80% of the population) as long as public customs and morals are respected – although the government restricts this freedom in practice. Non-Muslims can worship freely in dedicated buildings or homes, but evangelism is prohibited. UAE citizens, however, are defined as Muslims, and the penalty for changing religion is death. There are very few local believers among the Muslim population. Converts may be pressured to return to Islam, or choose to hide their faith, or leave the country.


  • For single believers who desperately want to marry Christians; pray that believing families will meet.
  • For Muslim-background believers, especially women, for whom the threat of honor killing by the family is real.
  • That God will build His kingdom, despite the difficulties.

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NOTE: Comments which use inappropriate language, harass or attack any individual based off of religion, ethnicity, belief etc will be removed.

  • MrsVL

    I live in Abu Dhabi part of the year, as my husband works there. I have been to church there and have my Bible at home. I wear my cross all of the time and have never been bothered in any way. I even wore it to the 2nd largest mosque in the world, Sheik Zayed Mosque and my husband commented on how strange it was for me to be wearing a cross in a mosque. We take visitors there, as it’s a tourist attraction. I have never had a problem and have found them to be a very tolerant people.

  • Amy

    Lord, I come to You this morning on behalf of the UAE. I pray firstly over every indigenous Emirate… very few of whom have heard the gospel and are believers. I am asking You today, Lord, to make Yourself known to these Emirati by whatever means necessary… through expat believers, through media, through dreams and visions. I ask that You would begin/continue a revival in the UAE and that many Emirati would come to know You as their Lord and Savior. I ask for wisdom for the expat believers who live there – that they would know when to speak, when to listen, when to pray, where to go, where to avoid. I ask that You would direct them in their efforts to evangelize and that You would give them a continued heart for evangelism and a desire to see more of the indigenous people of the UAE come to faith. I pray that every opportunity given to share the gospel would be capitalized on and that no opportunities would be lost. I pray especially for the women of the UAE and for opportunities for them to hear and receive the gospel, and for their protection and provision. I pray also for the Open Doors ministries that are at work in the UAE. I ask that You would provide all of the wisdom and all of the resources that are needed in order for Your work to be accomplished. I ask that You would multiply their efforts and that the training and resources that the Open Doors ministries provide to the expat Christians would help to grow them in their faith and help to raise them up as leader to continue Your work in the UAE. You know all of the obstacles and difficulties that are trying to rise up against these ministries and these indigenous churches – and You are stronger than all of them. Please help them to continue to grow and thrive in a very difficult place. Bless every believer, especially those who have given up everything to follow You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Ernest Zenone

    I pray that the United Emirates will come under the rule of Christ, and that you, Lord, will bless and protect your people and also to provide Bibles and that thy Word may have free course and be glorified throughout this land. Comfort you people and bring them into fellowship with one another and protect them from those who would seek to stop them in worship and sharing the gospel. In Jesus name I ask this. Amen.

  • 1979STK .

    Surj, what MrsVL has stated is 100% true. The UAE is an incredibly tolerant country when it comes to religious freedom. You are allowed to worship God as and when or where you like. And, yes, I do know many converts from various faiths and truth be told they have to worry more about how their immediate family’s reaction than anything else Persecution – that is murder, in particular, honor killings are against the law in UAE. So, please do your homework before posting snarky comments.

  • secrt

    In response to the comments…i am a local emirati who is a believer. Although i backslide alot to be honest ..i am convinced that Jesus is the son of God and died for me. I ask for prayer and strength.although i am a secret believer my spouse discovered it.l am alive but go through hard times…in future probably even tougher. There are others like me…so pray for us and that more will come to be.
    As ramdhan approaches i dont know what to do…ie pretend to worship or take a stand.
    Pray f me pls

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