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

    • fellow believer

      I will pray for you that you will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and able to live a holy life that brings God glory and draws people to you so you can minister and be protectes by the blood of Jesus. Amen, stay strong brother in Christ!

  • Edith Kurie

    Almighty and only God, I pray Your continued protection and grace for Christians in the UAE. I pray Muslims’ continued tolerance for all religions there, and pray for Holy Spirit’s moving throughout the area in Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Amy

    Lord, I come this morning on behalf of the UAE. I never think to pray for those in persecuted nations who want to marry a believer but that’s such a real request. I do pray that You would set up divine meetings between believers and that families would come to know each other so that Christians in this nation can experience the unity of two believers in marriage. Please also help those who are married to unbelievers – help them to “win over” their spouses by their actions and their love and Christlikeness. I ask that You would give them peace and that You would be so close to them. Help them to have wisdom in how to interact with their spouses and how to best show Christ to them.
    I pray especially for MBBs in this nation who are experiencing persecution and rejection from their families. I ask that You would please be everything to these MBBs that they lost… their provider, their confidant, their protector, their sustainer, their comfort, their friend. Please especially protect the female MBBs who are susceptible to honor killings by their families. Help them to find other believers to interact with, even in secret, so that they are not alone. Please grant your mercy to those who persecute them.
    Please also help the expat believers in this nation to evangelize with boldness yet wisdom. Lead them to local Emirati who might have open hearts to the gospel. Help them to see You for who You are and to receive the faith needed to believe in You. Help them to look around them and reach out to those who are in need of the gospel.
    I ask that You would continue to build your kingdom in the UAE despite many difficulties that are faced there. You are sovereign and You can do anything and break through any obstacle, so I know that many will continue to come to know You there. I ask all of this in Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Maria L.

    Dear Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters that are being persecuted in this part of the world because of their faith in you. Father, may you strengten their faith as they go throught this time of suffering. Father, may their faith in you increase daily and not fail, but get stronger dispite persecution and even be a testimony for their persecutors. Rev. 12:11 says: And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb. And because of the word of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die. Amen!

  • Margot

    Father, so many of your chosen find you through dreams and visions. I pray that your people on the ground be ready in season and out, to be ready to share the reason for their faith in you. Prepare the hearts of your chosen to receive you, and strengthen them for the battle ahead. Make blind eyes to see your grace and seeing eyes blind to protect your children.