Up to Dh3 million fine: Visiting UAE's CSI church, BAPS temple? Rules, penalties to watch out for

Here are the dont's of visiting these non-Muslim houses of worship in the Emirates


Laraib Anwer

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Published: Mon 29 Apr 2024, 3:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Apr 2024, 8:58 PM

The new CSI church is the latest talk of the town, as the house of worship built on the framework of 'wings of angels' is all set to be open to the public from May 5.

Located opposite to the BAPS Hindu Temple, both the holy structures are situated in Abu Dhabi on 4.37-acres of land in Abu Mureikha, gifted by President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The magnificent temple has already attracted crowds of residents, as well as tourists from across the world.

For those looking to visit these non-Muslim sites of worship, it's crucial to know what decorum to maintain while visiting and the laws placed by authorities to ensure safety and communal harmony.

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Here are the dont's of visiting these houses of worship in the Emirates.

Rules in place

To ensure these places of worship are not exploited, the UAE has set certain laws in place that apply to visitors, as well as those managing these sacred places.

  • It is not permitted to insult the teachings of any religion, sect, or other belief
  • It is not permitted to use the house or room of worship for any purpose other than its intended use
  • It is not permitted to interfere in any internal and external affairs of the country, as well as any politics, laws or harming public order in any way within these premises
  • It is not permitted to provoke sectarian, racial, religious or ethnic conflict, or call for extremism or violence in any way
  • It is not allowed to practice any activities aimed at calling for one religion, sect, or belief
  • Visitors must perform any acts of worship within the premises of these structures only and refrain from practicing any religious rites or rituals outside the intended places
  • It is strictly prohibited to practice any rites or rituals that may lead to harming the individual themselves or others. Any practices that might threaten the person, visitor or worker's health, safety or security are also strictly not allowed
  • It is prohibited to organise conferences, seminars, gatherings or events without attaining approval from the competent authority
  • It is not allowed to hold external meetings and conferences or join places of worship, bodies, organisations, associations or entities based outside the country
  • It is prohibited to use funds for purposes other than those for which they are intended
  • Collecting donations, allowing them to be collected, or announcing them through audio, print, visual, social media, or any other means is not allowed
  • For those managing these institutions, it is not permitted to have any official or informal relationship with the diplomatic or official institutions of any state in any capacity
  • It is not allowed to interfere in the internal or foreign politics of other countries or use the house of worship for that purpose

Penalties imposed

Under UAE's Federal Law (9) of 2023 concerning the Regulation of Houses of Worship for Non-Muslims, heavy penalties are imposed on those who violate the above mentioned prohibitions, as well as other rules mentioned under this law.

The hefty fines ranges from anywhere between Dh100,000 to Dh3 million, depending on the severity of the violation.


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