New UAE draft law bans unauthorised religious activities


New UAE draft law bans unauthorised religious activities

Abu Dhabi - Heavy fines and jail term for violators; draft law also outlines hiring criterion for mosque workers

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Wed 15 Nov 2017, 6:15 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Nov 2017, 7:59 PM

The Federal National Council has passed a new draft law imposing fines and jail term on anyone holding religious lectures and lessons or memorisation of the Holy Quran gatherings without approval.
The new draft law to the effect was passed on Tuesday.
A prison sentence and/or a fine will be handed to anyone in the UAE who holds religious lectures and lessons, religious social gatherings or memorisation of the Holy Quran, without authority's approval.
The new law also prohibits anyone from appointing a person to work, starting religious libraries and collecting donations or aid, without prior approval from the General Authority of the Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

Those who do not abide by the new law, will face up to three months in prison or face a fine of up to Dh5,000.

Presided by FNC speaker, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, the session also focused heavily on the rules and regulations for UAE mosques.

The FNC approved a draft federal law on the regulation and care of mosques.

FNC members stressed that only qualified employees must work in mosques, and the bill prohibits any employees from working in mosques, who belong to unlawful groups or organisations, practicing prohibited political or organisational activities, preaching without a license or approval, issues fatwas or teaching the Holy Quran outside mosques.

There is a fine between Dh20,000-Dh50,000 and/or a minimum of three months prison sentence for whoever breaches the security and sanctity of the mosque.

A fine of up to Dh5,000 and/or three months prison sentence was also announced for whoever begs at mosques, or interferes with the Imam while he is calling for prayer or preaching.

Furthermore, the salaries of employees working at mosques was also discussed.

FNC members argued that salary regulations by the Ministry of Human Resources should apply to all mosque employees, however, Dr Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, argued that some mosque owners happily choose to give salaries above the ministry's minimum, which is Dh6,300.

"A mosque owner would want to pay an Imam Dh20,000, so why limit his salary to Dh6,300?" he asked.

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