I don’t mean to offend any religion, just putting things into context. It’s the “year of tolerance” and the UAE is doing a great job showing the world how religiously tolerant their country is. But are all religions really welcome here?
It’s an absolutely great year to be Christian in the UAE, with the biggest religious tolerance highlight being the Pope’s visit. He made the sky rain and blessed children. 180,000 Christian’s prayed together in what is probably the biggest non Muslim public prayer ever allowed in the country. Nevermind the Catholic Church’s big ongoing scandal on child molestation. Hey, we also spent $450 million dollars on a “painting of Jesus” named “saviour of the world” and drawn by one of the biggest masonic figures in history. I must admit, getting the Sheikhs to approve this is dumbfounding.
Coptic Christians get a piece of the pie too, with Sheikhs donating millions of dirhams and land for building and operating Coptic Churches. Egyptian Christians (mostly Coptics) swear by the UAE to being the best place for a Coptic to leave. This is great, they’re our fellow Arabs afterall.
There’s over 40 churches now in the UAE, tending to several Christian sects, and the Christian population has risen to over a whopping 12%. Note that this only happens with the approval of the UAE government through immigration approvals. The numbers are probably one of the biggest signs that Christians are welcome here.
We then have the Jews. This is a bit more sensitive since UAE and Israel are not best friends, and Israelis are officially not allowed to enter the country. They don’t have places of worship. But they are there. They live among us in peace, even though our Palestinian brothers and sisters have been annihilated by a Jewish state, and had mosques and praying areas made off access. This is remarkably, very, tolerant.
Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, have not been forgotten either. While Muslims get slaughtered in Burma and forced to leave their religion in China, we remain tolerant by building temples and statues. I totally understand, they can’t be held responsible for the actions of their governments or their countrymen, and we should turn the other cheek and welcome them here.
However, if you’re a Shia, oh no no. You’re immediately either a Muslim hater, a terrorist, a terrorist funder, a member of Hezbollah, a “Kafir”, a criminal, a plotter against the government, or a spy. Yes there are a few Shia Mosques, but as soon as you enter, welcome to the Central Intelligence watchlist. If you’re a Shia, don’t bother applying for a work permit.
An actual fellow Muslim, but of a different sect, is being less tolerated than members of Nontheistic religions? Shia Muslims in the UAE have faced mass deportations, random deportations, sudden imprisonment, thrown into terrorism charges, disappeared, given unfair trials and forced to sell their business for cheap.
In case you are wondering why the hummus at Lebanese Flower tastes like crap now, it’s because the owner was a Shia Lebanese, who was accused of funding terrorist organizations, forced to sell his multi-million dollar chain to an Emirati, and kicked out of the country. This happened to many Shia businessmen, professionals, factory owners or just plain regular people many of which have been born in the UAE. Receiving strange calls asking them to pack up and leave the country within a week.
The whole point is, every religion or religious sect has it’s extremists, corrupt nations and terrorists, and just as we have decided to tolerate all other religions, why exactly are Shia Muslims being targeted and removed?
Yes there are still Shias living in the country. But their numbers have been greatly thinned out while other religions are increasing. And the numbers say everything. I’m sure they would like to get rid of all of them, but the UAE probably has enough pressure at UN Human Rights meetings, and they wouldn’t want to be on blast for Ethnic Cleansing. They’ll need to keep a few to keep their claim of “religious tolerance” valid.