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10 Facts About UAE Christians From History to Everyday Life

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 11:48 AM

The UAE is one of the smallest Gulf States. It is an Islamic state, though tolerant of Christianity and its followers. The large foreign population make up 85 percent of the inhabitants in country that has become very rich very quickly due to oil revenues.

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Here are 10 facts on Christians living in the UAE:

1. The building of the Sir Bani Yas monastery in the seventh century marked the arrival of Christianity in the UAE. The rapid spread of Islam in the eighth century led to the conversion of the population and evidence of any Christian activity disappears from that time.

2. There are over 900,000 Christians in the UAE, making up nearly 13 percent of the overall population. The majority are foreigners working in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the number is increasing with continued immigration.

3. There are over 35 Christian churches in UAE with more under construction in an effort to reduce overcrowding.

4. The UAE is ranked No. 49 in the world on a watch list of countries where it is dangerous to be a Christian, according to Open Doors, a UK-based organization that supports persecuted Christians worldwide.

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5. Two pre-Islamic Christian churches discovered in southern UAE date from the seventh century. It is thought they were built by the Church of the East, formerly known as the Nestorian Christians, according to an article published in the Journal of Social Affairs.

6. UAE Christians belong to all denominations from Catholic and Baptist, to Anglican to Coptic, and many more. Because of the amount of people from all over the world, there is nearly a church for every branch of Christianity, according to www.DubaiFAQs.com

7. Christians in the UAE are allowed to openly celebrate Christmas and Easter without fear of persecution for their beliefs from the authorities, according to a brief written by the U.S. State Department.

8. There are no indigenous UAE Christians, unlike other Middle East countries such as Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. Despite this UAE is very tolerant of Christianity, according to a piece published in UAE-based The Nation.

9. UAE Christians live under the Sharia Law enshrined in the civil and criminal laws of the state. Christians can suffer punishment for behaviour in public which is acceptable in the West.

10. Modern healthcare came to the UAE with the arrival of Christian missionary Dr. Pat Kennedy and his wife, Marian. They opened the Al Ain Oasis hospital in 1964, and many of the UAE Royal family have been born there.

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The UAE is one of the smallest Gulf States. It is an Islamic state, though tolerant of Christianity and its followers.
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