Freedom of religion in the United Arab Emirates

The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates provides for freedom of religion in accordance with established customs, and the government generally respects this right in practice; however, there are some restrictions (e.g. attempts to spread Christianity among Muslims are not permitted). The federal Constitution declares that Islam is the official religion of the country; the Government does not recognize or permit conversion from Islam to another religion[1].

Religious demography

The country has an area of 82,880 km² (30,000 sq. mi) and a resident population of 7.4 million (2010 est.). Only approximately 20% of residents are UAE citizens.[2] According to the 2005 census, 100% Of the citizens are Muslim; 85 percent are Sunni Muslim and 15 percent are Shi'a.[3] Foreigners are predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, although there are substantial numbers from the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, North America and South America. According to a ministry report, which collected census data, 76 percent of the total population is Muslim, 9 percent is Christian, and 15 percent is other. Unofficial figures estimate that at least 15 percent of the population is Hindu, 5 percent is Buddhist, and 5 percent belong to other religious groups, while the large majority of noncitizens coming in and out of the country are non muslims, accumulating over 70% of them are largely non muslim. Parsi, Bahá'í, and Sikh.[4]