Religion in Abu Dhabi

Islam is the official religion of the UAE and the majority of Abu Dhabi Emiratis are Muslim. However, the government respects the right to freedom of religion and generally does not interfere in the practice of other religions in Abu Dhabi.

Tolerance of other religions in Abu Dhabi

There are a number of Christian churches in Abu Dhabi. However, there are no Hindu or Sikh temples, or Jewish synagogues, and members of these religions generally practice their faith in private homes.

It’s illegal to proselytise in the UAE and to spread the ideas of any religion apart from Islam through any form of media or the distribution of religious literature. Those caught doing this can face criminal prosecution, imprisonment and deportation.

Nevertheless, non-Muslim groups do openly advertise religious functions such as holiday celebrations, religious gatherings and fundraising events in the local printed media and across social media platforms. Non-Muslim celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Diwali and Onam are also marked by some retail outlets offering specials and selling decorations and foods for these occasions.

Ramadan in Abu Dhabi

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Muslims and non-Muslims alike are required to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public during the fasting hours (generally sunrise to sunset) out of respect for the Islamic practice. Those not complying with this may face prosecution.

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