UAE imposes harsh penalties for religious crimes

AFP , Monday 20 Jul 2015

In this photo taken, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, Muslims offer evening prayers during the holy month of Ramadan at the Al Farooq Omar bin Al Khattab Mosque in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo)

The United Arab Emirates on Monday announced new legislation imposing harsh sentences including the death penalty for crimes related to religious hatred and Sunni extremism.

A presidential decree criminalises any act that stirs religious hatred and also prohibits discrimination "on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin".

Offenders risk up to 10 years in prison or the death penalty if convicted of "takfirism" or Sunni Muslim extremism, according to the text of the decree distributed by the official WAM news agency.

Proponents of such ideology adopted by Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups describe as infidels non-Muslims as well as Muslims who do not share their beliefs.

The oil-rich Gulf state last year brought in strict new legislation and listed 83 groups classified as "terrorist", including the Muslim Brotherhood.

UAE warplanes are taking part in the US-led international coalition waging a campaign of air raids against the jihadist Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

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