While Islam is the official religion of Dubai, the emirate is well-known for its tolerance and respect for all religions. Besides mosques, the city houses many other places of worship including churches and temples. Visitors and residents are expected to respect Islam and abide by certain etiquette and code of conduct, including the special rules that come into effect during the holy month of Ramadan. Most of the official public holidays are based on the Islamic calendar.
Religion plays a significant role in the culture of Dubai. Mosques can be found throughout the city and at sunset the call to prayer can be heard across the rooftops. It is possible for non-Muslim tourists to visit certain mosques in Dubai; with perhaps the most impressive being the Jumeirah Mosque, tours of which can be booked through the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
With more than 160 nationalities living peacefully together in the UAE, the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued Law No 02 of 2015 to protect all religions against hate, religious intolerance and discrimination. HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said that the law ‘guarantees the freedom of individuals from religious intolerance and hate crimes and underpins the UAE’s policy of inclusiveness.’ The main provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Legislation of Law No 02 of 2015 are: 1. Criminalizes any acts that stoke religious hatred;2. Criminalizes any act that insults religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or online media;3. Punishes anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels, or unbelievers;4. Aims to safeguard people regardless of their origin, beliefs or race, against acts that promote religious hate and intolerance;5. Prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, His prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards;6. Makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin;7. Prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred8. Prohibits and kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE; organized with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups on the basis of faith, origin or race;9. Makes it illegal to receive financial support to fund activities that propagate hate.
The Anti-Discrimination Legislation of Law No 02 of 2015 does not contradict with other existing laws, but instead aligns with them to protect specially privileged groups in society such as women, children and the disabled. Penalties for breaking the Anti-Discrimination Law No 02 of 2015 include jail terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to AED 2 million.