The UAE said on Monday it has issued a new law to punish hate crimes based on religion and race following a decree by the country's President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The new law, No. 02 of 2015, criminalises any acts that stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or via online media, news agency WAM reported.
The law also includes provisions for punishing anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels, or unbelievers.
WAM said the law is intended to provide a sound foundation for the environment of tolerance, broadmindedness and acceptance in the UAE and aims to safeguard people regardless of their origin, beliefs or race, against acts that promote religious hate and intolerance.
Penalties for violation of the various provisions of the law include jail terms of six months to over 10 years and fines from AED50,000 to AED2 million ($544,492).
"The Anti-Discriminatory Law prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards. It also has provisions to fight discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin," WAM reported.
The law prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred and recommends stringent punishments for groups or supporters of any organisations or individuals that are associated with hate crimes.
It also bars any kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE organised with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups on the basis of faith, origin or race. Receiving financial support for such activities is also punishable under the new law.
Source: Arabian Business