OVERVIEW: The Christian population of the UAE is about 9 percent of the total population, but these Christians are nearly all foreign workers. There are very few known Christians among the native Emirati Arabs. Foreigners enjoy a high level of religious freedom, and Christian churches are allowed in the country with the understanding that they will not evangelize Muslims or undermine the local government. Proselytizing Muslims is forbidden. It can be difficult for foreigners to form close relationships with Emirati families, but some Christians are intentional about sharing their faith with other migrants living in the UAE (Persians, Afghans, South Asians, etc.). Very few indigenous Emiratis have come to faith inside their homeland.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Most Emiratis are Sunni Muslim.
PERSECUTOR: Emirati Christian converts are persecuted primarily by their immediate families.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Only a few native Emiratis have converted to Christianity from Islam. Due to the modernity of their country, they enjoy some degree of flexibility in meeting secretly for worship. However, if their faith is discovered, they will lose their jobs, homes, spouses and children. Their families will disown them, and they may be prosecuted for apostasy.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: The people of the UAE have easy access to the Bible through the Internet or the various churches for expatriates throughout the country.
VOM WORK: VOM provides support to Christians from a Muslim background and supports follow-up work for the many Arabic-language media ministries reaching into the country from abroad.