United Arab Emirates relaxes Islamic laws on alcohol and cohabitation, criminalizes 'honor' killings

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  20 comments

By:   The Associated Press

United Arab Emirates relaxes Islamic laws on alcohol and cohabitation, criminalizes 'honor' killings
The United Arab Emirates announced an overhaul of the country's Islamic laws, loosening alcohol and cohabitation legislation, criminalizes 'honor' killings.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday a major overhaul of the country's Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called "honor killings."

The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to bill itself as a skyscraper-studded destination for Western tourists and businesses, despite its legal system based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The reforms aim to boost the country's economic and social standing and "consolidate the UAE's principles of tolerance," state-run WAM news agency reported.

The changes also reflect the efforts of the Emirates' rulers to keep pace with a rapidly changing society. In a country where expatriates outnumber citizens nearly nine to one, the amendments will also permit foreigners to avoid Islamic Shariah courts on issues like marriage, divorce and inheritance.

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UAE becomes third Arab nation to recognize Israel


The announcement also follows a historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring an influx of Israeli tourists and investment.

"I could not be happier for these new laws that are progressive and proactive," said Emirati filmmaker Abdallah Al Kaabi, whose art has tackled taboo topics like homosexual love and gender identity.

"2020 has been a tough and transformative year for the UAE," he added.

Changes include scrapping penalties for alcohol consumption, sales and possession for those aged 21 and over.

Although liquor and beer are widely available in bars and clubs in the UAE's luxuriant coastal cities, individuals previously needed a government-issued license to purchase, transport or have alcohol in their homes. The new rule would apparently allow Muslims, who have been barred from obtaining licenses, to drink alcoholic beverages freely.

The legal reforms were announced by state-run WAM news agency and detailed in state-linked newspaper The National.

Another amendment allows for "cohabitation of unmarried couples," which has long been a crime in the UAE.

Authorities, especially in the more free-wheeling financial hub of Dubai, tend to look the other way when it comes to foreigners but the threat of punishment still lingered for such behavior.

In a move to better "protect women's rights," the government said it also decided to get rid of laws defending so-called "honor crimes," a widely criticized custom in which a male relative may evade prosecution for assaulting a woman seen as dishonoring her family.

The punishment for a crime committed to eradicate a woman's "shame," for promiscuity or disobeying religious and cultural strictures, will now be the same as for any other kind of assault.

However, traditional Islamic values remain strong in the federation of seven desert sheikhdoms.

The reforms said nothing of other behavior deemed insulting to local customs that have landed foreigners in jail in the past, such as acts of homosexuality, cross-dressing and public displays of affection.

The reforms come as the UAE gets ready to host the World Expo. The high-stakes event is planned to bring a flurry of commercial activity and some 25 million visitors to the tiny Arab Gulf country, after it was pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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Buzz of the Orient
1  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

Welcome to the 20th century.  That is not a typo - I did NOT mean the 21st century.  However, I'd love to stay in that magnicent Dubai hotel that resembles a sailboat. 

burj-al-arab-dubai-hotel-sail-arab-emirates-05.jpg

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2  Bob Nelson    2 weeks ago

It's progress. 

It shows how different Muslim societies may be. 

(I was going to say "primitive", but that might be just ethnocentrism. I'll let you decide...) 

 
 
 
Krishna
2.1  Krishna  replied to  Bob Nelson @2    2 weeks ago
It's progress.  It shows how different Muslim societies may be

Exactly!

Which shouldn't be surprising, given the fact that there are so many Muslim countries.

Stretching from Morrocco in the west all the way East to Indonesia....From bordering Russia all the way South down the East coast of Africa. (And I may have left some out...)

Most people have no idea how many there are. Hint-- there are more than 50!!!

 
 
 
MUVA
3  MUVA    2 weeks ago

You have Trump to thank for this so you should.

 
 
 
Sparty On
3.1  Sparty On  replied to  MUVA @3    2 weeks ago

Capuchin monkeys will fly out of my butt before you ever see that ....

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1.1  MUVA  replied to  Sparty On @3.1    2 weeks ago

If it does will you film it?

 
 
 
Sparty On
3.1.2  Sparty On  replied to  MUVA @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

Lol .... not sure you would want to see that.  

Some folks here perhaps but i doubt you.

 
 
 
Krishna
3.2  Krishna  replied to  MUVA @3    2 weeks ago
You have Trump to thank for this so you should.

LOL.

Yes-- and Trump is responsible for all those cute kittens and puppies you see...

And Trump is responsible for all those young people who fall in love..

A stretch of beautiful Spring weather? Yup-- Trump did it!

/sarc

Actually, anyone who has really good knowledge of the political dynamics in the Middle-East knows--there's only one country who initially set the stage for the positive shift in the Gulf States attitude towards Israel. 

Without them this wouldn't have happened.

 

 
 
 
Krishna
3.2.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @3.2    2 weeks ago
Actually, anyone who has really good knowledge of the political dynamics in the Middle-East knows--there's only one country who initially set the stage for the positive shift in the Gulf States attitude towards Israel. 

I won't tell you who it is...but its a 4 letter word that starts with "I" and ends with "n".

 
 
 
Sparty On
4  Sparty On    2 weeks ago

Good for them but this will just further embolden radical Islamist.

I hope they are preparing for the inevitable blow-back

 
 
 
Krishna
4.1  Krishna  replied to  Sparty On @4    2 weeks ago
Good for them but this will just further embolden radical Islamist.

Nope.

Just the opposite!

Previousl/y radical islamists violent actions were hindered by Israel-- but aided by the Arabs.

Now that the major military power in the area (israel) is allied with the oil rich Arab countries- (as well as now including many other Arab countries) - this is a major, major blow against Arab extremism!

 
 
 
Sparty On
4.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Krishna @4.1    2 weeks ago
Nope. Just the opposite!

Dream on.  

This will only embolden Islamic Fundamentalists.   Giving them more fodder to push their agenda.

Not unlike the allies did with the Gulf war.

I hope i'm wrong and will be very happy to admit as much if that's what happens.  

I don't however expect you to do the same WHEN i'm proven right.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
5  SteevieGee    2 weeks ago

It's funny how religious dogma changes when it's politically beneficial to a country's leaders.

 
 
 
devangelical
5.1  devangelical  replied to  SteevieGee @5    2 weeks ago

greed directs religious dogma

 
 
 
Krishna
5.1.1  Krishna  replied to  devangelical @5.1    2 weeks ago
greed directs religious dogma

There's a lot of poverty in the Middle East-- resulting of a lot of needless suffering.

And then there's the issue of the constant wars-- also resulting in much suffering for the masses.

What's wrong with some leaders making money-- if it also results in peace-- and bettering of the economic situation of the masses?

 
 
 
Krishna
5.2  Krishna  replied to  SteevieGee @5    2 weeks ago
It's funny how religious dogma changes when it's politically beneficial to a country's leaders.

Good point!

Now if only some of our political leaders would realize that!

 
 
 
Nerm_L
6  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Well, normalizing relations between the UAE and Israel really was more than a cheap, political stunt.  UAE has begun a long (and quite possibly difficult) process of transition.  

Kudos to the UAE for taking those first steps.  And kudos to Israel for being willing to set aside its grievances and support what the UAE is trying to do.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
7  Paula Bartholomew    2 weeks ago

When I was stationed in the UAE for Desert Storm, there was no problem getting alcohol.  All the clubs and restaurants served it.  The only restriction was that only the residents of the UAE could buy it from stores.  My billet was like a ten minute walk from Leisure Land which had 4 separate clubs so I partied like it was 1999.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
8  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    2 weeks ago

Anyone choosing to out their lifestyle choices based on their government's permission and/or encouragement to do so, especially in a place where 'honor' killings were legal last month, are begging to disappear and never be seen again.

This reminds me of those police stings where criminals with warrants are lured to a certain location with the promise of receiving a fabulous prize...only to be arrested and taken to jail the instant they walked through the door.

I'm glad I'm not cynical or anything.  

 
 
 
Ender
9  Ender    2 weeks ago

Being that they cater to some of the wealthiest people in the world, I am not surprised.

 
 
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