Historian cleared of inciting hatred by Dubai court

Prosecutors lost an appeal to convict an Emirati man for a letter they claimed urged Shiite Muslims to oppose Al Awqaf Al Jafaria charitable foundation

Prosecutors have lost an appeal against the acquittal of an historian they alleged wrote a letter to a Muslim endowment body that contained phrases that could incite hatred.

Dubai Criminal Court was told that, on May 25 last year, the 49-year-old Emirati historian and founder of Emirates Centre for Culture and History wrote a letter addressed to Al Awqaf Al Jafaria, a religious charitable foundation in Dubai.

The 25-page letter, which was singed and stamped by the Emirati, was posted on social media and allegedly included phrases that incited members of the Shiite Muslim community to form an opposition party against Al Awqaf Al Jafaria.

Prosecutors said the letter also included political messages and claims that members of the Shiite community are oppressed in the UAE.

The historian denied the accusations in court last April.

He said he is a Shiite and wrote the letter after an incident involving a proposal he submitted to the director of Al Awqaf Al Jafaria suggesting a Ramadan festival to gather members of his community along with others from the Emirati community.

"It was a three-page proposal and three days after I sent it, I met with the director at a wedding where he told me in front of 300 people that he will have me dragged to national security and have my passport dropped," said the accused. He denied that he intended his letter to incite hatred.

The lower court cleared the accused. Prosecutors appealed, seeking a conviction, but lost.

Published: December 5, 2017 01:19 PM