President announces new law affecting every mosque in UAE

Legislation bans begging nationwide, bringing food to mosques and stipulates that only Emiratis can be taken on as employees

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jun 29, 2014 -  Duhr prayer at Masjid Musabah Bin Rashid Al Fattan Mosque during the First day of Ramadan. ( Jaime Puebla / The National Newspaper )

A new federal law that will affect every mosque in the UAE was set out by the President as the country prepares to mark the start of Ramadan.

The President, Sheikh Khalifa issued the wide-ranging legislation on Wednesday.

It states that no member of the public can do the following without a licence from the authorities:

- supply or take food into a mosque

- give lectures or sermons, organising seminars, conducting Quran memorisation circles

-  collect donations or other aid

- appoint or assign any person on a temporary or permanent member of staff to organise religious or social events

The law also states that any candidates for jobs should be Emirati - which is not the case at present. That candidate would have to be of good conduct, with no arrests, citation or criminal record in felonies or misdemeanours relating to honour or personal integrity, unless they have been cleared of any charges.

Though residents who meet the conditions and requirements of the mosque may be appointed to vacant positions in the absence of Emirati candidates.

"The law prohibits those working in mosques from belonging to any illegal group or from carrying out any political or organisational activity," state news agency Wam reported.

"The law also prohibits employees from preaching and recitation, teaching religious lessons and running Quran memorisation activities outside mosques or involvement in entities authorised to participate in any media activities without prior permission from the competent authority, as well as the collection of donations or financial or in-kind assistance for third parties."

Begging in mosques or any activity that would disrupt the security and sanctity of mosques and prayer spaces has also been prohibited. Begging is already illegal in the UAE though instances often increase during the holy month as people seek to take advantage of people's charitable spirit.


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