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Abu Dhabi: Legal authorities in the UAE have warned the public against acts of hatred or discrimination, saying that penalties will be imposed for the crime of blasphemy.

The UAE Public Prosecution has clearly outlined acts and behaviours that constitute blasphemy in the country.

“Pursuant to Article 4 of Federal Decree No 2 of 2015 on Combatting Discrimination and Hatred, whoever commits any of [these] acts shall be sentenced for the crime of blasphemy,” the authority said on its social media accounts. It then went on to list the following acts:

Offending, showing contempt or irreverence towards the ‘Divine Entity’.

Offending, insulting, challenging, defaming or disrespecting any religion or any of its rituals or sacred things, or disrupting or preventing licensed religious observances or ceremonies by violence or threat.

Distorting, destroying, desecrating or insulting, in any way, any of the holy books.

Insulting, disrespecting, offending or defaming one of the messengers or their spouses, family or companions.

Destroying, damaging or desecrating the sanctity of places of worship, cemeteries or graves.

Widespread protection

The UAE guarantees protection to people of all faith groups, and accordingly punishes acts of intolerance or religious hatred. The same 2015 law stipulates the penalties for violators, which includes a five-year jail term, or fines between Dh250,000 and Dh2million, or both.

It also criminalises hate speech, setting a five-year jail term, a minimum fine of Dh500,000, or both a jail term and a fine, for such an offence.