Dubai: First-time violators of Dubai’s rules on collecting donations can be spared prosecution if they meet new conditions announced on Wednesday.
Fundraising in Dubai is only allowed after government approval and people in the past have been prosecuted for fundraising without clearance.
However, as part of three new resolutions revealed on Wednesday, first-time violators who fulfil the stipulations can avoid legal action.
The announcement came during a media roundtable held by Dubai’s Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) on Wednesday, at the headquarters of the International Institute for Tolerance, Dubai.
Officials said an “amicable settlement” is possible with violators provided they submit to IACAD all details of the donations and surrender the donated amount, among other provisions. IACAD will determine how to dispose the surrendered amount.
If all conditions are met, IACAD will abandon criminal proceedings against the violator. The conditions are listed in the Administrative Resolution No. (8) of 2020.
In 2019, Dh414,000 was raised through 12 violations of collecting donations, IACAD found. All of the funds subsequently went to charity via IACAD.
Officials at the roundtable also discussed Administrative Resolution No. (7) of 2020, which stipulates, among other provisions, that religious publications must be issued a permit by IACAD before they are printed or circulated.
Religious publications must not include content related to politics or that which instigates hatred.
Also, Administrative Resolution No. (9) of 2020 says a license is required for religious activities in Dubai. The licensee must not, among other stipulations, “undermine state security, or public order and morality in the UAE”.
The roundtable was attended by Dr. Hamad Bin Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, Director-General of IACAD; Ahmad Al Muhairi, Executive Director of the Charity Sector; Dr Ali Al Marzouqi, Acting Executive Director of the Islamic Affairs Sector; and Marwan Al Shehhi, Legal Advisor, Director of Legal Affairs, attended the media roundtable.
Dr Al Shaibani said IACAD’s operations are in line with the January 4, 2020 Charter declared by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Charter oversees the economic and social governance in Dubai.
Al Muhairi said: “The issuance of administrative resolution no. (8) provides a clear mechanism to find amicable settlements with violators. The resolution encourages adherence to legal regulations, all of which ensure that donations reach the intended recipients who need it the most.”
Dr Al Marzouqi said the department reviewed 3,900 books in 2019 – 210 of which were banned because they violated the rules and regulations. He added that IACAD approved over 900 religious activities last year, while the number of religious events exceeded 5,600.
Al Shehhi said that these new resolutions are complementary to the decrees and laws issued by the Government of Dubai.