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Indian Media Applauds UAE as the Foremost Secular Nation within the Islamic World

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Indian Media Commends UAE Amidst Abu Dhabi’s Monumental Temple Opening, Emphasizing Its Unique Position as a Secular Haven within Islam.

The Indian newspaper Indianexpress spotlights the UAE’s growing secular tendencies, showcasing its efforts to draw in expatriates from diverse religious, ethnic, and national backgrounds.

The newspaper highlighted that Emiratis make up just 12% of the UAE’s population, which is estimated to be around 10 million individuals. The remaining majority consists of foreigners, with Indians being the largest group, accounting for almost a third of the total population.

The newspaper highlighted that although Islam remains the state religion, with the government overseeing Sunni and Shiite institutions and financing Sunni establishments, religious affairs are not prominently featured in official matters.

The report noted, “In the Emirates, opportunities for non-Muslims, constituting approximately a quarter of the population, have progressively widened, allowing them to freely practice their religious customs.

It also mentioned that The Emirates hosts over thirty Christian churches, alongside occasional Jewish synagogues and Sikh gurdwaras. Hindu adherents also have spaces for gatherings, religious discussions, and worship in temples.

The report highlighted that alcohol and pork are readily accessible in the UAE. Furthermore, restrictions on restaurants serving food during fasting hours in Ramadan have been relaxed.

She elaborated, “Women in the Emirates have the freedom to dress similarly to those in London or New York, and religious symbols are openly worn.” Civil law predominantly governs expatriate affairs, with Islamic law applied only in specific criminal cases. She noted, “Corporal punishment such as flogging has been discontinued, and regulations regarding sexual conduct are no longer enforced.

The newspaper also highlighted that the traditional Islamic work week in the Emirates was substituted with the Western model, resulting in Friday becoming a regular workday.

Additionally, Indianexpress affirmed that despite certain progressive aspects, the UAE does not serve as a liberal sanctuary. It noted, “The UAE retains its status as an authoritarian state with stringent controls on political engagement, as well as limitations on freedom of opinion and expression.

However, religion in the UAE is increasingly regarded as a personal and private affair. The leaders of the country are not just reducing the influence of Islam in public spheres but are actively striving to foster an inclusive environment for non-Muslims as a strategy to attract top professionals and entrepreneurs globally.

Last wedensday , Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a massive Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, joined by prominent Emirati officials. This temple stands as the largest of its kind in Abu Dhabi, where approximately 3.5 million Indian residents reside.

The opening of a Hindu temple in an Islamic country received widespread local press coverage in India, which comes after Modi opened last month a huge temple in India built on the site of a 16th-century mosque that was destroyed by a Hindu mob in 1992.

The UAE government allocated 27 acres of land in Abu Dhabi to India, where the temple, funded by the PAPS organization established over a century ago in Modi’s native Gujarat, was erected for $95 million.

Joined by religious dignitaries and Hindu priests, Modi participated in the rituals and toured the temple, in a ceremony attended by representatives of the UAE government, Bollywood celebrities, and the Indian diaspora.