DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced a major overhaul to the country’s Islamic private law, allowing unmarried couples to live together, easing restrictions on alcohol and the so-called “honor killing”.
The expansion of personal freedoms that reflects the shifting profile of a country has sought to advertise itself as a destination with skyscrapers for Western tourists and businesses, Adopt the legal system of that country based on strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s economic and social status and “strengthening the UAE̵7;s tolerance principles” were reported by state news agency WAM.
These changes also reflect the Emirates ruler’s efforts to keep pace with a rapidly changing society. In a country where foreigners outnumber citizens by nearly nine, the amendments will also allow foreigners to avoid Shariah Islamic courts on issues like marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
The announcement also follows a historic US-mediated deal aimed at normalizing relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring in an influx of Israeli tourists and investments.
Emirati filmmaker Abdallah Al Kaabi said: “I couldn’t be happier for these progressive and proactive new laws, whose artwork deals with taboo themes like same-sex love and homosexuality. gender format.
“2020 is a difficult and transformative year for the UAE,” he added.
The changes include removal of penalties for drinking, selling and possession of alcohol for people 21 years of age and older.
While alcohol and beer are widely sold in bars and clubs in the UAE’s luxury coastal cities, individuals previously required a government-issued permit to buy, transport, or have alcohol. in their home. The new rules will clearly allow Muslims, who have been banned from obtaining permits, to drink alcohol freely.
Legal reforms were announced by the state news agency WAM and published in detail in the state newspaper The National.
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Another amendment allows the “live trial of unmarried couples”, which has long been a crime in the UAE.
Authorities, especially in more liberal financial hubs like Dubai, tend to look the other way when it comes to foreigners but the threat of punishment still persists for such behavior.
In a move to better “protect women’s rights”, the government said it also decided to remove laws that protect so-called “honorable crimes”, a widely criticized custom in which A close male relative may avoid prosecution for assaulting a woman considered despicable. her family.
Punishment for a crime aimed at removing a woman’s “shame”, for blasphemy or failure to adhere to religious and cultural strictures, is now the same as for any form of practice any other hung.
However, traditional Islamic values remained strong within the confederacy of the seven desert kingdoms.
The reforms do not mention other behaviors deemed offensive to local customs that have sent foreigners in jail in the past, such as homosexual behavior, cross-dressing and showing affection. public.
The reforms come as the UAE gets ready to host the World Expo. The event is planned to bring a range of commercial activity and some 25 million visitors to the tiny Gulf of Arab country, after it was pushed back a year by the coronavirus pandemic.