United Arab Emirates
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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1971
Last Amended 1996
Source UNHCR Refworld
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


… Desiring also to lay the foundation for federal rule in the coming years on a sound basis, corresponding to the realities and the capacities of the Emirates at the present time, enabling the Union, so far as possible, freely to achieve its goals, sustaining the identity of its members providing that this is not inconsistent with those goals and preparing the people of the Union at the same time for a dignified and free constitutional life, and progressing by steps towards a comprehensive, representative, democratic regime in an Islamic and Arab society free from fear and anxiety;
…For all these reasons and until the preparation of the permanent Constitution for the Union may be completed, we proclaim before the Supreme and Omnipotent Creator, and before all the peoples, our agreement to this provisional Constitution, to which our signatures were appended, which shall be implemented during the transitional period indicated in it;
May Allah, our Protector and Defender, grant us success.

Article 6

The Union is part of the Great Arab Nation, to which it is bound by the ties of religion, language, history and common destiny.
The people of the Union are one people, and one part of the Arab Nation.

Article 7

Islam is the official religion of the Union. The Islamic Shari’ah shall be a main source of legislation in the Union. The official language of the Union is Arabic.

Article 12

The foreign policy of the Union shall be directed towards support for Arab and Islamic causes and interests and towards the consolidation of the bonds of friendship and cooperation with all nations and peoples on the basis of the principles of the charter of the United Nations and ideal international standards.

Article 15

The family is the basis of society. It is founded on morality, religion, ethics and patriotism. The law shall guarantee its existence, safeguard and protect it from corruption.

Article 25

All persons are equal before the law, without distinction between citizens of the Union in regard to race, nationality, religious belief or social status.

Article 32

Freedom to exercise religious worship shall be guaranteed in accordance with established customs, provided that it does not conflict with public policy or violate public morals.

Article 52

The term of office of the President and the Vice President shall be five Gregorian years. They are eligible for re-election to the same offices.
Each of them shall, on assuming office, take the following oath before the Supreme Council
"I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful to the United Arab Emirates; that I will respect its Constitution and its laws; that I will protect the interests of the people of the Union; that I will discharge my duties faithfully and loyally and that I will safeguard the independence of the Union and its territorial integrity."

Article 57

The Prime Minister, his Deputy and the Ministers shall, before assuming the responsibilities of their office, take the following oath before the President of the Union: -
"I swear by Almighty God that I will be loyal to the United Arab Emirates; that I will respect its Constitution and laws; that I will discharge my duties faithfully; that I will completely observe the interests of the people of the Union and that I will completely safeguard the existence of the Union and its territorial integrity."

Article 73

Before assuming his duties in the Assembly or its Committees, a member of the Union National Assembly shall take the following oath before the Assembly in public session: -
"I swear by Almighty God that I will be loyal to the United Arab Emirates; that I will respect the Constitution and the laws of the Union and that I will discharge my duties in the Assembly and its Committees honestly and truthfully."


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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