Avoid Muslim United Arab Emirates


Singer on trial in UAE for insulting Islam on Instagram

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi

Khaleej Times
Filed on June 28, 2018

An amateur singer went on trial in Abu Dhabi accused of posting a blasphemous video on Instagram.

Public prosecutors in Abu Dhabi referred the Filipina woman to the Criminal Court of First Instance after cybercrime officials spotted the video that was deemed insulting to Islam.

The video, which was posted on Instagram by the singer, showed her singing and pointing her left hand to a mosque that is visible in the backgrounds according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors charged the Filipina with blasphemy. She, however, denied the charge when she appeared in court.

Her lawyer Nashwa Al Qubaisi argued that the charges pressed against her client were unreasonable and that there was no criminality in her actions.

She argued that there was not enough evidence presented by prosecutors to prove that her client had intentions of insulting Islam through her video.

The lawyer had handed the judge a comprehensive document containing her client's defence and also asked that the woman be cleared of the charges because she was innocent.

The trial was adjourned to a future date.

US teacher stabbed to death in Abu Dhabi identified

December 03, 2014

An American school teacher stabbed to death in a mall restroom in Abu Dhabi by a suspect wearing a full black veil was identified Wednesday by the recruiting firm who placed her.

Ben Glickman, CEO of Canadian-based Footprints Recruiting, confirmed to FoxNews.com that the victim was Ibolya Ryan, 47, the mother of 11-year-old twin boys.

Ryan was Hungarian, born in Romania, and later became an American citizen. She trained in the U.S. as a teacher before being assigned to the United Arab Emirates in September 2013, Glickman said.

The boys’ father, from whom Ryan was divorced, flew to the UAE to collect the boys, Glickman said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Abu Dhabi released video footage in the hunt for the suspect, who wore a full black veil and authorities said used a sharp tool that has been confiscated by police.

The stabbing comes on the heels of a security warning posted by the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi in late October, advising Americans of a “recent anonymous posting on a Jihadist website that encouraged attacks against teachers at American and other international schools in the Middle East.

“The Mission is unaware of any specific, credible threat against any American or other school or individual in the United Arab Emirates (UAE),” the warning reads. “Nonetheless, the Mission is working with local schools identified with the United States to review their security posture.”

In the video, the suspect, wearing a traditional black robe, full-face veil and gloves commonly worn by local women throughout the Arab Gulf region, is seen calmly walking into the mall in Abu Dhabi’s upscale Reem Island.

The suspect picks up a paper and disappears down a hallway. An hour and a half later, the suspect reappears and races toward an elevator. A woman tries to stop the suspect before she enters, but retreats. The suspect then quickly walks out the doors of the mall.

Col. Rashid Borshid, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, told The Associated Press that the attacker remains at large. He said police are investigating possible motives and the gender of the attacker.

He said a fight broke out between the victim and the attacker in the women's restroom just before the stabbing.

"The Abu Dhabi Police will spare no effort in order to unveil this heinous crime and bring the culprit to justice," he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates said they are aware of the incident that took place Dec. 1 and are in contact with Emirati authorities. The embassy said it stands ready to offer all possible consular services.

The UAE is a Western-allied, seven-state federation that includes the glitzy commercial hub of Dubai and the oil-rich capital of Abu Dhabi. It is home to a sizable Western population where foreigners outnumber Emirati citizens.

The country prides itself on being a safe haven in the turbulent Middle East. The UAE is part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Austrian rape victim was arrested for having sex outside of marriage in UAE when she reported the crime... and told she had to MARRY her attacker

•    29-year-old was arrested when she reported that her attacker had raped her
•    She faced a jail sentence for having 'extra marital sex' and drinking alcohol
•    Austrian Foreign Ministry put together a crisis team to free her
•    260,000 people signed a petition supporting her attempts at freedom

1 February 2014
Daily Mail

An Austrian woman who was raped in Dubai has been arrested for having extra martial sex and was told by police she could only avoid jail if she married her attacker.

The 29-year-old student from Vienna was facing a jail sentence having been accused of having sex outside of marriage and drinking alcohol, both of which are illegal in the United Arab Emirate capital.

It was only after the Austrian Foreign Ministry intervened, that she was able to leave the country and return home.

The unnamed woman, who is understood to be Muslim, had been to a party at a hotel where the rules on alcohol are often lax, according to Austrian officials.

She said the attack happened in an underground car park after a Yemeni man in Dubai approached her.

When she reported it to police, she was arrested and told she could only escape being charged if she agreed to marry the man she said had attacked her.

The student was released after a special crisis team was sent by the Austrian Foreign Ministry to Dubai to negotiate with the authorities. She was greeted by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz when she landed in Vienna yesterday.

An online petition also helped to bring attention to the situation, gaining over 260,000 signatures calling for her release in just a few days.

Her quick release came as a surprise because, as a Muslim, she would likely have been treated more severely than non-Muslim Western visitors in trouble with police because of the strict Islamic rules surrounding drinking.

Her case has been compared the eventual pardon of a 24-year-old Norwegian woman who was given a prison sentence of one year and four months by a Dubai court after she reported her own rape last year.

Instead of being treated as a victim, she was found guilty of alcohol abuse and extramarital sex.
She was later pardoned and allowed to return to Norway after there was a global outcry about her treatment.

Activists: Kuwait, UAE sentences for tweets

MONDAY NOVEMBER 18, 2013, 9:09 AM

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Twitter users in two Gulf Arab countries received prison terms Monday, rights activist said, in the latest sign of widening crackdowns in the region on social media for posts considered offensive or against state security.

The court decisions in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are likely to bring renewed protests from international rights groups accusing Gulf authorities of using codes against dissent to try to muzzle open expression on the Internet.

In Kuwait, a court sentenced a Twitter user, Musaab Shamsah, to five years in prison after he was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, said activist Nawaf al-Hendal.

Sahmsah was arrested following a Twitter post he allegedly made in May that made references to the descendants of Islam's prophet. The post, since taken down, could be taken as endorsing Shiite beliefs in the Sunni-ruled country.

In the UAE, a state worker, Waleed al-Shehhi, received a two-year sentence and a fine of 500,000 dirhams ($137,000) after conviction on state security charges for Twitter posts in May about the trial of 94 people suspected of ties to an Islamist faction, which authorities claim seeks to undermine the country's ruling system, said prominent UAE activist Ahmed Mansoor.

In July, 69 of the defendants were convicted of trying to overthrow the state.

There was no immediate comment from authorities in either country on the cases.

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, three lawyers are facing trial over social media posts allegedly criticizing authorities.

Sunday May 12, 2013
Reporter: Ross Coulthart

Yahoo News

With Dubai emerging as a major stopover point for long haul journeys, five hundred flights a month will deliver over one million of us to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the next year.

Dubai is being promoted as a luxury high-class paradise in the desert, but the reality is brutally different, as Australian Alicia Gali discovered. Gali took a job in the UAE with one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, Starwood. What happened next makes this story a must-watch for every Australian planning on travelling through the region.

Gali was using her laptop in the hotel’s staff bar when her drink was spiked. She awoke to a nightmare beyond belief: she had been savagely raped by three of her colleagues. Alone and frightened, she took herself to hospital. What Alicia didn’t know is that under the UAE’s strict sharia laws, if the perpetrator does not confess, a rape cannot be convicted without four adult Muslim male witnesses. She was charged with having illicit sex outside marriage, and thrown in a filthy jail cell for eight months.

Court in UAE says beating wife, child OK if no marks are left

October 19, 2010

(CNN) -- A court in the United Arab Emirates says a man is permitted under Islamic law to physically discipline his wife and children as long as he leaves no marks and has tried other methods of punishment, the country's top court ruled.

The ruling came in the case of a man who slapped his wife and slapped and kicked his 23-year-old daughter, the document said.

The daughter had bruises on her right hand and right knee and the wife had injuries to her lower lip and teeth, the ruling said.

The court ruled that a man has the right to punish his wife and children. That includes beating them, after he has tried other options, such as admonition and then abstaining from sleeping with his wife.

However, the court ruled that in this case the man exceeded his authority under sharia, or Islamic law. His wife was beaten too severely and his daughter was too old to be disciplined, the ruling said.

"Although the [law] permits the husband to use his right [to discipline], he has to abide by the limits of this right," wrote Chief Justice Falah al Hajeri in a ruling issued this month and released in a court document recently. It was reported in the English-language publication The National.

"If the husband abuses this right to discipline, he cannot be exempted from punishment," according to the ruling.

Several experts said it is against Islamic law to permit wife-beating.

Jihad Hashim Brown -- the head of research at Tabah Foundation, which specializes in the interpretation of Islamic law -- couldn't comment specifically on what the courts did and didn't say because he hadn't read the ruling.

However, he said he feels confident that the UAE court didn't sanction injury or abuse. He said sharia law is complex and has been open to interpretation.

But he argued that in Islamic law it is "absolutely unlawful" to abuse a wife, injure her, or insult her dignity.

"When a situation in a marriage reaches the point where people feel like they need to hit someone, that is time for divorce. Anyone who would abuse, injure or even insult the dignity of their wife, this has now become a criminal offense which can be prosecuted in a court of law."

Canadian-Egyptian scholar Dr. Jamal Badawi, who has written about this topic, said "wife beating is not allowed in Islam" and said the Quranic verses and sayings back "the prohibition of any type of wife beating," especially on the face.

Summer Hathout, a lawyer and an activist for women's rights in California, argued that the UAE rulings are based on maintaning a patriarchal elite power structure.

"To those of us who know Islam and the Quran, violence against women is so antithetical to the teachings of Islam," she said.


Abused women find refuge in controversial UAE shelter

Friday, May 19, 2006

By Ali Khalil

Veiled Sharla says she is aware of many campaigns to distort the image of the shelter, mainly by ‘abusive husbands of women who were helped by the shelter’

SHARLA’S mobile phone hardly stops alerting her with messages from women victims of domestic violence seeking help or refuge in the Dubai-based shelter she runs.

Some sound very desperate. “Help me find a place to stay. This mentality isn’t right ... There is no respect at all,” said a message from an American woman who has been married for some 20 years to an Emirati.

“Why am I letting him treat me like garbage? I’m under his feet,” the message read.

Sharla Musabih, one of the directors of two shelters known as the City of Hope is herself American and married to a local man.

She said the desperate mother of five is married to a wealthy man who “beats and rapes her” and does not provide her with food despite housing her in a mansion.

Sharla said complaints have increased sharply since she started the shelter with a group of Western women back in 2001.

“I used to get one case a month ... But for the past six months, I get at least one case a day,” she told AFP.

Another message is from a caseworker informing her of a fellow American whose abusive local husband told her a traditional midwife was coming to circumcise her.

“He’s planning to tie up his wife, and cut (her clitoris) off,” the message read, saying the woman, a Muslim convert in her mid-twenties and married for six years, had run away.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), as it is referred to by human rights organizations, is not common in the United Arab Emirates. Sharla said it was the first time in her 25 years in the country that she has heard of such a “shocking” case.

But for a Sunni cleric who sees the shelter going against the conservative culture of the society, Sharla is a “suspect foreigner who is inciting women against their husbands”.

“There are courts and law in this country. A woman who is being beaten by her husband can file a lawsuit and the judge would divorce her,” Iraqi Sheikh Ahmad al-Kubaisi said.

The UAE-based cleric said people are very wary of the role of the shelter, claiming that some see it as a stop to traffic women into prostitution.

Veiled Sharla said she was aware of many campaigns to distort the image of the shelter, mainly by “abusive husbands of women who were helped by the shelter”.

Kubaisi said marital problems should be sorted first through the family, and government departments if needed, but not by running to a “suspect” shelter.

Sharla agreed that the first port of call for a woman subjected to domestic violence should be the police’s human rights department, which usually refers her to hospital for a medical report.

But she complained that human rights officers are generally not trained to deal with cases of domestic violence. She said they tend to call in the husband of a pleading wife, promising to make him sign a pledge not to abuse her again.

“That’s why most women don’t want to go to the police because that triples their problems,” claimed Sharla, pointing out that women later suffer the revenge of a husband who feels humiliated.

In court, women who demand divorce over domestic violence have to wait a long time, even years.

“By the time a woman gets a divorce she is ready to give up all her rights because she would have lost her mind,” she added.

A Muslim man can divorce his wife instantly without resorting to a court, but a woman needs to have a strong case to convince the judge to grant her a divorce.

In one of the City of Hope shelters, located in a two-storey villa in an affluent neighborhood of Dubai, a handful of women and several children shifted between the small backyard and the living room.

The two shelters can accommodate around 80 women but they currently host a total of 22 women, Sharla said, adding that donations in kind and money keep the facility running.

The majority of women who seek help from the shelter are foreigners. They are married either to local men or other Arabs, or subjected to violence from family members. Some are abused domestic workers.

“Local women run to their mother’s house and they sort it out between families,” said Sharla, pointing out that the shelter reflects the demographic diversity of the UAE population of around four million, which is a patchwork of ethnicities and nationalities.

A 22-year-old veiled Asian girl told AFP she ended up in the shelter after repeated attempts to escape being abused by her family, which had confiscated her passport and tried to force her into an arranged marriage.

“My mother and younger brother were violent with me, beating me with fists and pulling my hair,” she said, requesting anonymity.

She had emigrated to a Western country, but when she came back to the United Arab Emirates for a visit her family forced her to stay.

She said her country’s embassy refused to issue her a new passport to be able to leave the UAE, telling her: “It is wrong to go against your family’s wishes.” There are no independent statistics on violence against women in conservative Gulf countries.

A conference on combating violence and discrimination against women held in Manama in 2005 called on Gulf countries to establish a regional centre to “collate regular statistics on violence against women”. AFP