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Some facts about the UAE

Reader comment on item: The UAE's Fragile Good Life
in response to reader comment: UAE

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Apr 12, 2016 at 15:16

Hi, Daniel and Dianne

For what it's worth, I'll add that UAE is unique among Arab countries, in having several of the major Sunni "schools" represented in its emirates. The schools don't disagree with one another tremendously -- except for the Wahabbis, the official school in next-door Saudi Arabia, which is the mother of all Sunni terrorist groups in the world. (besides "Salafist" Wahabbi terrorists, the world also has to deal with Shi'a terrorists, such as Hizbullah, and Secular terrorists like Fatah).

In foreign policy, UAE has been a strong ally of Egypt's President El-Sisi; and of the Tobruk faction in eastern Libya, along with the leader of the latter's armed forces, ex-Gaddafi supporter who later switched to the CIA, General Chalifa Haftar. I have found an article giving excellent coverage of events in Libya at

NATO, US plan for a new war in Libya
By Marianne Arens | Global Research
Monday 11 April 2016
-- http://www.libyanexpress.com/nato-us-plan-for-a-new-war-in-libya/

The UAE has also borne the lion's share of fighting Iranian-backed Houthin rebels in Yemen, howbeit mainly by importing mercenaries from Colombia and other Latin American countries. They have also have contributed four F-16s and crews, to fly sorties over Syria for the US-led coalition against the Islamic State. Wikipedia reports that the US has about 400 troops stationed in the UAE, mostly US Marines.

A good summary of recent polls of Arab attitudes in several countries, including the UAE, can be found at

http://www.aaiusa.org/opinion-polls

One of the linked surveys notes the following:

1) Majorities of millennials in all eight countries say it is important that those they
meet know that they are Muslim. Nevertheless, "my religion" is not the principal source
of identity in six of the eight countries. In Morocco, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan,
and Palestine almost seven in 10 respondents say that their principal identity is either their
country or "being Arab."

2) There appears to be a correlation between living in a pluralistic society where young
Muslims have non-Muslim acquaintances and the strength of their attachment to their
Muslim identity. The four countries (UAE, Egypt, Morocco, and Kuwait) where more than
nine in 10 millennials say that it is important that they be known as Muslim are also the
only four countries where a majority of respondents say that in their circle of acquaintances
they know persons of another faith.

6) Strong majorities in all countries agree that people have the right to dispense religious advice
in public, with the caveat that it is best if done with courtesy. In the UAE, Kuwait, and
Palestine around one in five express some resistance to such public interventions.

7) Only in Saudi Arabia do a substantial majority of millennial Muslims say that it is
easy to be an observant Muslim and to resist temptations currently found in their
society. More than seven in 10 in UAE and about six in 10 in Kuwait, Egypt, and Palestine
acknowledge that they feel tension between the temptations of today's society and their
Muslim faith.

9) In five of eight countries, majorities disagree that Islam as it is currently taught and practiced
conflicts with the modern world and needs to be reformed. This disagreement is strongest
in UAE, followed by Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Only in Palestine and Morocco
do more than six in 10 feel that reform is needed.

11) Overwhelming majorities of millennials in seven of the eight countries reject the notion
that religion is a major cause of decline in the social, political, and economic realms
in the Arab world. Only Palestinians believe that religion is a cause of decline. But in
all eight countries, substantial majorities believe that religion has a key role to play in their
countries' futures.

The above survey, found at

http://www.aaiusa.org/muslim_millennial_attitudes_on_religion_and_religious_leadership

is based on data collected in Morocco, Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and Palestine.

Note that Lebanon is not included, which might have yielded interesting results. Responses from the UAE and Palestine seemed to stand out from the rest, in both cases because of the great deal of contact Muslims in those countries (Palestine's "country", of course, being Israel) had with outsiders. In Israel, the outside contact is mainly with Jews, who represent some 80% of the population. In the UAE, the breakdown is:

India 27%; Pakistan 13%; native UAE 11%; Bangladesh 7%; Philippines 5%; Iran 5%
Egypt 4%; others 28%. About 9% of UAE residents are Christian , and another 15% have other religions (such as Hindus from India).

Daniel, you seemed to be reasonably comfortable in Abu Dhabi: perhaps more comfortable than you would be in, say, Berkeley, California -- particularly at the UC-Berkeley. Am I correct?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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