Not-so-merry Christmas: UAE workers on trial for blasphemy after anti-Christian remarks

Published March 14th, 2016 - 08:47 GMT
There's no Christmas cheer or tidings of goodwill here. (Shutterstock)
There's no Christmas cheer or tidings of goodwill here. (Shutterstock)

A famous hotel’s safety officer has been accused of blasphemy for insulting Christianity and allegedly saying that all Christians will be doomed in hell.

Two managers have also been accused of using WhatsApp to disdain Christianity when one of them recorded the officer’s actions and forwarded the blasphemous recordings to the other manager, who uploaded it on social media in December.

The Emirati safety officer was said to have insulted a religion [Christianity] and disparaged it verbally and committed an indecent gesture in public while the hotel where he worked was hosting a Christmas party on December 25.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian manager was said to have recorded the Emirati’s blasphemous and disdainful words and actions on his phone and then forwarded the contents to the other Sudanese manager.

The latter posted the disparaging recordings on social media networks.

Prosecutors accused the Emirati suspect of disdaining a religion and a religious occasion and gesturing indecently in public.

The Egyptian suspect was accused of breaching the Emirati’s privacy when he used his smartphone to record the latter’s words and behaviour without his consent and forwarded them on WhatsApp to the Sudanese suspect.

The Sudanese suspect was also accused of breaching the Emirati’s privacy and forwarding the blasphemous content to others on WhatsApp.

The two managers were accused of exploiting the telecommunication system when they circulated the blasphemous recordings.

The three defendants pleaded not guilty and refuted their accusations when they appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday. Prosecutors said the Emirati suspect disdained Christianity verbally by saying ‘Christians will be doomed in hell’ and he also made an indecent gesture that was meant to offend Christians and Christianity.

Meanwhile the Egyptian and Sudanese suspects were accused of abusing WhatsApp and publishing the blasphemous recording and breaching the Emirati suspect’s privacy.

“No, I did not,” the Emirati suspect told presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi in court.

The Egyptian suspect said: “No. That did not happen.”

The Sudanese suspect said ‘no’ twice.

A police lieutenant claimed to prosecutors that the incident was discovered after the Emirati suspect complained that his privacy had been breached by the Egyptian suspect.

The lieutenant testified: “The Emirati came to the police station and claimed that he had been defamed and maligned before his workmates at the hotel where they work on Shaikh Zayed Road. He alleged that there was a Christmas party at their hotel and after the celebration and when everybody had left he went to the microphone … he claimed that he spoke jokingly over the microphone, saying ‘Merry Christmas and wish you all the best’ and he joked in Arabic saying ‘you are all doomed in hell’. 

"He also alleged that he made an indecent gesture. In his complaint the Emirati alleged that his Egyptian colleague [the suspect] recorded his words and action on his phone. He claimed that he was surprised later that the recording had been posted on the social media and had been edited sarcastically … that caused his embarrassment. "

"The Emirati claimed that when he asked his colleague how the recording had been posted on the social media the latter informed him that he had forwarded it on WhatsApp to his friend the Sudanese suspect."

According to records, further investigations revealed that the three suspects had committed a wrongdoing and were all referred to court.

The trial continues.

By Bassam Za'za' 


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