UAE mosques were issued with a list of new dos and don'ts this week, in the latest attempt by authorities to control public life.
The new stipulations cover all mosques in the UAE and range from orders requiring licenses for bringing food into places of worship, to staff recruitment.
President Sheikh Khalifa al-Nahyan's orders include efforts to ensure that all mosque staff are Emiratis, but does state that in the absense of UAE nationals foreigners can be recruited.
Anyone giving a sermon, talk, holding workshops or organising Quran study groups in a mosque will also first need a license from authorities.
This also applies to religious, cultural or social events in mosques.
Worshippers will also need a license from the government to bring in or consume food in mosque premises.
"The law prohibits those working in mosques from belonging to any illegal group or from carrying out any political or organisational activity," the official WAM news agency reported.
"The law also prohibits employees from preaching and recitation, teaching religious lessons and running Quran memorisation activities outside mosques or involvement in entities authorised to participate in any media activities without prior permission from the competent authority."
A draft law banning unauthorised religious meetings and sermons was passed last November.
The UAE has pushed forward other tough laws limiting free association in public places and the emergence of potential civil society platforms.
Laws banning most forms of discrimination have been put in place, although critics believe these laws are being enforced to punish government critics rather than to encourage religious tolerance.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright @ 2020 The New Arab.