Originally Posted by An Ard Ri
I had no idea that Christians were so populous in the UAE prior to the visit 13-15% of the Population.
UAE is a Middle East country where many religions found a home. Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter openly. Also UAE rulers donated land for building churches. Other religions represented in the country including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Sikhism. They all also can practice their religion freely.
In addition to Islam, there are 10 other religions in the UAE.
Armenians: Christian Armenians arrived from the 1950s to work primarily on the oil exploration camps. The first formal mass was said in 1977 and today a community numbering in the thousands has its own church, school and hall.
The Baha’i: the first Baha’is, a faith that originally grew in Iran, moved here from neighbouring Gulf countries in the 1940s. They operate through a system of local assemblies.
Buddhists: There are close to 500,000 Buddhists in the UAE while a Buddhist temple opened in 2009.
Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church: Many Copts came to the UAE from Egypt in the 1970s. It is thought that as many as 30,000 Egyptian Christian Copts live in the UAE.
Evangelicals: They can trace their presence back to the 19th century with nurses and doctors coming here to help medical needs of people here. There are several places of worship across the country.
Hindus: There are several Hindu temples in Dubai with hundreds of thousands practising the Hindu faith in the UAE.
Jews: A small community of Jews live in the UAE, mostly in Dubai. There is a synagogue in Dubai too.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: The church was formally recognised by Dubai in 1993 – the first such recognition in the Arabian Gulf region.
Roman Catholicism: The first church opened in Abu Dhabi in 1965. Now there about one million Catholics living here.
Sikhs: The first Sikh temple (GuruNanak Darbar temple) opened in 2012 in Dubai and there are about 100,000 living in the UAE.
If you have interest to know more about Christians and other religions in UAE I recommend you the books of Mr Thompson: Jesus of Arabia, From Shikh to Hindu and Christianity in the UAE, a book that shows the links between Islam and Christianity. His new book (From Shikh to Hindu) confronts stereotypes that the Arabian Gulf is home to just one religion.