A Canadian couple has made records after becoming the first to be issued a marriage licence as non-Muslims in the United Arab Emirates.
Marriage, divorce, family-related matters among others are usually conducted and addressed in conformity with Islamic laws in the Arab country, Naija News understands.
The UAE, however, on Monday (today), issued its first civil marriage licence to a non-Muslim couple. The lovers were allowed to marry under the new law on the personal status of non-Muslims in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.
Naija News reports that the latest step is coming a month after the Western Asian country had announced that non-muslims would be allowed to marry, divorce and get joint child custody under civil law in Abu Dhabi according to a new decree issued by its ruler.
In the UAE before now, laws on marriage and divorce had formerly been strictly based on Islamic sharia principles, as in other Gulf states.
However, the new decree is aimed at maintaining the country’s competitive edge as a regional commercial hub.
The decree from Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who is also president of the UAE federation of seven emirates, said the law covered civil marriage, divorce, alimony, joint child custody and proof of paternity, and inheritance.
It aims to “enhance the position and global competitiveness of the emirate as one of the most attractive destinations for talent and skills,” a statement from the UAE government had noted.
According to state news agency WAM, the move “contributes to the consolidation of Abu Dhabi’s position as a world-leading destination for skills and expertise from around the world.”
Naija News understands that Civil marriage in the Middle-East, the birthplace of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, is uncommon and usually conducted under a religious authority of one of the three monotheistic beliefs.
However, while some countries in the region allow civil unions based on certain conditions, some only recognise civil marriages conducted abroad and others not at all.
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