In probably the first time in its history, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has given birth certificate to a nine-month old girl who was born to an Indian Hindu father and a Muslim mother, despite its laws against interfaith marriage. Under the country’s legislation, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man, although the reverse is permitted.
Kiran Babu and Sanam Saboo Siddique married in 2016 in south India, before moving to the UAE in 2017. When their child was born a year later, the UAE refused to issue a birth certificate due to the couple’s interfaith marriage. As per the marriage rules for expatriates in predominantly a Muslim state, UAE, a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man.
Speaking on the judgment, the Sharjah-based expat Kiran Babu says, "I am told that this is the first case where the rule has been amended”…. He adds that earlier, “After the baby’s delivery, the birth certificate was rejected as I am a Hindu… Then I applied for a no-objection certificate through the court. The trial went on for four months, but my case was rejected”. “At the end, the judicial department made my case an exception,” Mr Babu said. While UAE law prohibits religious discrimination and guarantees the freedom to exercise religious worship, the state’s official religion of Islam remains tightly monitored and controlled. This ground-breaking ruling from the UAE court will also serve as a precedent for future cases!
The decision about the birth certificate came months after the UAE declared 2019 the “Year of Tolerance”. Importantly, the UAE has declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance to highlight UAE as an exemplary example of a tolerant nation, bridging the communication gap between different cultures and build an environment where people accept each other as they are.