A Filipino man in Dubai is facing charges over his alleged racist comment against his Pakistani roommate.
The unidentified man, described as 27 years old, got in to an argument with his Muslim Pakistani roommate when the latter asked him to lower the volume of music at the time of adhan, the Muslim call for prayer and he refused.
According to the police, "The Pakistani said he tried to talk the Filipino into lowering the volume before the latter cursed Islam and said Muslims are terrorists."
The argument soon turned in to a fight and the police had to get involved. The Filipino was slapped with two counts of insult of faith and was also charged for allegedly making criminal threats to the three police officers who responded to the incident.
Blasphemy, or act of insulting or showing contempt for God and religion, is a serious issue in many Muslim countries, especially the gulf ones. Strict censorship is employed to keep the people and the media in check.
Islam is United Arab Emirates’ official religion, and the federation regards blasphemy as a very serious matter.
The Emirates have a system of both sharia (religious) secular courts. Both systems handle criminal and civil cases. The secular courts are usually part of the federal system and are answerable to the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. The sharia courts are administered by each emirate, but they are answerable to the Federal Supreme Court. The court systems in the emirates of Dubai and Ras al Khaimah are independent of the federal system, but they apply the Civil Procedure Code. Each court system has a multilevel appeals process, and verdicts in all capital cases are appealable to the president.
The Federal Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that sharia punishments may not be imposed on non-Muslims.
The accused has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court will rule on the case on Feb. 7, 2017.