Christian churches flourish despite the threat of Christianity being eradicated in the Middle East
Although Aid to the Church in Need says , barring significant intervention on the part of world powers to end the current persecution, Christians could be wiped out from the Middle East in ten years, the situation in the UAE presents a sharp contrast. While Christians are being persecuted and forced to renounce their faith throughout the region, Christianity flourishes in UAE.
Every Friday, the Mushrif neighborhood in the UAE sees crowds of Catholics coming to attend mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral and St. Andrew’s church. “We have 16 services on the weekend and 14 services during the week. It is happiness for me to see such a church in the desert,” said Father Ani Xavier of the newly opened St. Paul’s Church in Musaffah. “God has blessed us in this part of the world to live in safety and do our missionary work.”
Ten years ago, there were only 24 churches in the UAE, but now there are 40 churches. The growing number of Christians is largely due to the influx of foreign workers – only 9% of the UAE’s 8 million residents are Christian. The rest are Muslims.
A major factor factor in the growth of Christian churches in the UAE is the peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Christians in the region. Although Christians are a small minority, they receive wide support from the emirates’ rulers who often donate land and waive water and electric bills for the churches. The UAE authorities are also implementing extra security measures to make sure that no churches are attacked as they are keen to ensure the safety of foreigners who live and work in the emirates.