Respect for Religion
Islamic religious values are greatly respected in the UAE. Showing any disrespect towards religious beliefs or practices is considered deeply offensive and very likely to result in a heavy fine and/or imprisonment. Other religions are respected and can be followed by the expatriate community.
Follow a few simple rules of respect:
• Muslims pray five times a day. You will notice that the mosques call people to pray through a speaker system. At this time you will also notice public music is turned off as Muslims perform their daily prayers.
• Be aware that drivers who are not close to a mosque, may stop at a convenient lay-by to pray privately.
The UAE has a low incidence of crime. Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs but is relatively rare. There have been incidents of drink spiking.
Incidents of physical and verbal harassment, and sexual assault occur. Avoid walking alone after dark in isolated places, including pedestrian underpasses.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Behaviour that could be considered offensive or anti-social, but not criminal, in Australia could violate UAE law. Anyone violating UAE law, even unknowingly, may be subject to severe punishment.
The UAE is a Muslim country and local laws closely reflect Islamic practices and beliefs. Sharia or Islamic courts work alongside the civil and criminal courts in the UAE, and this can make legal issues and systems complicated.
If you come to the attention of UAE authorities, your case will be dealt with by the local legal and judicial system, which differs significantly to Australia's. If arrested, you may be detained for a significant period before your case goes to trial. UAE authorities can hold your passport and prevent you from leaving the country.
Even simple legal issues can be complex and take time to be resolved. Custodial sentences are served in local jails.