The UAE’s Secularization Agenda: Forced Nationalism as “Education”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a long tradition of targeting Islam and Muslims, to the extent that American journalist Robert F. Worth, writing for the New York Times, talks of “counterjihad,” a term generally used for proud Islamophobes.

Everyone knows what’s referred to here, from the assistance to Saudi Arabia in its proto-genocide in Yemen to regularly forcing “Islamic reform” or the opening of idolaters’ temples in the country.

RELATED: Utter Humiliation: The Building of Churches and Temples in the Gulf

Now it seems they are literally pushing their own Emirati children towards apostasy by replacing Islam with nationalism.

This is what Ryan Bohl, an educator who served as a teacher in the UAE (and in Qatar), wrote for the New Lines magazine :

My role was humble, but from 2009 to 2013, I helped reshape the UAE’s national narrative for a new generation — a narrative that would emphasize a nationalism that would see the UAE deploy its youth to far-flung battlefields in Yemen and plunge others into 21st-century economics and international culture.

After some personal anecdotes, not of too much interest for us, he does give credit to MBZ, who apparently was so fond of this modernist project in education that he wanted to hasten the process:

The teaching mission was not meant to begin in 2009, but a year later: Advisers said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto leader of the UAE, had decided the job was too urgent to slip another year.

Of course, as with all Arab autocracies, the target is always “political Islam,” “Islamism,” or, when they want to name the bogeyman, the “Muslim Brotherhood.” This is their existential insecurity of being illegitimate rulers imposing liberal secularism on the pious Muslim masses:

Over time, I learned we had helped the UAE achieve one of the crown prince’s strategic objectives: a subtle purge of Muslim Brotherhood influence in Emirati schools. Back in the 1980s, the Emiratis had brought thousands of teachers and professors from countries like Egypt and the Levant to staff their schools; many had Muslim Brotherhood ties, which, in the 1980s, was considered relatively harmless by UAE authorities. That had changed by the time I was there in 2009: The crown prince saw the Muslim Brotherhood as a direct challenge to Emirati stability and wanted to push their influence out of the country; the schools themselves were just one target. It was not necessary to fire all the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated teachers at once, simply to send the message that one could be fired for such an association — and that the replacement could well be a non-Muslim Westerner almost assured to have no Muslim Brotherhood sympathies.

Of course, we have to wonder, what does being MB-affiliated mean? Does it just mean being “overly” religious? Does it mean opposing the secularization of Muslim countries?

In any case, the article doesn’t give full details of this new modernist curriculum, but here are the shocking results:

There were everyday reminders of this social change, as well. Each morning, groggy students shuffled into the school courtyard for announcements, a reading from the Quran and the national anthem. Like at so many teen assemblies, the boys usually talked over the announcements and even ignored the Quran readings. But the moment the national anthem came on, they would freeze in place, regardless of where they were standing, and come to attention, knowing that if they did fall out of line or crack a joke at this moment it would be met with severe retribution, either in public or later in the principal’s office. I had been initially shocked to see that they did not do the same for the Quran, but the reasoning was clear: The UAE was de-emphasizing Islam in public life, refashioning it as less central.

This is the conclusion: “the UAE was de-emphasizing Islam in public life, refashioning it as less central”, which is another way of saying that, through education, and mainly for its rulers to preserve their power, the UAE is forcefully secularizing its youth, basically driving them to potential apostasy.

So, is this the regime that certain Muslim scholars — including “the most influential Muslim scholar in the US” (as he’s often described), Hamza Yusuf — willfully embrace?

RELATED: Traitors in Our Midst: The Scholars of Colonization

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I feel like crying
I wonder if I will get to see islam rise again in my lifetime. Or i will die before then
Things just getting worse and hope thinning out but alhamdulillah believers never despair of the mercy of their Lord
May Allah forgive our sins and not hold us to account for the actions of the foolish among us

Mohammad Talha Ansari

Don’t worry if you or I don’t see it in our lifetime. Just make the efforts in your circle of influence to revive Islam. A building needs a foundation too. If your efforts don’t appear on the surface of the edifice, it means that Allah has chosen them for the foundation. That is reason to rejoice even more.


Allah will give victory to the truth even if we dont live to see it like Hamza, Mus’ab radiyallahu anhuma


Who are you to criticize someone for “nationalism” and having shirck temples when your own IEA whom you are infatuated with, are fundamentally based on haram nationalism and still keep their shirck temples open? Despite that, both those states with Emirate in their official name, are highly effective at maintaining law and order and eliminating drugs. Unlike Afghan Emirate, Arabian Emirate managed to achieve the world’s lowest crime rates, all WITHOUT imposing harsh draconian social restrictions


I don’t know if IEA charge Jizia (their NonMuslims are too few, too poor for that), but all GCC Arabian states do near-perfect job of treating their NonМuslіm minority very well, almost exactly in line with true sheriia, because 99.9% of their NonМuslіms as de facto Jizia-paying Zimmy in the name of “expats paying visa fees”, and they never get any khawarij blasts or mob attacks/riots. Letting them have temple/church is halal way to tolerate them, and does NOT mean that state endorse their shirk


Governments don’t criminalize smoking cigarette with jail or execution because that’s too cruel/harsh/extreme. However they all consider smoking something wrong and bad for society which is why they officially discourage it through school education for kids and anti-smoking propaganda everywhere (such as adverts on billboards and TV). Under real islam sheria, same policy applies with NonMuslim religions and churches/temples. Discourage kufr/shirk through dawah but still tolerate it like smoking.


Imagine being stupid enough crime statistics to a war torn country (that the US caused) to a relatively stable one under a tyrant (that the US helps).

Also since you imply Sharia = draconian, harsh, your murtard opinion is irrelevant since you favor man made laws over Islamic Sharia.


Your murted/munafiq/khwarij opinions don’t matter since you insist that the MANMADE domestic laws of your semi-idols IEA and IS are the one and only valid version of sharia, and you refuse to accept the reality that there is such thing as more than one correct valid version of sharia, including softer types of sheria with far less social-cultural restrictions. The fact is that it’s impossible for any state today to operate without at least some manmade laws, for example traffic rules and ID docs


Why do you write and post weird stuff?
As in you dont need to post anything if its not sensible
There is only one correct way of applying shariah and that is the sunnah way


Ur missing the point of this article… And then went on to mention some points that could be used the other way around…