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Information about UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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Al-Imarat al-‘Arabiya al-Muttahida

Area: 83,600 sq. km.
Neighbouring countries: Qatar to the North, Saudi Arabia to the West and South, Oman to the East
Capital City: Abu Dhabi
Other Cities: Dubai, Ash-Shariqah
Ethnic groups: Arabs 48%, Asians 44%, Others 8%
Languages: Arab (official), English
Currency: Emirates Dirham
Member of: CCG (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf), Arab League, OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference), UN, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and WTO (World Trade Organization)
(De Agostini, Jan. 2008)

Historical outline
Seven emirates under British Protectorate in 1892 came together to form the United Arab Emirates on the 2nd December 1971. According to the 1971 Constitution, the State is a federation of emirates, absolute hereditary monarchies. Islam is the official religion. The fundamental Charter guarantees freedom of worship to non-Muslims, provided the laws and public morality are not violated.

The population is about 4.5 million, with about 12% Catholics. (Sources: Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2008).

Relations with the Holy See
The United Arab Emirates have established diplomatic relations with the Holy See on the 31st March 2007. The Apostolic Nuncio is Mgr. Rajic Petar, tit. archbishop of Sarsenterum (27th March 2010), also Nuncio to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.


- BENEDICT XVI TO THE BISHOPS OF CELRA – CONFERENCE OF LATIN BISHOPS OF THE ARAB REGION: Nevertheless, it is essential to give firm support and encouragement to those who choose to remain faithful to their homeland in order to prevent it from becoming an archaeological site deprived of ecclesial life

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