36

Same question for other Muslim places in the world that are worth visiting.

Of course, this doesn't imply the intention of spreading atheistic and anti-theistic views in that country. Nothing like that. It's just that i heard stories of immigration officers asking about travelers' religion. I also know that in religions such as Islam being an atheist is a deadly sin, hence the current question, although i'm not sure to what degree it applies to non-Muslim foreigners.

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    "I also know that in religions such as Islam being an atheist is a deadly sin" Where are you getting your information? This is ludicrous. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 30 '15 at 0:11
  • I can't even suggest an edit but i should be I and travelers'-> travellers' – ypercubeᵀᴹ Dec 30 '15 at 7:32
44

The United Arab Emirates (Dubai) does not care about your religion: it's not even asked on your landing card, because there isn't one! I've visited/passed through a dozen times and never been asked, and neither have I ever heard of anybody being asked.

The only country in the region that I'm aware of asking for your religion is Saudi Arabia, where you need to fill this out on the visa application form. I've heard advice that entering either of "Atheist" or "Jewish" will cause your application to get extra scrutiny, I'm again not aware of any rejections due to this — and how would you prove that it's this that caused the rejection anyway?

Last but not least, it's not atheism that's a sin in Islam, but apostasy: the act of converting away from Islam to anything else, be it Christianity, atheism or Pastafarianism. If you were never a Muslim in the first place, as far as a true believer is concerned you may be an idolatrous heathen or a godless fool, but you've committed no sin.

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    I wouldn't recommend posting anything inflammatory while in UAE/Saudi/wherever, particularly if it could be seen as aimed at locals, but nobody's going to care what you posted on Twitter 5 years ago. – jpatokal Dec 28 '15 at 22:30
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    I notice that religion has been removed from the Israel visa forms (most tourists do not need a visa). I believe this was done by the Sharon government about 10 years ago. – Andrew Lazarus Dec 28 '15 at 23:00
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    @Olorun: well there have been a lot of news recently about bloggers and other people in Muslim countries awaiting lashes or even execution due to atheist statements. Probably it's apostasy in those cases actually - not that such a barbaric practice is acceptable either in any society that calls itself civilized... – Gabriel S. Dec 29 '15 at 1:48
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    @Olorun - probably from those executions and/or murders of atheists. – Davor Dec 29 '15 at 13:41
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    There was a recent case (Saudi, I think) where the court decided that anyone born in Arabia was automatically a Muslim; so the defendant (despite bringing witnesses to say that he had been a Christian since childhood) was an apostate, and hence his life was forfeit. – TimLymington Dec 30 '15 at 13:36
10

When I visited Dubai a couple years ago, they never asked about my religious views at all. It's not on any form they give you, it's not on my passport and travel documents, and they never verbally asked me. So getting through immigration won't be a problem.

Also, Dubai is filled with non-Muslim workers, mostly Filipinos, Indians, Brits and Americans. The Arabs there prefer hiring non-Arabs for jobs they do not want to do themselves, or for specific expertise. If they had a problem with other religions, they'd have to dismiss most of their labor force, which are mostly Catholic, Protestant Christian, Buddhist or Hindu. (Many are probably secretly agnostic or secular and just say they are a particular religion just to blend into their religious culture.)

That being said, I would not recommend getting into religious discussions about atheism while there. While they allow guests in their country to be non-Muslim, they do not take kindly to someone trying to convert people to another religion (or convince people that there is no God). And posing a logical debate on the merits of atheism could be considered trying to convert someone, and possibly be interpreted as an insult to their God (i.e. Allah), since you would be openly denying He exists.

So basically, hold your tongue and you will probably be fine.

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    are mostly Catholic, Christian?? And here I thought that Catholics were Christian (learn something new everyday) – user001 Dec 30 '15 at 12:04
  • I probably should have said Catholics and Protestants, rather than Catholics and Christians, as Catholics are indeed Christians. In the U.S. where I am at, most Protestants call themselves "Christians," while most Catholics call themselves "Catholics." And although they worship the same God and believe Jesus is the Messiah, their rituals and interpretation of the Bible is sufficiently different that they form separate communities. – Scott M. Stolz Dec 30 '15 at 14:37

protected by RoflcoptrException Dec 30 '15 at 14:04

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