The native population of the United Arab Emirates is 100% Moslem, with 85% following the Sunni doctrine and the remaining 15% following Shia Islam.¬† However, only 25% of the total population of this medical tourism center consists of locals and Arabs from other regions‚Äď the rest is composed entirely of expatriates from around the world.¬† Close to 75% of the population is made up of foreign-born non-citizens, making for one of the largest population of foreign-born residents in any country in the world.¬†
The local Sunni Moslems living close to the Al Burayami Oasis area follow the Maliki school of Islamic practices, while the Al Batinah coastline has a strong population of people who follow the Shafi school of thought.¬† The differences in the groups are relatively minor, and these groups attend prayers in common Sunni mosques.¬† The federal government funds Sunni mosques and makes appointments of Imams for these.¬† The Shiites, however, have their own mosques which are run though private funding, and except in the emirate of Dubai, are responsible for appointing their own Imams.
The total population of this medical tourism destination, including citizens and non-citizens, is also overwhelmingly Moslem (80%).¬† In addition to the locals, you also have expatriates from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, migrants and political refugees from Palestine, workers from Sudan, Nigeria and other African countries, as well as people from Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.¬†
The rest of the country's expatriate population includes Christians of various denominations, as well as a smattering of Hindus and Buddhists.¬† Non-Moslems have the freedom to practice their religion at home and at their places of worship, most of them constructed on land donated by the government.¬† Abu Dhabi, for instance, has several Christian churches.¬† However, the government has restrictions on the number of denominations it recognizes, so Christians of different denominations may find themselves praying in the same facility.¬† Dubai has several churches, Hindu temples, as well as a Sikh Gurudwara.¬†
The Buddhist population is tiny, and as of now, the country has no Buddhist temples. Proselytization is banned under risk of deportation, but the government does permit hotels, resorts, and other public places to observe non-Moslem festivals in a "limited manner."¬†¬†
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