The UAE has issued a birth certificate for a child born to a Muslim mother and a Hindu father, despite its laws against interfaith marriage.
Under the country’s legislation, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man.
Kiran Babu and Sanam Saboo Siddique married in 2016 in south India, before moving to the UAE in 2017.
When their child was born a year later, the UAE refused to issue a birth certificate due to the couple’s interfaith marriage.
“After the baby’s delivery, the birth certificate was rejected as I am a Hindu,” Mr. Babu told The Khaleej Times.
“Then I applied for a no-objection certificate through the court. The trial went on for four months, but my case was rejected.”
The couple turned to Indian embassy officials in the UAE for help, before authorities finally decided to issue their child’s birth certificate.
“At the end, the judicial department made my case an exception,” Mr. Babu said.
“I was told that from now on in such cases, we have to put together a request letter, get it approved by the chief justice, and take it to the health authority for the issuance of a birth certificate.
“I am told that this is the first case where the rule has been amended.”
Ms. Saboo Siddique and the couple’s child have returned to Kerala, in south India.
“Those few months were taxing for us all,” Mr. Baby said. ”My baby girl is nine months old and she needs vaccinations.”
The decision about the birth certificate came months after the UAE declared 2019 the “Year of Tolerance”.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the country’s prime minister, said the year would be about living by principles of tolerance, coexistence, and diversity.
The country has assigned the theme to a bridge, a family day at the park and a new ministry dedicated to promoting tolerance.
But the US-based Freedom House notes that more than 85 percent of the UAE’s population consists of foreign residents who lack political rights and electoral opportunities, including tens of thousands of stateless residents – known as Bidoon.
Political expression is also tightly controlled, with human rights activists and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers left imprisoned, academic research deemed sensitive curtailed and human rights groups barred from entry.
While UAE law prohibits religious discrimination and guarantees the freedom to exercise religious worship, the state’s official religion of Islam remains tightly monitored and controlled.
The law preventing Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men also remains in place.