UAE announces relaxing of Islamic laws for personal freedoms

Posted at 6:20 PM, Nov 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-07 21:20:12-05

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates has announced a major liberalization of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called “honor killings.”

The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to bill itself as a skyscraper-studded destination for Western tourists, fortune-seekers and businesses despite its legal system based on a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law.

Saturday's announcement also follows a historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring an influx of Israeli tourists and investment.

The moves come as the UAE gets ready to host the high-stakes World Expo.