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Interracial Marriage in the United Arab Emirates Essay

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Updated: Jul 4th, 2021


There is nothing illegal about interracial marriages in the United Arab Emirates. However, a number of issues are connected to such couples. The United Arab Emirates is a unique country that holds its traditions in high value. This may make the adjustment period for the couple longer and even cause conflict. Such marriages often consist of Emirati men marrying foreign women. This leaves Emirati women with a lesser pool of potential husbands. Some people are also concerned about the country’s identity. Marrying foreign women may increase nationalist tension in the UAE. This paper will show that these issues exist, but they may be solved.


Mixed marriages in the United Arab Emirates have been on the rise since 2012. In the majority of cases, they involved an Emirati man marrying a foreign woman. The exact percentage of these marriages is unknown. However, they may be anywhere from 12 to 30 percent of marriages in the country. These statistics began to concern the government of the United Arab Emirates. The large percentage of interracial marriages gave additional attention to this situation and made it a real issue. One of the main problems is the population ratio of the country. Emirati women become less able to find partners and create families because Emirati men are becoming more involved with foreign wives. The population ratio has already reached very uneven numbers in some emirates, and it may lead to other problems (Al Kuttab, 2016).

One such problem includes difficulties in the adjustment period for interracial couples. The United Arab Emirates has its own rules and regulations that may be unfamiliar to a foreign person. It would take time to adjust to a new way of life, and this process may be difficult for a new couple. Marriage is a complex situation. It requires adjustment from both husband and wife, even when they are both Emirati. An additional level of difficulty can lead to conflict in the family (Khamis, 2017). Moreover, the extended family of the couple may become upset if the period of adjustment becomes too long. Despite any problems interracial marriage may cause, divorce is never preferred. Unfortunately, if the partners do not adjust to the new living situation, it may lead to it.

The most dangerous issue that interracial marriages may bring is the increase in nationalism inside the United Arab Emirates. Mixed marriages are becoming more common in the country. This leads to increased concerns for both the government and the native population of the UAE. Citizens are increasingly concerned with the identity of the country changing because of mixed marriages. If this concern is left unaddressed, it could develop into xenophobia and nationalism. The people of the United Arab Emirates often hold very traditional beliefs, which are unique to the region. The increased presence of foreign wives in the country can create an appearance that the identity of the country changed. People who are very serious about their beliefs may use this concern to attack foreign people within the country, as well as interracial couples. Despite traditional values, United Arab Emirates is a country that is actively involved in international business. This means that anti-foreign attitudes within the country could cause great harm to it (“UAE parliament takes aim,” 2016).


The issue of Emirati women being unable to find Emirati husbands is very serious. To resolve it, the government created the Marriage Fund. It is designed to provide Emirati couples monetary grants that can support their expenses. This organization already began to address the situation and even reached some of its goals. They organize events such as mass marriages to incentivize people from all classes to marry their compatriots. The Marriage Fund also provides counseling to help new couples with family issues. This practice not only resolves serious conflicts within the family but also prevents instances of divorce. The problem of Emirati women having difficulty in finding husbands may be solved by giving the Marriage Fund more resources for its events and services. This would allow it to organize larger events, hire more employees, and improve its counseling service. The current success of the Marriage fund is likely to grow with increased resources. However, corruption may become an issue. Therefore, strict monitoring of funds would be required. Otherwise, the current plans that involve this fund would not need any serious adjustment aside from increasing its reach (Salama, 2016).

The issue of the adjustment period may be more difficult to resolve. Every person is unique. Their reactions are therefore also unique, even when the situation is the same. This issue makes it impossible to find a solution that would apply to all situations. This is why human experience is very important in this case. I was able to conduct an interview with a mixed couple that lives in Dubai. The majority of interracial marriages happen in Dubai. This means that their experience in interracial marriage may be similar to other families that there. The interviewed couple will remain nameless for their confidentiality. They are both members of the middle class and have moderate traditional beliefs.

They met in Germany and fell in love over the course of a month. They continued to communicate remotely and meet during trips until one day the man chose to propose to her. Their love appears genuine, and they have been together for more than five years. They said that the biggest issue for them was the conflict between their extended families. The father of the wife was extremely protective of her, and it was very difficult to convince him that there is no danger in this relationship. Only through a very sincere and productive meeting of two families, his fears were removed. The adjustment process for the wife was not significantly different from any of my other friends and acquaintances. She studied the rules of the UAE society and never made any large issue that would make her or her husband look foolish or disrespectful. The real challenge in early marriage was the living situation and changes in daily routine that happened after they moved into a single apartment. As a possible solution to the issue of adaptation, they suggested that before marriage the foreign partner needs to be educated on the culture, rules, and traditions of the United Arab Emirates. Another important element may be in need to introduce both of the extended families to each other to humanize them and allow for new relationships to form. They found that through mutual respect and love all the major issues were avoided. While the experience of a single couple was relatively positive, it cannot be denied that they were able to resolve their issues and now live without fear of losing their families.

The issue of the potential growth of nationalism in the country is perhaps the most difficult one to solve. This problem concerned the government of the United Arab Emirates for more than a decade. The relative lack of nationalistic attitudes is a result of the careful use of strategy by the government organizations such as the Ministry of Community Development. Their efforts are spent on awareness programs and counseling that show that people who are serious about their beliefs should not worry because the destruction of the cultural identity of a country is considered unethical in foreign countries. In addition, couples would not be able to stay together if their core beliefs were too far apart. Therefore, they likely have mutual respect for each other’s traditions. Nationalism is a very serious issue, but it could be avoided if people stop seeing interracial marriage as a potential threat to the country (Salama, 2015).

Counter Argument and Response

These types of solutions are often argued to be too complex or ineffective by their critics. They believe that this issue can be resolved by a ban on all interracial marriages in the country. While this certainly would decrease the number of mixed marriages in the county, it will likely result in very negative consequences. The first negative outcome is obvious, and it involves all the existing interracial couples being worried about their future in the country. Those who are yet to marry may never be able to if this law is passed. A large portion of the population would become technically single and may require leaving the country. Lastly, the damage it would bring to international relations would put the country in an immensely negative position during trade negotiations. The United Arab Emirates is heavily involved with the trade of goods and resources as both imports and exports. A law that would suddenly invalidate all marriages that involve foreign people would be disastrous. Women and Men from almost every major country of the world live in the UAE, any discrimination towards them would lead to international incidents and a reduction in the reputation of the country on the global market. This situation should not be allowed. Therefore, this argument is inadequate.


Interracial marriages are not a problem when they are considered outside of context. However, the way they are currently handled needs changes to avoid serious issues. Emirati women are currently finding it hard to find partners, interracial couples may take longer to adjust, and the issue of nationalism growing should be resolved. Solutions may include an increase in resources for the Marriage Fund, more careful preparation for the wedding by the couple, and awareness programs organized by the Ministry of Community Development. Love is a very important element of marriage, and it may arrive unexpectedly to a person during a holiday or a work trip into a foreign county. If these feelings are true, there is no reason to see this situation as negative. They may be married until the end of their lives and their children would grow up with two distinct views on the world and events that occur. By making sure that proper solutions to issues are put in place, the United Arab Emirates is likely to create a safer and more accepting society. Hopefully, they will become a reality in the near future.

Annotated Bibliography

Al Kuttab, J. (2016). Web.

The article concerns the effect of mixed marriages on the population ratio of the United Arab Emirates. It presents valuable statistics of interracial marriages in the country. These statistics became a concern for the politicians and community development groups within the country. It is stated that mixed marriages may be considered a significant issue for the population of the country. The article also describes the functions of the Marriage Fund. A number of potential solutions are presented in the article as well. Its contents may be used to present current data on the issue of mixed marriages. Otherwise, the article is not very detailed in its presentation of solutions.

Salama, S. (2015). Web.

The article covers the reaction of political experts to the anti-hate speech law created by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The law received a very positive response from political and sociological experts. The contents of the article showcase the methods of punishment for hate speech or inciting violence. In addition, it shows how the country as a whole plans to enforce tolerance. The United Arab Emirates has a very diverse population. No one should be discriminated against. Otherwise, the balance of power and peace in society would be destroyed, leading to suffering for all involved parties. This article shows how tolerance is at the core of the United Arab Emirates’ internal policy.

Salama, S. (2016). Web.

This article also presents statistics on the number of interracial marriages that occurred in recent years. It first presents data similar to the previous article, but then it is narrowed down to only 13%. The differences in data values are explained in the article. Then the successful actions of the Marriage Fund are described. For example, mass marriages, marriage funds, and couples counseling are provided by the Marriage Fund. Their efforts are attributed to more people from less financially successful backgrounds being able to officially marry during their events. The actions and importance of the Ministry for Community Development are also described. They often assist each other in the completion of set goals. It may be used to refer to the work on both the Ministry and the Marriage Fund.

(2016). Web.

The article describes the debate that the representatives of the UAE’s Federal National Council had around the issues potentially caused by the increase in interracial marriage. Three main issues are discussed. The first is the bond that foreign women could have with men of the Emirates. The issue of national identity and how it may change if this trend continues is also discussed. The second issue lies in the decrease of potential partners for Emirates women. Lastly, the issue of nationalism is discussed in detail. The increase in mixed marriages may cause xenophobia and nationalism to grow in the country. This issue is extremely serious and requires attention. The Ministry of Community Development works on resolving such issues. This article may be used to show the possibility of nationalism in the country.

Khamis, J. (2017). Web.

This article presents three mixed couples from various countries. None are specifically from the United Arab Emirates, but the drastic differences in culture between the husband and wife allow for a relevant perspective on this issue. All three couples live in healthy marriages and have multiple children. Each of the families experienced a slightly long adaptation process. However, through love and healthy interactions, they managed to achieve happiness.

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"Interracial Marriage in the United Arab Emirates." IvyPanda, 4 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/interracial-marriage-in-the-united-arab-emirates/.

1. IvyPanda. "Interracial Marriage in the United Arab Emirates." July 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/interracial-marriage-in-the-united-arab-emirates/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "Interracial Marriage in the United Arab Emirates." July 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/interracial-marriage-in-the-united-arab-emirates/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Interracial Marriage in the United Arab Emirates'. 4 July.

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