Blasphemy is strictly illegal in the UAE, as three workers based in the country recently found out.
The Sri Lankan defendants - who worked as security guards at a local five-star resort in Dubai - landed in legal trouble after insulting Islam online, Khaleej Times reported.
Prosecutors accused the defendants of "contempt of religion" after evidence confirmed they had posted offensive posts against religion on both Instagram and Facebook.
The Dubai Court of First Instance tried them under the country's anti-discriminatory and hatred law and the Federal Penal Code. They were each fined 500,000 dirhams ($136,000) and are set to be deported after paying the amounts. Given that the men didn't appeal their case within the legal deadline open for them, the verdict against them is now considered final.
The trio was reported to police by a senior public relations officer who works at the same resort where the men were employed.
"I learned about the three employees' posts in May last year. We summoned them for an internal probe. They admitted they had those posts on their accounts on Facebook," their colleague said.
The incident unraveled on May 19 last year after police responded to the report. A police sergeant spoke in court, saying the defendants' rooms, mobile phones, and laptops were seized.
The sergeant also told prosecutors that the workers admitted they had posted inappropriate messages and pictures via social media. Screenshots of the posts and images were used as evidence in the case.
The UAE strictly prohibits insults targeting all religions
The UAE outlaws all religious or racial discrimination under a law passed in 2015.
The Anti-discrimination/Anti-hatred law prohibits all acts "that stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or via online media."
The legislation mainly aims to fight "discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin."