Religious expatriates and citizens are given the boot by UAE under allegations of suspected loyalty.

Religious expatriates and citizens are given the boot by UAE under allegations of suspected loyalty.
Emirati citizens and expatriates in the civil service have been reassigned or stripped of responsibilities, as a result of The United Arab Emirates, a staunch U.S. ally and a neighbor to Iran, tightening oversight of government workers and foreign residents because of concerns about the threat of infiltration by Iranian agents.Sources have reported that  other private-sector workers suspected of ties to Iranian-linked groups have also lost their jobs.


Reports have stated that the U.A.E. government is targeting Shiites as potential threats because of the religious affiliation they share with Iranians, rather than because of any hard evidence linking them to the Iranian government.


The U.A.E. president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, denied the government was discriminating against Shiites however, he reiterated his nation’s sovereign right to defend itself. “The country does not target any nationality, religious sect or faction,” he asserted.


According to a directive that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal since May, the U.A.E.’s internal-security service has been empowered to approve or reject all new appointments, promotions and assignments in all government ministries and agencies.


A government official has said Iran was the trigger for the program in an attempt to promote National Security.


Despite  Iran and the U.A.E. being big trading partners, the U.A.E. has also cooperated with international efforts to enforce United Nations sanctions against Iran. Political tensions have long existed between the two neighbors. Iran’s support of Shiite causes in the Mideast, including its funding of militant Shiite groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon have also been cause for worry.


Over the summer, the U.A.E. deported 44 Lebanese men and their families for suspected ties to Hezbollah, according to the U.A.E. government spokesman.


“The men, are believed to have  worked in both the private and public sector, were funneling small amounts of cash to Hezbollah-affiliated groups back home,” a government spokesman said. He continued “People with ties to any suspect Islamic group are being denied government jobs, including individuals with past ties to ideologically strident Sunni organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.


Some Emirati Shiites say the once-tolerant domestic atmosphere toward their community is changing. “There is a feeling that the government is now questioning the loyalty of its Shiite citizens,” said a prominent Emirati Shiite. And this he believes is unneceessary with no credible grounds.