You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, goes the old saying and for one unfortunate UAE woman this couldn’t be more true.
Remember how we reported that cursing over WhatsApp can get you fined or land you in prison? Well, another person has been punished under the new hate crime laws with an Emirati woman being fined Dhs500,000 for cursing her uncle and the historic Muslim scholar Yazid bin Muawiya via the messaging service.
According to Gulf News the 53-year-old teacher “sent WhatsApp messages to her maternal uncle [who is from a different sect] that contained words of an offensive nature between November 2015 and January 2016.”
In the exchanges she allegedly called her uncle “tyrannous, wicked and a forger” and insulted the scholar, Yazid bin Muawiya, who was the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate.
The accused admits that the negative exchange happened but says it came after she was insulted and provoked. She claims the case surfaced due to a disagreement over inheritance. She claims to have given her uncle money and that when she was diagnosed with cancer, her relative never asked about her.
She told the court: “I am an educationist and I have been teaching for 29 years … several generations graduated during my tenure. Probably some of you here graduated because of me. This case surfaced due to an inheritance disagreement between us. I used to give him money and helped him financially … this is a void accusation. It happened, yes, but after he insulted me and provoked me.”
Meanwhile, her 60-year-old uncle said: “She texted me on WhatsApp messages that were full of hatred and inciting sectarianism and creating sectarian strife among members of the public.”
Anyone in breach of the new hate crime laws can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and be issued a fine of up to Dhs1 million. Ruling on this case remains subject to appeal within 15 days.
Main image: Getty