Discussing Evolution in the Middle East

Dec 6, 2012

Discussion by: nirmal rajah
Hey everyone

I’m from India and recently moved to Dubai for work. I’ve majored in Biological sciences and back in India I was assisting geologists in their excavation projects, from those trips I happened to learn some geology, paleontology etc, and having learned Evolutionary Biology in college I started giving lectures and conducting workshops for school children and general public on Natural History and evolution. Now that I have shifted to the UAE and noticed that there is a natural history society here, I would like to know what would be the response from the Arabic world if I start to conduct workshops and discussions on evolution? I do not want to be accused for Proselyting or Blasphemy as these are punishable here. Any Ideas, suggestions?


5 comments on “Discussing Evolution in the Middle East

  • Nirmal,

    Please proceed with caution.  Take baby steps in this part of the world. If there is a Natural History Society then that seems like a good place to start.  Be safe.

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  • Just make sure that their ‘Natural History’ does’t mean ‘Koran interpretation of Natural History’ in which, for example,  mountains act as pegs which stabilise the earth, thanks to which you haven’t experienced an earthquake since your arrival.

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  • 3
    SurLaffaLot says:

    One can report on the scientific methods and discoveries, without necessarily “proselytising” for evolution, nor committing blasphemy. Scientific facts must be supportable and checkable. Make sure that this is always the case, with anything you say. Be able to back it up with published records from acceptable sources.

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  • 4
    Bryan Dibben says:

    I worked in Dubai a few years back. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble but stay away from any reference to any religion.

    In comparison to other Arab states Dubai is relatively cosmopolitan but it’s still sensitive when it comes to Islam.

    Don’t forget there are many foreign universities in Dubai as well as schools for the expat community.

    The schools will often follow an International Baccalaureate Programme or sometimes the English national curriculum. These will teach evolution even if the local schools might not.

    One last point – There is a blasphemy Law in The United Arab Emirates. So no cartoons.


    I’d had a lovely supper, and all I said to my
    wife was, ‘That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.’

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  • 5
    RougeRed says:

    If in fact you do live and work in Dubai then you would know that books, discussions and so forth on the topic of evolution are in fact illegal.  

    Any educated person esp. a scientist working abroad would have done their homework on the local laws of the country they are visiting or and working.

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