UAE businessman and academic Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi said that he supported separation of religion and state and that such separation already exists to a large degree in some Gulf states, such as the UAE, in the economic realm. Asked by the Monte Carlo Doualiya Radio interviewer about secularism on the political and social level, Al-Qassemi said that he believed it would come in the next decade or two. The interview aired on May 23.
Interviewer: "You are always writing about democracy and secularism, and you promote secularism and the separation of religion and state. Do you think that such separation would be an easy task in the Gulf states?"
Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi: "Of course it is not easy, but it is something that is already happening. There are many examples of the separation of religion and state. The clearest example is our economic system. Many economic laws in the Gulf are secular by nature – not all, but many. Some of the relations between companies are governed by secular laws. They are not always governed by religious laws. I believe that it is necessary to separate religion and state. Such separation exists to a large degree in some of the Gulf states, such as the UAE, for example. We do not admit this, of course, but the UAE is, to a great extent, a secular state. We don't say this out loud, but to a great extent... For example, we have secular courts, such as the judiciary in the Dubai International Financial Center. This is a court that operates on the international level. As you can see, there is separation between religion and state."
Interviewer: "This is with regard to separation of religion and state and secularism. But what about secularism on the political or social level, and not only in the economic realm?"
Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi: "In my opinion, it will come, in the next ten or twenty years."