oped:There are only 4 countries in the Middle East that I would consider visiting ..The UAE,Jordan,Israel and Egypt on a good day! Why you ask? Well because I don't have a death wish and the others are tourist death traps!
By Bridget Johnson
While Christians in some parts of the Middle East are being driven out of their ancestral lands and killed for their faith, one Gulf nation is trying to make Easter colorful for its Christian expat community.
Islam is the official religion in the United Arab Emirates, and apostasy is officially a crime. But the country that thinks "go big or go home" for every other holiday isn't about to miss out on the season of bunnies and Peeps.
About 9 percent of the UAE's population is Christian, according to the CIA World Factbook. A little over three-quarters of its people are Muslim, with religious minorities including Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Druze, Jewish and more comprising the balance.
Dubai festively decks out its malls for Christmas, and in 2010 the Emirates Palace hotel displayed the world's priciest Christmas tree dripping in $11 million worth of baubles.
Gulf News reports that, like Christmas trees sell well each year in the UAE, Easter treats are similarly flying off the shelves:
Rustom Wadia, managing director of the 26-year-old shop, said the eggs are made of almond paste and sugar and then shaped into beautiful eggs with different bright colours. The bakery also makes pure chocolate eggs, which are then filled with goodies, chocolates and candies for children.“Our customers have been mostly Indian, European and American. Last year, we sold over 1,000 eggs to customers who love buying them for their children.”The paper also published a list of Easter church times for residents, with services in Arabic, English, Malayalam (an Indian language), Tagalog, Urdu, and Tamil.
Popular more among the Arabs is Al Baba Sweets, which has become known for selling traditional Lebanese Maamoul with various fillings made for the occasion and also Belgian chocolate Easter eggs.
“On Easter, we sell an average of 350kg of Maamoul and 80kg of chocolate eggs and the numbers keep increasing every year. Customers also make some extra preparations ahead of time for this special occasion so they can celebrate with their relatives and loved ones,” she said.