United Arab Emirates
Land and People
The land is largely hot, dry desert. Located in the eastern portion of the federation is a portion of the Jabal al Akhdar Mts. Less than half of the inhabitants of the UAE are Arabs, while South Asians make up about 40%, and there are also Iranians, East Asians, and Westerners. Only about 20% of the UAE's population are native citizens. The nonindigenous population was first attracted by the employment provided by the UAE's petroleum boom. Muslims comprise 96% of the population (80% of these are Sunni, the balance Shiite) and the remaining 4% are largely Christian or Hindu. The official language is Arabic, but Farsi and English are widely used, and Hindi and Urdu are spoken by many of the South Asians.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.