Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 17:38 UK

Sharjah police seek out unmarried couples

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Police in the Gulf emirate of Sharjah say they are conducting door-to-door searches for unmarried couples living together in violation of Sharia law.

An Arab man and an Asian woman have been caught living illegally under the same roof with their two children, the head of police told local newspapers.

Sharjah is one of the more conservative United Arab Emirates.

Extra-marital sex is prohibited under Islamic law. Married offenders can be stoned to death or lashed if unmarried.

Since Monday, police have been knocking on doors and demanding to see evidence that couples under the same roof are married.

"This campaign is continuing throughout Sharjah because women and men having children outside wedlock is not allowed in the UAE, as well as being against Islam," Brigadier Musa al-Naqbi, the head of Sharjah police CID, told the National newspaper.

The UAE outlaws unmarried couples who live together and Sharjah is a strict enforcer of these rules.

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