Two American Muslim advocacy groups are protesting their inclusion on the United Arab Emirates’ list of terrorist organizations.
The blacklist followed the passage of Federal Law No. 7, which mandated circulation of the list to increase public awareness about extremist groups and threats.
“The law was issued by President Sheikh Khalifa and the Cabinet’s own resolution on the designation of terrorist organisations that allows the publication of such lists in the media for the purposes of transparency and to raise awareness about these organizations,” reported government-owned Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.
Groups on the list included the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Daesh (ISIS), Al-Shabaab, AQAP, Boko Haram, Pakistan’s Haqqani network, Abu Sayyaf, al-Qaeda in Iran and the al-Nusra Front.
It also included several Islamic societies in Europe, including the Finnish Islamic Association, the Islamic Council Norway, Britain’s Cordoba Foundation, the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, Muslim Association of Britain, the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, the Islamic Society of Germany and the Islamic Society in Denmark.
Two American groups were on the list: the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society.
The Muslim American Society doubted the report in a statement issued before the list was published in a government newspaper.
“The Muslim American Society was shocked to read news reports claiming that the United Arab Emirates has listed the Muslim American Society, along with numerous other organizations, as a terrorist organization,” the group said. “The Muslim American Society is a religious community service organization that serves people in the United States. We have no dealings with the United Arab Emirates, and hence are perplexed by this news.”
MAS said they would wait for an “official response” from the UAE, but added they would “like to seek the help of our government to address this issue.”
CAIR issued a statement saying the group is “seeking clarification from the government of the United Arab Emirates about this shocking and bizarre report.”
“There is absolutely no factual basis for the inclusion CAIR and other American and European civil rights and advocacy groups on this list,” CAIR said.
“Like the rest of the mainstream institutions representing the American Muslim community, CAIR’s advocacy model is the antithesis of the narrative of violent extremists,” the statement continued.
“We call on the United Arab Emirates cabinet to review this list and remove organizations such as CAIR, the Muslim American Society and other civil society organizations that peacefully promote civil and democratic rights and that oppose terrorism whenever it occurs, wherever it occurs and whoever carries it out.”
Dubai ruler and UAE vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wrote in a September editorial in local papers that extremism needed to be rooted out by focusing not just on militant groups but on organizations propagating harmful ideology.
“Only one thing can stop a suicidal youth who is ready to die for ISIS: A stronger ideology that guides him onto the right path and convinces him that God created us to improve our world, not to destroy it,” he wrote.
Egypt cheered the terror listing of the Muslim Brotherhood and lauded “outstanding coordination and cooperation” between the two countries “in all fields, including in the fight against terrorism.”
“Egypt welcomes the UAE government’s decision to include a number of organisations on the list of terrorist organizations,” foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said today.
Islamic Relief Worldwide, which the UAE list noted was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, protested their inclusion in a statement. Israel banned the group’s from conducting operations there this past summer because of Hamas ties.
“Islamic Relief is a purely humanitarian organisation and categorically denies links with terrorism,” IRW said. “We will be engaging with the UAE authorities to seek the removal of this wrongful designation.”