In November 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took a bold and unprecedented step for a Muslim nation by designating 85 radical Islamic organizations as terrorist organizations. The UAE’s designation is the most audacious and significant classification of terrorist organizations worldwide, and is superior to the lists developed by the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations. As to why it is unrivalled, here are a number of reasons:
First: The UAE addressed the roots of the problem, in the sense that terrorist ideology paves the way for terrorist acts; hence, the list included organizations which promote terrorist ideology or seek to secretly recruit Muslims, making them ready and available for organizations engaged in terrorist acts.
Second: The UAE is familiar with the double talk, dissimulation and outright lies that are typical of Islamists. As an Islamic State, the UAE has a good understanding of those deceitful practices. Therefore, it did not hesitate much about organizations that issue vague statements claiming to denounce terror, while their actions aim at stirring up discontent among Muslims to facilitate their recruitment into terrorist organizations. The US Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a prominent case in point.
Third: It is the first time that Islamic organizations in the United States and Europe find themselves on the designated list of terrorist organizations. These organizations are mostly financed through Arab oil countries, under pretext of defending the rights of Muslims in the United States and Europe. In reality, they are part of the global Jihad network, and are focused on promoting radical ideologies and indoctrinating Muslims in the Western World, steering them to join the universal Jihad against the infidels. These organizations also actively work to isolate Muslims and prevent their integration into their new communities in the West. Furthermore, they have sown the seeds of hatred that many Muslims harbor towards their new home in the West, pushing the idea that loyalty to the new homeland contradicts their devotion to Islam and stands in the way of the battle against the infidels. Examples of organizations that fall under this category in the UAE’s list include CAIR in the United States, the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, the Islamic Associations in Italy, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium, the Cordoba Foundation in Britain and the Islamic Society of Germany.
Fourth: The UAE’s list also included organizations that hide behind the façade of charity and humanitarian work, while playing a major role in financing terrorist groups such as Hamas and others. Among these organizations are the UK Islamic Relief and the International Islamic Relief organization affiliated with the international Muslim Brotherhood organization.
Fifth: The UAE’s designation also broke through the imaginary divide between moderate Islamic organizations and radical Islamic organizations. On the whole, political Islam organizations that seek power, interfere with politics, promote fundamental ideologies and indirectly support terrorism, deserve to be listed as dangerous terrorist organizations. To illustrate: The Islamic terrorist organization ISIS is in reality a grandchild of the Muslim Brotherhood, since Al-Qaida, which gave birth to ISIS, was itself born out of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. These strong ties explain the stance taken by Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef al-Qaradawi in defense of ISIS, his announcement that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, and his disapproval of the international coalition’s strikes against ISIS.
Sixth: The inclusion of the “Association of Muslim Scholars” in the list of terrorist organizations was a bold choice on the UAE’s part. This union is essentially an international union of Muslim Brotherhood scholars and radical fundamentalists, which serve the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar in their quest to manipulate and ultimately control Islamic affairs.
Seventh: By adopting this exceptional designation, the UAE made it evident that the countries which played a role in creating the problem can hardly be part of the solution. These terrorist organizations are the product of the so-called “Islamic awakening” which started in the seventies of last century. Countries that contributed to this awakening include Egypt (Sadat), Saudi Arabia (Faisal), Sudan (Numeri), Pakistan (Zia ul-Haq), Iran (Khomeini), the United States (Carter & Brzezinski), Qatar (Hamad) in the last ten years, and Turkey (Erdogan) in the last five years. It is difficult for these countries, which brought about this Islamic terrorist awakening, to produce a terrorist group designation list on the scale of the UAE. I am confident that Egypt would never entertain the idea of issuing such a comprehensive designation. As for Saudi Arabia, it issued a meagre list that mostly included political dissidents who threaten Saudi rule. It is also surprising and somehow disturbing that the United States has rejected the designation of CAIR, the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations.
Eighth: The UAE also dealt a strong blow to the skilful manipulation of the notion of “Islamophobia” in the West, given that the Islamic organizations designated in the UAE’s list, and which operate in the United States and Europe, have created and pushed the term “Islamophobia,” waiving its spectre around whenever it has suited their purposes. As a matter of fact, Muslims enjoy significantly more freedom and liberties in the West than they do in their Islamic homelands. If that remains in question, then pray tell why is it that Muslims who live in Islamic countries are so intent on fleeing the freedom, happiness, faith and virtue abundant in their homelands only to emigrate to the West where they supposedly fall victims to Islamophobia.
Ninth: Furthermore, the UAE exposed Islamic terrorist organizations that claim to be resistance movements or freedom fighters, such as the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, “the Caucasus Emirate” of the Chechen Jihadists, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hezballah in Lebanon. These dangerous terrorist organizations have been receiving funds from oil countries and have garnered the sympathy of many Muslims, which has allowed them to recruit radical Muslims from all over the world. The UAE ought to be praised for exposing their true colors.
Finally, the UAE’s designation falls short in only one aspect, and that is the non-inclusion of Muslim World League and Hamas in the list of terrorist organizations, even though it should be counted as one. This is likely due to the sensitive nature of the Palestinian cause and its impact on Arabic public opinion. That being said, Hamas was behind the creation of the terrorist organization “Supporters of Jerusalem” (Ansar Bait al-Maqdis) in Sinai. The name itself broadcasts a Hamas connection since none of the various Egyptian terrorist groups, as many as they are, ever took on Jerusalem “Bait al-Maqdis” as part of their names. But given that Hamas was majorly involved in establishing said terrorist organization, the reference to Jerusalem is a deliberate echo of Hamas’ philosophy. In addition, Hamas is receiving funds from several countries and from the International Muslim Brotherhood movement, and is actively engaged in recruiting, training and arming the Jerusalem supporters’ members.
The UAE came to the conclusion that the Islamic awakening, which produced those organizations, was not an innocent religious revival but rather a herald of ruin and destruction for the Middle East and the world. Consequently, it chose to unmask those organizations and reveal their true face to the entire world.