The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society are each registering their outrage over reportedly being designated terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates.
The two American groups were listed alongside the Islamic State group, Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood branches, as well as European Muslim groups in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland, Britain’s Cordoba Foundation and the Muslim Association of Britain. The full list, numbering 83 groups, was approved by the UAE cabinet Saturday and was posted by the official news agency WAM.
CAIR described its inclusion on the terrorism list as “shocking and bizarre” and called on the UAE government to remove them.
“There is absolutely no factual basis for the inclusion [of] CAIR and other American and European civil rights and advocacy groups on this list,” CAIR said in a statement Sunday.
Prayer rugs are rolled out for the first Muslim Friday Prayer held at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2014. The event, which was not public, was sponsored by the National Cathedral, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, the Council on American Islamic Relations and other Islamic organizations. (Getty Images)
“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 group said. "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.”
CAIR said it recently joined other Muslim-American leaders to release an open letter in Arabic “refuting the ideology of the terrorist group ISIS and urging its supporters to repent and ‘return to the religion of mercy.’”
The Muslim American Society said in its own statement that it was “shocked” to learn of its inclusion.
“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,” the group said. “Before proceeding any further, we would first like to verify the accuracy of the news reports and receive an official response from the United Arab Emirates regarding the reports. We would also like to seek the help of our government to address this issue."
CAIR was named by federal prosecutors in 2007 along with about 300 others as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in a Hamas funding case connected with the Holy Land Foundation trial. Hamas has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government since 2007. BuzzFeed noted that a federal judge later ruled that the government should not have included CAIR as a co-conspirator list, and CAIR was never charged with any crime.
CAIR, an Islamic advocacy group, was one of the organizations that sponsored the first Muslim prayer service held at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday.
The Associated Press noted that the UAE’s decision to include the Muslim Brotherhood on its terrorist group list followed similar terrorism designations for the Muslim Brotherhood by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.