The United Arab Emirates has joined Egypt and Saudi Arabia in listing the Muslim Brotherhood as a banned terrorist group with 81 other groups, including many Brotherhood affiliates. The list includes two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities and one British group with a branch in America: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the U.K.-based Islamic Relief Worldwide, the parent organization of Islamic Relief USA.
CAIR was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity named the Holy Land Foundation for financing Hamas. The U.S. Justice Department also listed CAIR as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body established to support Hamas.
MAS was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America,” federal prosecutors said in a 2008 court filing. Abdurrahman Alamoudi, a convicted terrorism-financier and admitted member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, testified in 2012, “Everyone knows that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Islamic Relief Worldwide/Islamic Relief USA has extensive Muslim Brotherhood links. Israel banned the group this summer for financing Hamas, and it is also known to work closely with a Hamas-linked group in Turkey.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been calling for a Gulf coalition against the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran since 2012. In March, the UAE pledged to work with Saudi Arabia after it branded the Brotherhood as a terrorist group, but the UAE did not officially do the same until now.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have put tremendous pressure on Qatar for its support of Islamist terrorists including the Muslim Brotherhood. The UAE teamed up with Egypt to bomb Islamist militias in Libya and to support secular military forces there. Most recently, the UAE carried our airstrikes on the Islamic State in Syria in coordination with the U.S.
The banning of these organizations brings significant risks. The Muslim Brotherhood, Iranian proxies and Al-Qaeda affiliates are powerful and can threaten the UAE in many ways. The Brotherhood’s lobbies in Europe and the U.S. will use their political influence to their advantage.
Previously, the U.S. State Department has infuriated the UAE by condemning its banning of Islamist terrorist entities. The Brotherhood’s allies in America have every reason to believe they can strain the U.S.-UAE relationship by characterizing CAIR, MAS and Islamic Relief as victims of political persecution.
Yet, the UAE has proven itself it to be a valuable ally in the fight against Islamist terrorism. The UAE views these three groups as part of the problem and the facts support that position.
The Muslim Brotherhood linkages and extremist records of these three groups are known. The difference between the U.S. and the UAE is that the former chooses to ignore them and the latter chooses to act on them.
Other groups banned by the UAE include :
- Al-Qaeda and many of its affiliates, the Islamic State (ISIS), the Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Hezbollah, the Houthis of Yemen and Jabhat al-Nusra, a popular Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
- ?Many groups in Syria and Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq like Iraqi Hezbollah, the Badr Organization, Asa’ib Ajl al-Haq. Also included is Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iran, reflecting the fact that Sunni and Shiite terrorists work together despite deep sectarian differences.
- ?Major Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the region and in Europe, such as the International Union of Muslim Scholars, the Cordoba Foundation in the U.K., the Muslim Association of Britain, the Union of Muslim Organizations of France and a group named the Union of Islamic Organizations of Europe, probably in reference to the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.