By Ray Hanania
The United Arab Emirates designated 83 Muslim organizations around the world as “terrorist organizations” including two American groups with prominent public profiles, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS).
It is one of the most unusual attacks against American Muslims from an Arab World Government. Both CAIR and MAS are high profile Islamic groups that work closely with the American government, but also maintain strong ties to American activists throughout the United States.
Despite attacks from rightwing fanatics and anti-Muslim haters, both groups have stood up proudly against racism, discrimination and injustice not only against Muslims but against Christians and Jews, too. The designation by the UAE, which is headed by the enlightened leaders, President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is surprising.
His Excellency Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Constitutional Monarch of Dubai, is considered one of the most enlightened and progressive leaders in the Arab World. His declarations expanding media, technology and civil rights activism have been models for the Arab World.
CAIR responded in a formal press release saying it met with officials of the U.S. Justice Department and the Obama administration to address being included on the list, but did not respond directly to the UAE Government action.
The list of names was published on Nov. 11, 2014 on the Emirates News Agency news website in Arabic. No press release was issued by the UAE government, which more than any other Arab country issues many press releases on issues.
Here is the full list of organizations as published by the UAE official news agency:
Emirati Muslim Brotherhood group call Reform (Reform Society)
Fatah Islam Lebanese
Muslim League in Italy
Emirati Jihad cells
Ansar in Lebanon
Islamic Association in Finland
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Islamic Association in Sweden
Nation parties in the Gulf
Ansar al-Sharia in Libya battalion
Islamic Association in Norway
Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia
Islamic Relief Organization in London
Somalia’s Mujahideen Youth Movement
Cordoba Foundation in Britain
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Boko Haram in Nigeria
Islamic Relief Organization of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood
Ansar al-Sharia (Yemen)
Battalion stationed in Mali
Organization and the Muslim Brotherhood
Ansar al-Din movement in Mali
Abu Zar Ghaffari battalion in Syria
Islamic Group in Egypt
Haqqani network Pakistan
Al-Tawhid Brigade in Syria
Ansar al-Egyptian Jerusalem
Unification battalion and faith in Syria
Group hosts of Egypt
East Turkestan movement in Pakistan
Green Battalion in Sroea
Mujahideen Shura Council, the environs of Jerusalem
Muhammad’s Army in Pakistan
Secret Abu Bakr in Syria
Houthi movement in Yemen
Army of Mohammed in Pakistan and India
Secret Talha bin Obaidullah in Syria
Saudi Hezbollah in the Hijaz
Indian Mujahideen in India / Kashmir
Strict confidentiality forearm in Syria
Hezbollah in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus (Chechen jihadists)
Abdullah bin Mubarak battalion in Syria
Al-Qaeda in Iran
Martyrs battalion in Syria
Badr Organization in Iraq
Philippine group Abu Sayyaf
Abu Omar battalion in Syria
League of the Righteous in Iraq
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Free fennel battalion in Syria
Hezbollah Brigades (Iraq)
Canvas organization in Belgrade, Serbia
Battalion valid mountain in Syria
Brigade Ibovdil Abbas in Syria
Muslim American Society (MAS)
Buffy battalion in Syria
Brigades of the Promised Day Brigade (Iraq)
Union of Muslim Scholars
Qaqaa battalion in Syria
Brigade Omar bin Yasir (Syria)
Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
Battalion Revolutionary Sufian in Syria
Ansar al-Islam Iraqi
Federation of Islamic Organizations in France
Sunflower Rahman battalion in Syria
Nasra Front in Syria
Muslim Association of Britain
Battalion Omar bin al-Khattab in Syria
Sham free movement in Syria
Islamic Society in Germany
Shaimaa battalion in Syria
Army of Islam in Palestine
Islamic Association in Denmark
Right in Syria battalion
Abdullah Azzam Brigades
Islamic Association in Belgium (the Association of Muslims of Belgium)
Ironically, although many Islamic activist groups are included among the 83 named, Hamas (translated into English as Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, and also translated as the Islamic Resistance Movement) and its affiliate organization the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are not included among the organizations. That’s ironic considering that many anti-Islamic and rightwing Western news organizations reporting on CAIR and MAS often criticize both as being “associated” with Hamas, which the United States has designated as a “terrorist organization.”
Recently, the European Union rejected the designation of Hamas as a “terrorist” organization and the United States is under pressure to do the same by rejecting the label which was lobbied by Israel’s rightwing government.
CAIR issued this brief statement on Friday, Dec. 22, 2014, noting that it is working with the US Government on the UAE designation:
U.S. Government Pledges to Work with CAIR, MAS on UAE Designation
The Council on American-Islamic Relations(CAIR) said today that its representatives met with U.S. government officials about a recent move by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to add CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS) to its list of “terrorist” groups.
In a joint statement, CAIR and MAS said:
“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) met with senior U.S. government officials regarding the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) recent inclusion of the two legally-operating organizations on a list of groups it considers to be terrorist entities. The two American Muslim organizations and the U.S. government pledged to work together to achieve a positive solution to the UAE designations.
“A State Department spokesman rejected the designations two days after the list was issued and affirmed that department officials meet regularly with representatives of CAIR and MAS.”
Video: U.S. Rejects UAE Labeling of Two American Muslim Groups
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Officials of the Muslim American Society, also rejected the designation saying ont heir website they are seeking explanation from UAE officials.
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.
MAS engages in educational programs to help Americans better understand Islam and American Muslims and to fight racism and discrimination against Muslims and all religious groups. MAS is very active in may cities around the country, including in Chicago.
They are described on their website as:
Established in 1993 as a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, the Muslim American Society (MAS) is a dynamic charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational, organization. Over the past two decades, MAS has expanded to more than 50 chapters across the United States. MAS offers unique programs and services that seek to better the individual and in turn, the greater society by imparting Islamic knowledge, promoting community service, engaging in political activism, and much more.
Over the past two decades, MAS has evolved into a nationally recognized grassroots movement. The organization is empowered by a unique chapter structure that is linked through a common mission and vision. Focusing on personal development of individuals through a comprehensive Islamic educational curriculum, MAS promotes active involvement in communities across the U.S. by providing opportunities for community service, interfaith initiatives, youth programs, and civic engagement. By cooperating and collaborating with other organizations, MAS has expanded its reach into thousands of communities across the United States.
Over they years, officials at CAIR and MAS have stood up firmly to denounce bigotry and discrimination against not only American Muslims, but also Christians who have been victimized by racist actions. And, CAIR is actively involved in lobbying the American government including scheduling a lobby-day to urge members of the U.S. Congress to change their attitudes and views about Muslims. The next Lobbying Day is scheduled for Monday, January 19, 2015 on the national commemoration in honor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who fought against racism and on behalf of civil rights.
In addition to headquarters in Washington D.C., CAIR has active chapters in 18 American states. They include: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois (Chicago), Kentucky, Michigan (Detroit), Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
Here is a video released by CAIR of an unnamed Obama administration official firmly during a media briefing in Washington DC broadcast on C-Span on Nov. 29, 2014, a few days after the UAE designation was reported, firmly stating that the US does not consider CAIR or MAS “terrorist organizations.”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media consulting services. He is the managing editor of The Arab Daily News. Reach him at rayhanania@TheArabDailyNews.com.)