DUBAI (Reuters) - Groups placed on a terrorism list by the United Arab Emirates can appeal against the designation if their “approach has changed”, a senior UAE official said on Thursday, after several organizations criticized their inclusion.
The Gulf Arab state last week designated the Muslim Brotherhood and its local affiliates, as well as Syria-based Nusra Front and the Islamic State, and Shi’ite militant groups such as the Houthi movement in Yemen as terrorist organizations.
The list includes the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society and the Cordoba Foundation, along with a number of other Islamic research, advocacy and social organizations based in Western countries.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on his Twitter account the law included clauses giving “organizations the availability to appeal through evidence and via the courts to have their names eliminated from the list.
“This is available to the organizations whose approach has changed,” he tweeted. “The noise (by) some Western organizations over the UAE’s terrorism list originates in groups that are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and many of them work on incitement and creating an environment of extremism.”
The U.S. State Department said this week it did not consider either CAIR or the Muslim American Society as “terrorist organizations” and said it was seeking more information from the Emirati government on why it had designated them as such.
CAIR said it was seeking clarification from the UAE government on what it termed a “shocking and bizarre report”.
The Cordoba Foundation, which describes itself as an independent think tank, said it rejected the designation, calling it “an unprecedented and irresponsible move”.
The UAE’s decision reflected concern in the U.S.-allied oil producing country about political Islam and the influence of the Brotherhood, whose Sunni Islamist doctrines challenge the principle of dynastic rule that prevails in Gulf Arab states.
Writing by Yara Bayoumy, Editing by William Maclean and Mark Heinrich