The United Arab Emirates has officially designated a list of over 80 organizations as terrorist groups. The list includes a large cross section of organizations connected to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Brotherhood organizations in the Middle East, Europe and North America, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
While CAIR professed themselves “shocked” by the designation, the reality is that the group’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood cannot be legitimately disputed.
CAIR is listed as an organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America’s Palestine Committee, in a 1994 meeting agenda submitted as evidence during the Holy Land Foundation Trial. The stated purpose of the Palestine Committee is to support the terrorist group Hamas, with quote “media, money, men and all that,” according to a 1992 internal memo also submitted at the HLF trial.
Judge Jorge Solis, the federal judge in the case, stated that the government had supplied “ample evidence” of CAIR’s links to the Palestine Committee and Hamas.
CAIR executive director Nihad Awad, and its founding Chairman Omar Ahmad were both present at a 1993 meeting of the Palestine Committee in Philadelphia, where FBI surveillance audio revealed a plan to create a new organization to conduct media activities on behalf of Hamas. That organization was CAIR. The FBI formally cut ties with CAIR over these connections, while other U.S. government agencies have refused to do the same. Regarding the UAE’s terror designation, The State Department says it is “engaging the UAE on the issue.”
The irony is that the UAE has itself supported Muslim Brotherhood groups like CAIR, at least regarding their activities in the United States.
A Deed of Trust recorded in 2002 indicated that the Dubai-based Al Maktoum Foundation had provided nearly a million dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood-linked group. In 2006, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, agreed to a proposal to build a property to serve as an endowment for CAIR.
In 2009, the U.S. took an increasingly pro-Islamist stance towards the revolutions of the Arab Spring thanks in part to the success of influence operations conducted by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups. The result was early Muslim Brotherhood victories in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. In 2010 U.A.E security forces arrested local Brotherhood operatives for allegedly forming a “military wing,” and expelled Egyptian and Syrian MB members from the country. UAE security forces stated that the Muslim Brotherhood sought to overthrow the Emirates as part of a wider plot by the Brotherhood to seize control of oil-producing Gulf States.
With Brotherhood groups preparing to target their rule, the Emirates appear to realize they badly miscalculated in their support for groups like CAIR, as U.S. policy came unmoored from it’s traditional support for the Gulf states and more in favor of Islamist opposition groups. In 2012, Dubai’s chief of police warned that U.S. policy had turned towards supporting revolutions in the Middle East, and that Muslim Brotherhood had turned against the Gulf States.
While the U.A.E’s decision to list CAIR as a terror group may be ultimate self-serving that doesn’t change the reality that it’s supported by the facts.
It’s well past time the U.S. followed suit.