In 2015: UK government delayed Muslim Brotherhood classification

In light of the American consideration of classifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, we share this 2015 UK news about the British experience on this topic. 

In 2015, British then-Prime Minister David Cameron pulled a report which was expected to say that the Muslim Brotherhood is not terrorist organisation. The government likely did not publish the report because it would have hurt the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, countries which have all banned the Muslim Brotherhood and consider it to be a terrorist organisation.

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, critiqued the unpublished report for being too political and for possibly contributing to the stigmatisation of Muslims within the UK.

Anger over the U.A.E. list of terror organisations

The inclusion by the United Arab Emirates of some of the most respected Islamic organizations established within Nordic states and the UK on a list of groups – including al-Qaeda and the ISIL- suspected of having links to terrorism has triggered a wave of protest.

In the UK, the Muslim Association of Britain expressed its “total and utter condemnation” at the move. The President of the organization, Omer el-Hamdoon, said from its north London headquarters: “We openly question the basis under which this list has been compiled and we call on the UAE to explain why this questionable and objectionable decision has been taken. The action places the lives of ordinary Muslim people in danger as they may be targeted and treated as terrorists or become the victims of hate crimes.”

Issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the list included major terror groups such as al-Qaeda as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as regional and local affiliates and smaller regional groups.

UOIF dismayed to be classified as “terrorist” organization by the United Arab Emirates

The Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF), which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, said it discovered with “shock and anger” its presence on a list of “terrorist organizations” established by the United Arab Emirates.

 

The list was published in mid-November by the UAE, which is part of an international anti-jihadist coalition led by the United States. It names 83 groups, many of which are based in Syria.

Al-Qaeda, ISIL, the Muslim Brotherhood and its various branches are also on the list. “It’s with shock and horror that the UOIF has discovered that it is part of a list of organizations classified as terrorist organizations by the political authorities in the United Arab Emirates,” said the group in a statement published on its website.

“Several other Western Muslim organizations are also unfairly listed,” said the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). These include The International Islamic Relief Organization and the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FOIE), both of which have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. “This qualification, as insulting as it is ridiculous, affects not only French Muslims and their representatives, but also our country and its international image,” the UOIF stated. The group “reserves the right to take action to demand reparations.”

The UOIF boasts 250 member associations and mosque leaders and is one of the principal organizations to shape the “French-Muslim landscape,” along with the Great Mosque of Paris, the RMF, the UMF and the CCMTF. Although it no longer participates in events held by the French Council of the Muslim Faith, the UOIF hosts an annual event billed as the largest gathering of Muslims in the West, with more than 150,000 attendees.

In the past weeks the group has condemned ISIL’s actions and signed a “call to French Muslims” while lambasting the “deportation of Iraqi Christians.” Despite their public statements condemning terrorism, Front National leader Marine Le Pen has “reiterated her request for the UOIF’s dissolution,” which she previously requested in 2012, citing “the dangerousness of an organization that consistently defies the Republic and encourages radicalization.”

David Cameron to unveil plans for £200m Islamic bond

October 28, 2013

 

David Cameron will pledge to make London one of the world’s “great capitals of Islamic finance” when he unveils Treasury plans to create a £200m Islamic bond by early next year. The prime minister will also unveil plans by the London Stock Exchange to launch the first Islamic Market Index.

The government moved on Monday night to offer assurances that the Islamic bond, or Sukuk, and the Islamic index would not encourage investments that discriminate against Israel. Boris Johnson was forced to order Transport for London to rewrite the contract for the Emirates Thames cable car in the summer amid fears that Israeli companies could have been blocked from involvement in the project as the United Arab Emirates does not recognise the state of Israel.

A government spokesman said: “The government’s decision to issue a Sukuk compliant bond is about making sure Britain is open for business – we will not open one door at the expense of another. While the Treasury is still working on the practicalities, we can confirm that the government would never exclude a supplier on nationality grounds.”

The Sukuk bond will comply with Islamic law and investment principles that prohibit lenders from charging interest.

On the Islamic index he will say: “The growth of Islamic finance means that there is an increasing demand for new ways of identifying Islamic compliant business activities. Again the City of London is leading the way – this time not just in Europe, but right across the world.

 

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/29/islamic-bond-david-cameron-treasury-plans

Rihanna Asked to Leave Mosque in Abu Dhabi

October 21, 2013

 

Rihanna was asked to leave the site of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi after posing for photographs there over the weekend that the shrine’s overseers said had violated the “sanctity” of the site.

In photos that Rihanna posted on her Instagram and Twitter accounts, she is seen posing at the mosque site, in the United Arab Emirates capital city. Though she is fully covered in the photographs, with only her face, hands and painted fingernails visible in some of the shots, these images drew some negative responses from online commenters, like one who responded with an obscene word, adding: “Leave our holy place and keep your filth away from it. We don’t need you.”

The Associated Press, citing a statement from the overseers of the mosque that was published in local newspapers, said Rihanna was in a part of the mosque that is not open to visitors and that the photo shoot was not in accordance with the “status and sanctity of the mosque.” A press representative for Rihanna said on Monday morning that she did not have any other information on the incident.

 

The New York Times: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/rihanna-asked-to-leave-mosque-in-abu-dhabi/

Ore. Muslim sues FBI, claims torture

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An American Muslim who says he was beaten with batons by prison interrogators while held in solitary confinement overseas for more than three months has sued the FBI and State Department, claiming the torture was done at their behest.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oregon seeks $30 million and several injunctions against the U.S. government concerning its treatment of citizens overseas.

Yonas Fikre said he was held for 106 days in the United Arab Emirates after refusing to cooperate with Portland, Ore.,-based FBI agents in an interview in Sudan. The State Department has confirmed previously that Fikre was held in Abu Dhabi ‘‘on unspecified charges,’’ but said he was visited by State Department officials and showed no signs of mistreatment.

Two other Oregon Muslims who worship at the mosque have also alleged they were held overseas and were asked to become informants by Portland-based FBI agents. Both men have returned to Oregon.

The mosque has come under scrutiny before. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American convicted of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in 2010, occasionally worshipped there. A decade ago, seven Muslims with ties to the mosque were arrested following a failed effort to enter Afghanistan and fight U.S. forces.

 

CAIR Seeks Probe of Whether FBI Sought Torture of U.S. Muslim

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to investigate whether an American Muslim citizen detained last year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was tortured at the behest of the FBI.

In its letter to the DOJ, CAIR cites an exclusive report by Mother Jones magazine about the case of Yonas Fikre, an Oregon Muslim who was detained and tortured while visiting the UAE last June. The letter was also signed by Fikre’s attorney Thomas Nelson.

Fikre reports that he was “beaten on the soles of his feet, kicked and punched, and held in stress positions while interrogators demanded he ‘cooperate’ and barked questions that were eerily similar to those posed to him not long before by FBI agents and other American officials who had requested a meeting with him.”

According to Fikre’s lawyer: “When Yonas [first] asked whether the FBI was behind his detention, he was beaten for asking the question. Toward the end, the interrogator indicated that indeed the FBI had been involved.”

Fikre said he had previously rejected an FBI demand that he act as an informant. He is currently seeking asylum in Sweden because he fears what U.S. officials may do to him if he returns.

American Muslim blames the FBI, saying he was tortured at their behest in United Arab Emirates

PORTLAND, Ore. — His interrogators usually came in the morning. Peeking under a blindfold in a cold concrete cell, Yonas Fikre says he caught only glimpses of their shoes.

They beat the soles of his feet with hoses and sticks, asking him about his Portland, Ore., mosque and its imam. Each day, the men questioning him in a United Arab Emirates prison told the 33-year-old Fikre he would be released “tomorrow,” according to an account he gave on Wednesday at a press conference in Sweden, where he has been since September.

“It was very hard, because you don’t know why you are in there and the only person you speak to is either yourself, or the wall, or when you go to the restroom or when you go to the torture place,” said Fikre, who was held for 106 days. “I have never been that isolated from human beings in my entire life.”

An advocacy group alleges that over the past two years the FBI has been using aggressive tactics against Muslim-Americans travelling abroad to try to pressure them to become informants when they got home. Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says there have been several instances of FBI agents calling travelers into embassies or consulates for questioning.

Dutch Mosque Suspends Radical Sheikh

31 March 2012

 

Sheikh Fawaz al-Jneid has been suspended from the Sunnah mosque in The Hague for at least three weeks after allegedly insulting board members and disturbing a meeting. In an interview Sheikh Fawaz commented that he does not intend to abide by the mosque’s injunction and accuses the board of trying to prevent him from speaking on political matters during Friday prayers. Meanwhile a lawyer acting on behalf of the mosque board has provided a letter proposing measures to curtail Sheikh Fawaz’s authority within the mosque.

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Sheikh Fawaz Jneid (1963) was born in Syria, trained in Saudi Arabia and became an imam in the United Arab Emirates. He left the UAE after protesting the presence of American troops in 1991, and arrived in the Netherlands where he became one of the primary figures in the Dutch salafist movement. Jneid is affiliated with the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague and is prominent at a national level for his political activity, but is not linked to violence. He has been at the center of several controversies which have received considerable attention in the national press, including his condemnation of Theo van Gogh and Hirsi Ali.

Dutch Queen and Princess Cover Heads for Mosque Visit

8 January 2012

Considerable press attention has followed an appearance by Queen Beatrix and Princess Maxima in long robes and head coverings during a visit to the biggest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The Queen tucked a blue headscarf around her hat at the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque as part of the 50th state visit of her reign. Both she and Princess Maxima donned long gowns. Their dress prompted considerable press attention in the Netherlands, of both praise and critique.

Members of the PVV raised the issue in parliament, suggesting that the Queen’s dress legitimized the oppression of women. In an unusual move, the Queen publicly responded to the criticism, calling it “utter nonsense”. According to the NRC it is unusual for the Queen to publicly react to politically sensitive issues such as this. She further said that she had no problem complying with Islamic dress as a mark of respect to the space she visited. Supporting the Queen’s assertion that there is no question of oppression for many women in the United Arab Emirates, Princess Maxima noted that it is rather the region’s young boys who may be at risk.