Updated: Nov. 16 11:20 a.m. ET:
In a statement Sunday morning, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it was seeking clarification from the United Arab Emirates about the designation and called on the UAE to remove it from the list:
We are seeking clarification from the government of the United Arab Emirates about this shocking and bizarre report. There is absolutely no factual basis for the inclusion CAIR and other American and European civil rights and advocacy groups on this list.
“Like the rest of the mainstream institutions representing the American Muslim community, CAIR’s advocacy model is the antithesis of the narrative of violent extremists.
“We call on the United Arab Emirates cabinet to review this list and remove organizations such as CAIR, the Muslim American Society and other civil society organizations that peacefully promote civil and democratic rights and that oppose terrorism whenever it occurs, wherever it occurs and whoever carries it out.”
A spokesperson for Islamic Relief, a humanitarian aid agency that was also put on the list, said on Tuesday that the group was “surprised” and that they “categorically refute any allegation of links to terrorism.”
“We assume that our inclusion on the UAE list can only be attributable to a mistake,” the spokesperson said. “We do not have a presence or any programmes in the UAE. Islamic Relief Worldwide will be seeking clarification from the UAE Embassy on this matter, with a view to having this wrongful listing removed.”
WASHINGTON — The United Arab Emirates has listed two American Muslim organizations on its list of designated terrorist groups, according to an announcement released on state media on Saturday.
The UAE has classified the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society as terrorist groups, according to a story on the website of WAM, the official news agency.
Also reportedly designated as terror groups were the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Association of Britain, and the charity Islamic Relief.
The list also covers groups widely thought of as terrorist groups, like ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.
The new American additions to the list are not categorized as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. The Muslim American Society is a non-profit founded in 1993 in Illinois by Muslim Brotherhood members. The UAE also designated other Muslim Brotherhood affiliates as terrorist groups, including some in the Emirates.
The Muslim American Society said it was “shocked” by the announcement. “The Muslim American Society is a religious community service organization that serves people in the United States. We have no dealings with the United Arab Emirates, and hence are perplexed by this news,” it said in a statement.
The society said it would ask the UAE government for clarification on the listing, and “would also like to seek the help of our government to address this issue.”
CAIR is a well-known American Muslim advocacy group, based in Washington. The FBI listed it as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which was later convicted of giving millions of dollars to Hamas. A federal judge later ruled that the government should not have included CAIR, which was never charged with a crime, in the list of unindicted co-conspirators.
Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, said the designation was “news to me” when asked by BuzzFeed News for comment this morning.
“May take a few days to check veracity of this,” he said.