The United Arab Emirates has officially designated 83 groups as terrorist organizations, including two based in the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society.
UAE’s cabinet made the announcement following a meeting on Saturday.
Other groups designated as terrorists include al-Qaida, al Nusra, Boko Haram and the Muslim Brotherhood.
CAIR’s designation is interesting given its high profile here in the U.S.
The group was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case in 2007. Leaders of the Holy Land Foundation were found guilty of aiding Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization.
Starting in 2008, the FBI adopted a strict policy against dealing with CAIR in its investigations. Last year, the Department of Justice inspector general issued a report showing that the FBI had in some instances failed to maintain that arms-length requirement.
According to Reuters, which reported on UAE’s new terrorist designations, the country is at odds with Qatar over the latter’s relationship with Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the Holy Land foundation case, CAIR was listed as a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.
The Muslim American Society (MAS), founded in 1993, also has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. A 2004 Chicago Tribune article laid out how MAS was created in secret by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders who feared attention being drawn to some of their members who were supportive of Hamas.
Both organizations have long denied having any ties to terrorist groups and say that they are civil rights organizations.
“The Muslim American Society was shocked to read news reports claiming that the United Arab Emirates has listed the Muslim American Society, along with numerous other organizations, as a terrorist organization,” the organization said in a statement released Saturday, adding that the group does not have dealings with the United Arab Emirates.
“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.”
Updated to include a statement from the Muslim American Society.