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The Politics of the UAE "Terrorist List"

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 28, 2014


Seven million-strong American Muslim community was shocked at the inclusion of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in the terror list of the United Arab Emirates, a US-client Sheikhdom.  Another American Muslim group included in the UAE terror list is the Muslim American Society (MAS).

Why the American Muslims are shocked? Despite best efforts by the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim organizations and individuals to dislodge the CAIR from its position as the only Muslim voice which is trying to defend and preserve the Muslim civil rights in the post-9/11 America.

The American Muslim community remains under siege since 9/11 through configuration of legislation as well as media campaign against its faith and institutions. The community is also target of a vicious campaign by few vocal and resourceful anti-Islam groups.

The CAIR is the most visible public American Muslim group that has a distinguished record of social and political activism since its establishment in 1994. The increase in CAIR's grassroots support in the American Muslim community is clearly demonstrated by the opening of 27 chapters and offices since 2001, all of which are funded exclusively through local donations. Each year, CAIR fundraising banquets in Washington, D.C., and nationwide are sold-out events of up to 2000 people.

Recently I attended a fund raiser of CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area at the Convention Center in Santa Clara. The CAIR fund raiser attracted more than 1,000 people.

No doubt there was a deliberate attempt by certain groups and individuals to defame and discredit prominent Muslim groups such as CAIR, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in a bid to suppress genuine voice of American Muslims.

It appears that CAIRís visibility in advocating American Muslim civil rights has alarmed many interested parties. In a bid to suppress CAIRís voice an Anti-CAIR ( website has been launched to spew venom against CAIR. Some other interested people have established namesake groups - like California Association for Institutional Research (CAIR) and Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIR) - to confuse the people.

The smear campaigns against the established American Muslim organizations such as CAIR, ICNA, ISNA and MPAC were aimed at marginalizing Muslims in America by silencing the most prominent and respected American Muslim voices.

These vicious campaigns were disseminated sometimes by agenda-driven individuals such as Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller in a bid to marginalize and disenfranchise the American Muslim community. 

Unfortunately, Muslim groups and individuals have been a target of the US government. In an attempt to defame and distort the image of American Muslim groups and individuals, the prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation case, named more than 300 Muslim groups and individuals as unindicted co-conspirators. The government's co-conspirator's list includes the largest Muslim civil right group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the nation's largest Muslim educational source, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the North American Islamic Trust, the country's largest holding company of deeds to about 300 mosques, Islamic centers and schools in the U.S.

While the co-conspirator designation was a blow to the credibility of the national Muslim organizations, the listing of CAIR in the UAE terrorist groups will provide a new fodder to the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim groups and individuals to attack the leading Muslim organization which has a mission to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

As the defamation campaign continues against the major American Muslim organizations, certain marginal groups were propped up by interested individuals and organizations to replace the mainstream American Muslim voices. In recent years, attempts have been made to divide the community and establish alternate compliant American Muslim groups in the name of so-called moderate voices.

The American Muslim community was perplexed at the listing of the UAE which is a US-coalition partner in its campaign against the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Syria. 

Interestingly, last September, senior UAE representatives worked with CAIR and other Muslim groups to counter the IS. The CAIR joined more than 120 international scholars of Islam to release a first-of-its-kind open letter, in Arabic and English, refuting the ideology of the Iraqi terrorist group (IS).

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (

 Email: asghazali2011 (@) 


Video: U.S. Rejects UAE Labeling of American Muslim Groups

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