MOSCOW, November 17 (Sputnik) — A group of Islamist scholars led by a Qatari cleric expressed "astonishment" at being included in a list of 85 banned organizations and terrorist groups by the United Arab Emirates, LBC news reported Monday.
"The Union expresses its complete and extreme astonishment of its inclusion by the UAE among the terrorists groups and rejects this description completely," the group was quoted as saying by the news outlet, adding that they seek only to promote awareness of Islam.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars, which UAE authorities consider to be a primarily political group, was included in the list Saturday and listed as a security threat. According to the news outlet, the UAE is acting as part of a campaign launched by Saudi Arabia, joined by Bahrain, to pressure Qatar to reduce its support for Islamist causes across the Middle East. As stated by the LBC, the campaigning nations, which are US allies, are against politically-organized Islamist groups because they challenge the monarchical system.
The Union’s chairman, Youssef al-Qaradawi, was quoted by the news outlet as saying that their inclusion in the list was “not based on any analysis or investigation, whether legal, logical or rational.”
Among the banned groups are several humanitarian and Muslim community organizations, listed alongside extremist groups such as the Nusra Front and the Islamic State, who are currently fighting in Syria and Iraq.