Photo Credit: Mohammed Al-Ostaz / Flash 90
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meeting Hamas Gaza Prime Minister , Ismail Haniyeh in Cairo.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meeting Hamas Gaza Prime Minister , Ismail Haniyeh in Cairo.

The Fatwa Council of the United Arab Emirates on Monday declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and has advised Muslims to stay away from it, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reports.

The Council joins Saudi Arabia’s decision to classify the organization as a terrorist group.

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The move, led by Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayya, chairman of the Fatwa Council in the United Arab Emirates, was made during a video conference in which delegates reviewed the statement of the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia which affirmed Shari’a “promotes unity and warns against opponents and rogue groups.”

“The UAE Fatwa Council declared its full support for the Council of Senior Scholars’ statement, which echoes the previous proclamations of the governments of the UAE and Saudi Arabia that consider the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, due to its support for violent extremist groups, disputes and with leaderships, and disobedience,” the Emirati news agency WAM reported.

The government body was established in 2018 and is responsible for licensing Islamic authorities to issue fatwas.

The Council cited verses from the Quran as well as sayings and practices (Sunnah) of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to affirm “It is not permissible to pledge allegiance to anyone other than the ruler, nor is it permissible to pledge allegiance to a clandestine ‘emir’.”

UAE Designation Follows Saudi Declaration
According to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars said in a statement that the Muslim Brotherhood group “blindly follows partisan objectives that are running contrary to the guidance of our graceful religious, while taking religious as a mask to disguise its purposes in order to practice the opposite such as a sedition, wreaking havoc, committing violence and terrorism.

““Out of its [the Muslim Brotherhood’s] womb, many extremist and terrorist groups have emerged, wreaking havoc on so many territories, which has been clearly demonstrated by their violence and crimes all over the world,” the Council added in its statement.

Muslim Brotherhood Slams Saudi Declaration
In response, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement on Tuesday (Nov. 24) slamming Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars for declaring the organization a terrorist group.

Spokesperson Talat Fehmi told Turkey’s official Anadolu News Agency “the Brotherhood is not terrorist but an inviting and reformist organization. The Brotherhood, which was established in Egypt in 1928, is far from violence, terror and tearing apart the ummah (Muslim world).

“Since its establishment, it has been calling people to Allah with good advice,” Fehmi said. He added that the Brotherhood denies all the accusations of the Council, and stressed the organization has ‘always been a victim of violence and dictatorial regimes.’

Egyptian Scholars Praise Saudi Declaration
Religious scholars and lawmakers in Egypt praised the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars for designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, saying it does not represent Islam, and warning the world against cooperating or sympathizing with the organization.

The Brotherhood was blacklisted by Egyptian authorities in 2013 after it was linked to violence that took place when former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from government. Morsi, a member of the group, was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Some members are facing trials in Egypt for inciting violence; some face maximum prison sentences and others are facing death.

“The warning of the top scholars in Saudi Arabia was timely, and it will limit the Brotherhood’s incitement and violence,” Mahmoud Mohanna, a member of Egypt’s Council of Senior Scholars at al-Azhar, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Muslim Brotherhood gave birth to Gaza’s ruling terrorist organization, among others. It is backed by Qatar and Turkey’s strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also provides permanent, cordial sanctuary on Turkish soil to the leaders of Hamas.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.