By Tommy Hansen
The inclusion by the United Arab Emirates of some of the most respected Islamic organizations established within Nordic states and the UK on a list of groups - including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - suspected of having links to terrorism has triggered a wave of protest.
The outcry on Monday came after Islamic organisations firmly established and embedded in societies in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark were described are possibly having terror cells and included on a list of 85 organizations suspected of having "terror" links and which was approved by the cabinet of the U.A.E over the weekend.
The Islamic Society in Denmark said in a press release on Monday: "The list is nothing but a politically motivated, subjective and very poorly created list which mixes law-abiding and hard-working small organisations in Europe and the U.S.A. with terror organizations such as Boko Haram and ISIS."
The leader of the Islamic Association in Norway, Basim Ghozlan, demanded that his organization be taken off the list.
Ghozlan told Norway's NRK: "It is difficult to say why this has happened."
"At first, we thought it was a joke, but it's not. The Emirates have really published this list containing a lot of European organisations. We are very surprised."
- 'Translation error'
Norway's Secretary of State Bård Glad Pedersen backed the call saying he intended to ask the Emirates for an explanation.
He told Norwegian national TV channel NRK on Sunday that he would find out how a respected Islamic society in Norway could have been put on the list, and examine the repercussions for the organizations which had been wrongfully included.
Mahammad Fouad Albarazi, an imam with the Islamic Association in Denmark (Det Islamiske Forbund i Danmark), told Danish TV2 that he could not understand why the group had been included.
"They are apparently not making distinctions between the organizations. I completely cannot understand it and I think the United Arab Emirates are just putting organizations on the list without looking into what kind of organizations they are," he told TV2 News.
In Finland, national TV channel Yle reported that the Finnish Islamic Congregation of Tatar Muslims - believed to be the first Muslim association officially recognized by a European state - had been included.
The widely-known organization, recognized as practicing a very moderate version of Islam and which comprises about 600 members, has mosques in Helsinki and Järvenpää, and was established in 1925.
Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Finland’s ambassador to the UAE, told Yle he believed the inclusion of the Tatar Muslims could be the result of a translation error, and said he expected to find out early this week why the group has been classified as having terrorist links.
- 'Very odd list'
Jim Walsh, an expert in international security, told Al Jazeera English that the list seemed "very odd", noting that some of the listed groups were merely cultural and civic organisations.
Walsh, a Research Associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program in Boston, told Al Jazeera: "You have people from across the spectrum, some completely devoted to violence and some who don't seem to be involved in violence at all."
The list included the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe as well as other Muslim groups including several registered charity organisations.
- 'Muslims in danger'
In the UK, the Muslim Association of Britain expressed its "total and utter condemnation" at the move.
The President of the organization, Omer el-Hamdoon, said from its north London headquarters: "We openly question the basis under which this list has been compiled and we call on the UAE to explain why this questionable and objectionable decision has been taken."
"The action places the lives of ordinary Muslim people in danger as they may be targeted and treated as terrorists or become the victims of hate crimes."
Issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the list included major terror groups such as al-Qaeda as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as regional and local affiliates and smaller regional groups.
The full list from the U.A.E. Cabinet, published by the Emirates News Agency on Saturday contains 85 names, not 83 as previously widely mentioned on some European press reports.
The full list reads:
The UAE Muslim Brotherhood
Al-Islah (or Da'wat Al-Islah)
Fatah al-Islam (Lebanon)
Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Association of Italian Muslims)
Khalaya Al-Jihad Al-Emirati (Emirati Jihadist Cells)
Osbat al-Ansar (the League of the Followers) in Lebanon
The Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta)
Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM or Tanzim al-Qa idah fi Bilad al-Maghrib al-Islami)
The Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska forbund, SMF)
Hizb al-Ummah (The Ommah Party or Nation's Party) in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula
Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL, Partisans of Islamic Law)
Det Islamske Forbundet i Norge (Islamic Association in Norway)
Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AST, Partisans of Sharia) in Tunisia
Islamic Relief UK
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) in Somalia ( Mujahideen Youth Movement)
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) in Britain
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
Boko Haraam ( Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad) in Nigeria
Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) of the Global Muslim Brotherhood
Jama'at Ansar al-Shari'a (Partisans of Sharia) in Yemen
Al-Mourabitoun (The Sentinels) group in Mali
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan)
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) organisation and groups
Ansar al-Dine (Defenders of the faith) movement in Mali
Abu Dhar al-Ghifari Battalion in Syria
Jama'a Islamia in Egypt (AKA al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, The Islamic Group, IG)
The Haqqani Network in Pakistan
Al-Tawheed Brigade (Brigade of Unity, or Monotheism) in Syria
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABM, Supporters of the Holy House or Jerusalem) and now rebranded as Wilayat Sinai (Province or state in the Sinai)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (Soldiers, or Army of the Pure, or of the Righteous)
Al-Tawhid wal-Eman battalion (Battalion of Unity, or Monotheism, and Faith) in Syria
Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) group
The East Turkistan Islamic Movement in Pakistan (ETIM), AKA the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM)
Katibat al-Khadra in Syria (The Green Battalion)
Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis (the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, or MSC)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (The Army of Muhammad)
Abu Bakr Al Siddiq Brigade in Syria
The Houthi Movement in Yemen
Jaish-e-Mohammed (The Army of Muhammad) in Pakistan and India
Talha Ibn 'Ubaid-Allah Compnay in Syria
Hezbollah al-Hijaz in Saudi Arabia
Al Mujahideen Al Honoud in Kashmor/ India (The Indian Mujahideen, IM)
Al Sarim Al Battar Brigade in Syria
Hezbollah in the Gulf Cooperation Council
Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus (Caucasus Emirate or Kavkaz and Chechen jidadists)
The Abdullah bin Mubarak Brigade in Syria
Al-Qaeda in Iran
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Qawafil al-Shuhada (Caravans of the Martyrs)
The Badr Organisation in Iraq
Abu Sayyaf Organisation in the Philippines
Abu Omar Brigade in Syria
Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq (The Leagues of the Righteous)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Ahrar Shammar Brigade in Syria (Brigade of the free men of the Shammar Tribe)
Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq
CANVAS organisation in Belgrade, Serbia
The Sarya al-Jabal Brigade in Syria
Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas in Syria
The Muslim American Society (MAS)
Al Shahba' Brigade in Syria
Liwa al-Youm al-Maw'oud in Iraq (Brigade of Judgment Day)
International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS)
Al Ka'kaa' Brigade in Syria
Liwa Ammar bin Yasser (Ammar bin Yasser Brigade)
Ansar al-Islam in Iraq
Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe
Sufyan Al Thawri Brigade
Ansar al-Islam Group in Iraq (Partisans of Islam)
Union of Islamic Organisations of France (L'Union des Organisations Islamiques de France, UOIF)
Ebad ar-Rahman Brigade (Brigade of Soldiers of Allah) in Syria
Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) in Syria
Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)
Omar Ibn al-Khattab Battalion in Syria
Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham Al Islami (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant)
Islamic Society of Germany (Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland)
Al-Shayma' Battaltion in Syria
Jaysh al-Islam in Palestine (The Army of Islam in Palestine)
The Islamic Society in Denmark (Det Islamiske Trossamfund, DIT)
Katibat al-Haqq (Brigade of the Righteous)
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades
The League of Muslims in Belgium (La Ligue des Musulmans de Belgique, LMB)
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