You may have heard that the United Arab Emirates recently released a list of organizations it deems as terrorists which, outrageously, included the Muslim American Society (MAS) and CAIR.
We are also certain that you saw the U.S. government swiftly reject this labeling.
Other than the anticipated right-wing attacks, mainstream and social media have been deeply supportive of MAS and CAIR, as have the many organizations and institutions we work with. Groups like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) issued their own rejections of the UAE’s action.
We are incredibly appreciative of the outpouring of support we have received.
At a fundraising banquet this past weekend, a donor told CAIR staff that he was increasing his support because of the UAE’s statement. Indeed, truth always stands out from falsehood.
CAIR is proud of our record of making democracy work for everyone. Our effective defense of our community and nation against violations of civil liberties and human rights erosions gets us noticed, even in bizarre ways like this.
While there is absolutely no factual basis for the designation, we are addressing it through a number of avenues.
Our rationale for a strong response is not simply about defending our reputation. People like you have already proven to us that our reputation is strong.
By alleging that legally-operating groups like CAIR and MAS are nefarious, the UAE has sent a dangerous signal: No matter how principled, honest, and diligent you are in defending the rights of Muslims, you will still be equated with the likes of true terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
We hope you will agree that such a message simply cannot be permitted to stand.
The list is particularly bizarre given that in late September, senior United Arab Emirates representatives worked with CAIR and our allies to push back against violent extremists.
Among its many anti-terror initiatives, CAIR joined more than 120 international scholars of Islam to release a first-of-its-kind open letter in Arabic (with English translation) refuting the ideology of the terrorist group ISIS and urging its supporters to repent and “return to the religion of mercy.”
Among that letter’s signatories are HE Dr. Ahmad Abdul-Aziz al-Haddad, Head of the Fatwa Department, Dubai, UAE; and, HE Sheikh Ali bin Abdul Rahman Aal Hashem, Advisor to HH the Head of State for Judicial and Religious Affairs, UAE.
These kinds of attacks never surprise us. Our friends at the ACLU were targeted by McCarthy-era witch hunters in the 1950s. In the same time period, our colleagues at the NAACP faced hardship when Alabama outlawed the organization throughout the state.
We at CAIR know defending civil liberties and human rights and enhancing understanding of Islam in America is not a simple task. But your support and our confidence in our faith make it easy.
Jazzakum Allah khair (may God reward you with good) and thank you.
CAIR National Board Chair