The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) approved a new law that brands the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, along with several other Egyptian Islamist groups. In total, 83 groups are labelled as terrorist organisations.
The new law was initially issued by the President of the UAE and Emir of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and then presented to the cabinet for approval. It makes specific reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, its international branches, and even affiliated charities, like the Islamic Relief Organisation.
Saudi Arabia designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in March, while Egypt did so in December 2013.
In the years that followed Egypt’s 2011 revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood briefly held power after sweeping electoral victories in 2012, but its government was overthrown by the military in July 2013 following another wave of massive popular protests.
Much of its leadership is currently held in Egyptian detention facilities and faces multiple trials on charges that include treason and murder.
The enactment of the new UAE law came as Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry was visiting the country to hold meetings with his counterparts from both the UAE and Libya, to discuss the “political challenges related to the situation in Libya”.
Several other Islamist organizations from Egypt were included on the UAE list, among them Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which is now seeking to rebrand itself as “State in Sinai” after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Other Egyptian groups on the list include Gamaa Islamiyya and Ajnar Misr. The former has been active since the 1990s, when it carried out a series of deadly attacks against police and military forces, as well as foreign tourists in Egypt. It now claims to have renounced violence. The latter is a group based in Cairo that has claimed responsibility for several bombings and assassinations in the Egyptian capital over the past year.
The new UAE law also designates Al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and Nigeria’s Boko Haram as terrorist organisations.