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Muslim scholars' union slams UAE 'terrorist' label

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) expressed its surprise on Monday over the decision by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to include the bloc on the country's list of designated terrorist organisations.

In its statement, the union urged the UAE to "reconsider its unjustified position".

The IUMS, established in 2004 and headed by Islamic scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, was among 83 movements and organisations that were labelled terrorist groups by the UAE on Saturday.

Also included in the list were the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State (ISIS), Yemen's Shiite Houthi movement and the Egypt-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group.

In its statement, the group said it rejects this labelling, asserting that since its establishment ten years ago, the IUMS "has promoted a moderate approach and discouraged extremism, terror and violence using cultural and educational means".

"The IUMS has issued dozens of statements against terrorist and extremist groups," it added.

On its website, the IUMS identifies itself as "an institution concerned with the call (Da'wah) to Islam by tongue, pen, and every contemporary legitimate medium; be it recorded, audio, or visual".

"IUMS is not a local or a regional union, neither an Arab nor a national one, neither an eastern, nor a western union; rather, it represents all Muslims in the entire Islamic world, as well as all the Muslim [minority populations] and Islamic groups outside of the Islamic world."

It also asserts that it "does not slant towards exaggerations and excesses, nor does it tilt towards default and negligence, but rather it adopts the centremost approach of the centremost Ummah (Islamic nation), an approach of mediation and moderation."

The Egyptian-born Al-Qaradawi has been under fire by Egypt's post-coup authorities for his vocal criticism of the military's ouster – and subsequent imprisonment – of elected president Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, last year.

Egypt branded the Brotherhood a "terrorist" movement late last year following the bombing of a security headquarters in the Nile Delta.

The label was attached to the movement amid a massive crackdown on its members, supporters and leaders on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities and provinces.

Saudi Arabia also designated the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist" movement in March of this year, following in Egypt's footsteps.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia were amongst the first countries to welcome Morsi's ouster. Both countries – along with Bahrain – withdrew their ambassadors from Doha last March, accusing Qatar of interfering in their affairs.

Many observers, however, linked the rift to Doha's perceived support for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet, the three countries agreed on Sunday to return their ambassadors to the Qatari capital following a surprise Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia.

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