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Prominent Muslim figures resign from UAE peace forum over deal with Israel

August 25, 2020 at 10:04 am

The United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan speaks during the opening session of a two-day forum entitled “Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies” on 9 March 2014 in Abu Dhabi. [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

Prominent Muslim American activist Aisha Al-Adawiya has resigned from the UAE-based Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (FPPMS) following its support for the Emirates’ normalisation deal with Israel, Anadolu reported yesterday.

Writing on Facebook, Al-Adawiya, the founder of the human rights group Women in Islam, disclaimed the FPPMS’ statement which supported the deal, accusing the organisation of a “breach of trust” and stressed her “staunch” support for Palestine.

The topic of normalisation, she stressed, was never brought up at a recent board meeting, reiterating that “there was no agreement on any kind of support for the UAE’s deal with Israel.”

“As a result of this breach of trust and consistent with my values, I am announcing my resignation,” she added.

The FPPMS hailed the UAE-Israel deal, claiming it reinforces peace and dialogue among nations, however after being criticised for the statement, the body removed the statement from its platforms.

Hamza Yusuf, vice-president at FPPMS, denied any knowledge of the statement.

Yusuf, the head of Zaytuna College in California, said he did “not engage in or endorse geopolitical strategies or treaties.”

READ: The UAE-Israel agreement serves the US and Israel alone

“My allegiance is and has always been with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, whether Muslim, Christian, or otherwise,” Yusuf wrote on Facebook.

In addition to Al-Adawiya and Yusuf, Abdullah Al-Matouq, an adviser to Kuwait’s royal court and a member of the forum, distanced himself from the statement.

“I attended the aforementioned meeting as a member of the forum’s board of trustees,” he said, but stressed, “no political initiatives regarding the Palestinian issue were discussed or mentioned on the agenda.”

For his part, Sheikh Ahmed Heloyel, the former Jordanian grand religious judge and a member of the forum, also said he did not know anything about the statement.

He reiterated his support for the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.

The FPPMS was established in 2014 in the UAE to reinforce peace and dialogue. It is headed by the former Mauritanian politician and professor in religion and current Grand Mufti of the UAE Abdullah Bin Bayyah.

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Netanyahu repeated on 17 August that annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.