General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, speaks with Dr Shaikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of the Al Azhar during a forum on Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s naming of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation will unify Muslim nations and spread peace and stability across the Muslim communities, scholars said yesterday.

“Saudi Arabia’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood and other organisations claiming to promote Islamic doctrine and thought will eventually unite the Muslim nations and spread peace and stability across the Muslim Ummah,” Dr Nasr Farid Wasil, former Mufti of Egypt, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies forum held in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Wasil added that the Muslim Brothehood and other supportive organisations tarnished the image of Islam, waged wars against Egypt to reinstate former president Mohammad Mursi.

“They [members of the Muslim Brotherhood] believe theirs is a sacred fight to recover a Muslim rule, while the fact is it was a civil state and they are fighting for political ends,” Dr Wasil said.

Saudi Arabia listed the Brotherhood along with several other groups, including Al Qaida affiliates, as terrorist organisations. Those who join or support the groups could face up to 20 years in prison under the new Saudi policy. The UAE has thrown its support behind neighbouring Saudi Arabia’s decision, increasing Gulf Arab pressure on the Islamist group.

The Gulf moves against the Brotherhood follow an Egyptian decision to designate it a terrorist organisation in December.

Dr William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, a New York-based international coalition of representatives from the world’s religions dedicated to promoting peace, said there was a growing unanimity across the Islamic world that any group that rejects the profound and unshakeable peace is to be isolated and rejected on the basis of the Islam’s authentic doctrine.

“Islam welcomes a great diversity of people and deep respect for differences, but peace is paramount in Islam,” Dr Vendley said.

Dr Vendley added he had confidence that peace would prevail as the original and dominant theme of Islam across the entire Muslim Ummah.

“We can interpret the recent clear rejection of all misuse of Islam in support of terror as the call for all Muslims to return to the heart of their faith with is identical with peace,” he said.

Dr. Faisal A. Bin Muammar, secretary general of the Vienna — based King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, said Saudi Arabia has taken the decision [to ban the Muslim Brotherhood and other organisations] to protect the Muslim communities from the evil of extremism and extremist organisations, which attempt to push Muslim communities into abyss.

“These organisations have devastated many Muslim communities, but educational and religious especially the school, mosque and family, have a duty to counter misguided extremist ideologies that are contrary to the doctrine of Islam,” Bin Muammar said.

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice Chancellor of UAE University, said the significant step taken by Saudi Arabia in this critical moment will paralyse these terrorist organisations, because it removed the point of reference of the Muslim Brotherhood, given Saudi Arabia has been their resort and main supporter.

Dr Al Nuaimi said the move requires concerted efforts among Muslim nations to address the security and stability challenges that threaten the Arab and Muslim nation.

He said all Arab and Muslim nations should cooperate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to tackle those terrorist organisations through liquidating all forms of financial and moral support”.

Saudi Arabia also blacklisted Al Qaida’s branch in Yemen and its former affiliate in Iraq, the Syrian Al Nusra Front, Hezbollah within the kingdom and Yemen’s Houthis.

Dr Al Nuaimi said wiping out the Muslim Brotherhood is a huge challenge that requires more than laws, due to its penetration in many societal and religious institutions.