Dubai: It was natural for the UAE to issue an anti-terror list, meant to send "a clear message to the world about the UAE’s stance against terrorism, extremism", a top official said on Thursday.

The list, issued by the UAE Cabinet on Saturday, designated 85 groups as terrorist organisations, including major terror groups such as Al Qaida, Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood, and its regional and local affiliates, as well as smaller regional and international groups. The move was in line with the anti-terror bill, Law No 7 for 2014, issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in August.

The law authorised the government to issue a list of groups designated by the UAE as terrorist organisations, which makes it a criminal offence for any individual or group that communicates with them, engage in their activities, or provide support by any means.

Article 33 of the law states the list is subject to regular review, on at least an annual basis. It also says that designated organisations may appeal against the decision to include them on the list. “If the appeal is rejected, the concerned organisation may appeal against the rejection before the relevant court within 60 days of the rejection being announced,” the law says. If no response to the appeal against inclusion on the list of designated organisations is received within 60 days of its submission, the concerned organisation may also submit an appeal to the relevant court, following expiry of the 60-day period.

“Articles of the law allow the organisations to appeal by presenting evidence and through the courts, to remove their names from the list,” Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said on Thursday. “This [option] is available to those organisations whose approach [to terrorism] may have changed,” he wrote on his Twitter account. It would have been “illogical not to confront terrorism in an Arab world that faces existential threats by incitement, extremism and terrorism,” he explained.

Increase awareness

The minister was responding to reactions to the list. He said most of the “noise over the list was coming from groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and that “many of them have engaged in incitement and the creation of an atmosphere of extremism”. It was only natural for the UAE to issue a list of banned organisations accompanying a law on terrorism.

The law says the list should be published in all media outlets to “increase awareness among both UAE citizens and expatriate residents (in the country) of such organisations and of the fact that they have been legally proscribed, as well as the fact that penalties are applicable for contravention of the existing legislation, particularly for joining such organisations.”

The law is meant to send “a clear message to the world about the UAE’s stance against terrorism, extremism and fanaticism, focusing on and putting a cordon around all subversive entities that seek to undermine the security and stability of the state and seeks to protect the community from extremist ideology.” It also aims “to cut off access to all forms of material and moral support for terrorism, to drain its resources, to prevent the incitement of terrorist crimes, to prevent the praising of terrorism and to work to stop the spreading of such crimes or any encouragement of the committing of them.”