Beirut : A relentless campaign is being carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, targeting the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
It started early this year, with a systematic string of articles and TV programmes cranked out in regional and international newspapers, satellite channels, and websites, all bankrolled either by Turkey or Qatar.
The reasons behind this campaign are numerous and overlapping but related primarily to Sheikh Mohamed’s commitment to Islamic moderation, which stands in sharp contrast to everything the Brotherhood has worked for since its creation in Egypt back in 1928.
Since he was a teenager, Sheikh Mohamed developed a deep-seated aversion towards the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian analyst Kamal Khalaf Al Tawil told Gulf News.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Brotherhood members were heavily present throughout the Arabian Gulf, working almost entirely as schoolteachers coming from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
That is when they started creating secret cells, aimed at toppling Gulf governments and replacing them with theocracies.
“The struggle between them and the UAE has been in slow motion,” added Al Tawil, saying that it went into full gear with the Arab uprisings in 2011.
“After the outbreak of the Arab Spring and the creation of the Brotherhood regime in Egypt, the struggle reached new heights, explaining the UAE’s heightened worries.”
“The Brotherhood’s heyday in the Gulf is now history, thanks to Mohamed Bin Zayed. They dream of a comeback to the UAE but that is now impossible. They are now fully exposed. The people of the Emirates see through their deception and shun them, at every single level of society. There is no turning back,” Kuwaiti analyst Fouad Al Hashem told Gulf News.
The Brotherhood’s heyday in the Gulf is now history, thanks to Mohamed Bin Zayed. They dream of a comeback to the UAE but that is now impossible. They are now fully exposed. The people of the Emirates see through their deception and shun them, at every single level of society. There is no turning back
The current smear campaign comes “under different names” according to Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
On December 12, he tweeted that Sheikh Mohamed mirrors “a model of stability, prosperity, and tolerance,” which is very different from everything the Brotherhood stands for.
“It is a successful vision in a tough region beset with ruins of failed experiences, dismantled institutions and uncontrolled violence,” he added.
“The Muslim Brotherhood suffers from a chronic UAE phobia,” Al Hashem noted.
“They have an axe to grind with the UAE in general and with Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed in particular. He has foiled their project throughout the region and if it were not for him, those terrorists would be roaming the streets of the Gulf, slitting throats along the way.”
Al Hashem pointed out that recently, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani recently said that his country was willing to sever ties with the Brotherhood, in order to normalize relations with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt.
Breaking away from the Brotherhood was one of the demands made by the Quartet back in June 2017 as a precondition for normalizing relations with Doha.
“Nothing of the sort has happened. They just hosted Fayez Al Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord in Libya, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead of bringing peace to Libya, they are sowing discord and making sure that more blood is spilled there.”
Dealing with a vicious enemy
“The government of Abu Dhabi has always been aware of their project,” said Palestinian-Italian filmmaker Adel Abu Zahri.
“Unlike Qatar, it never gave them a media platform and eradicated them forcefully from society after 2011, when it became clear that their new ambition was aimed at overrunning the Gulf, after their obvious defeats in Egypt and Syria. That eradication was carried out discretely, with little media attention, and it was led by Sheikh Mohamed.”
“The dismantling of their presence in UAE society was not easy,” added Abu Zahri.
“You are dealing with a well-funded organization that knows how to work undercover and has no problem in dealing with anybody who is willing to help them reach power, even if it’s the enemies of the Arab World.”
UAE’s model of religious tolerance
The Brotherhood despises inter-religious initiatives, believing that non-believers should be put to the sword—echoing rhetoric voiced by Al Qaeda and Daesh.
That explains why they were furious with Pope Francis’ historic visit to the UAE last February, reciprocating a visit to the Vatican made by Sheikh Mohamed in 2016.
It was the first time ever that a Catholic pope set foot in the Arabian Peninsula, reaching out to Muslims and thousands of Christian foreigners living throughout the Gulf.
The visit highlighted the country’s commitment to tolerance and inter-faith dialogue, challenging the Brotherhood’s ultimate ambition for the entire Arab Gulf.
In all their literature, they continued to describe Christians as “infidels” who ought to be forcefully converted to Islam—or killed.
“Their frustration with the Pope’s visit was natural and expected,” said Akram Al Sibai, a Syrian university professor.
“Just revisit their literature from when they fiercely criticized the opening of the first church in the UAE. Yet when Qatar did it in 2008, they were completely mute, thanks to Qatari checkbooks and the open access they have to the Doha-based Al Jazeera Network.”
Just revisit their literature from when they fiercely criticized the opening of the first church in the UAE. Yet when Qatar did it in 2008, they were completely mute, thanks to Qatari checkbooks and the open access they have to the Doha-based Al Jazeera Network.
UAE leaders, particularly His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed have spearheaded a series of initiatives to champion religious tolerance, carried out in recent years with thundering success.
In 2015, for example, the UAE passed a law prohibiting discrimination in all its forms.
Then came a cabinet post to promote that end, followed by the National Tolerance Program of 2016 and the International Institute for Tolerance in 2017.
Prior to that, the UAE had put its full weight behind the Abu Dhabi-based Muslim Council of Elders, chaired by Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayeb, the grand imam of Al Azhar.
With support from Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, he has been working to advance core Islamic values that prohibit excommunication, head chopping, and forced conversion.
During his visit earlier this year, Pope Francis co-signed the Human Fraternity Document with Sheikh Al Tayeb.
As if promoting inclusivity and cohesion with Christians was not enough to raise the Brotherhood ire, last April Sheikh Mohamed donated 13.5 acres of land to create the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi.
No wonder the Muslim Brotherhood are trying to discredit the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince.
By virtue of him being there, he exposes just how backward, obsolete, and intolerant they really are, and how much of a threat they really have become, not only to the UAE, but to the Arab World at large.
“Just look at what they did in Egypt and Libya, and you will appreciate what Mohamed Bin Zayed did to them in the UAE,” added Fouad Al Hashem.