UAE Foreign Minister Says Muslim Brotherhood Must Be Stopped

Gulf Arab countries should work together to stop Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood plotting to undermine governments in the region, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister said yesterday.

The UAE has arrested around 60 local Islamists this year, accusing them of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood – which is banned in the country – and conspiring to overthrow the government.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan

“The Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in the nation state. It does not believe in the sovereignty of the state,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said at joint press conference with the Ukrainian foreign minister.

There were individuals within the Muslim Brotherhood who would be able to use their “prestige and capabilities to violate the sovereignty, laws and rules of other states”, Sheikh Abdullah added.

“We need to communicate to see if there were individuals or organizations who were using these countries,” he said, without naming the countries he was referring to.

The Muslim Brotherhood organization, founded in Egypt in 1928, is seen as a mentor for Islamist groups in the region.

The organization, which has risen to power in Egypt since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, has consistently sought to reassure Gulf Arab states it has no plan to push for political change beyond Egypt’s borders.

President Mohamed Mursi, propelled to power by the Brotherhood, says there is no plan to “export the revolution”.

“Members of the Muslim Brotherhood respect their hosting countries and do not call for bringing down any system of governance in the countries they live in,” Mahmoud Hussein, the Brotherhood’s secretary general, said. The group of around 60 men arrested in the UAE this year belonged to the local Islamist group Al Islah.

Last month, local media reported that some of those detained had confessed that their organization was running an armed wing and had been plotting to take power and establish an Islamist state. Al Islah has since denied this.

The reports also said the group was co-ordinating with Brotherhood organisations in three other Gulf Arab countries, and that they had recently received up to Dh10mn from a counterpart in another Gulf Arab country.

Al Islah says it shares a similar ideology with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt but has no direct links and is pushing for only peaceful reforms.

Dubai’s outspoken police chief Dhahi Khalfan said in March there was an “international plot” against Gulf states by the Muslim Brotherhood organization

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