Islamic Relief denies terrorism links after being blacklisted by the UAE

The aid charity says its presence on the list of proscribed organisations is a mistake, and that it does not operate in the country

Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief has strongly denied any links to terrorism after being blacklisted in the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE has named the international humanitarian aid and development charity as a terrorist organisation along with two other British Islamic organisations – the think tank the Cordoba Foundation and the Muslim Association of Britain – on a list of more than 80 organisations, groups and associations from around the world including Al Qaeda and Hizbollah.

The Muslim Association of Britain and the Cordoba Foundation also rejected claims that they were linked to terrorism. TCF said it was "no coincidence" that the organisations named had criticised the UAE for violating human rights and oppressing its citizens.

Employees or volunteers of the organisations on the list face arrest if they enter the UAE, and funds passing through its financial system risk being seized, according to a report in The Times newspaper.

In a statement on its website, Islamic Relief said that it was surprised to have been identified as a terrorist organisation. "We abhor terrorism in all its forms, and we categorically refute any allegation of links to terrorism and any such accusations that have been made by the UAE," the statement said.

The charity said that its inclusion on the UAE list was a mistake and that it would be "seeking clarification from the UAE embassy on this matter, with a view to having this wrongful listing removed".

It also states that Islamic Relief works in more than 30 countries but does not have a presence or any programmes in the UAE. The charity, which posted an income of £82.8m in its recent accounts, subscribes to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Codes of conduct, has UN consultative status and membership of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

TCF said in a statement that: "It is no coincidence that groups that have legitimate, acceptable aims, have been placed on to the ‘terrorist’ list, given that all of these groups have criticised the UAE for their lack of observation of human rights, and the violent oppression of their own citizens.

"TCF rejects wholeheartedly any such libellous accusations, and expresses its profound shock that there are those that would seek to designate it as such.

"To list TCF along the likes of Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram is not only a cause for libel but a dangerous precedent, given that groups that espouse extreme violence as a means to realise political goals are listed alongside those who reject such methods as a point of principle in their unshakeable values."

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