The United Arab Emirates, UAE, has designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, echoing a similar step by regional allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the local media reported on Sunday.
The designation was part of a blacklist officially released naming over 80 Jihadist and Islamist groups in the UAE, the Arab region and other parts of the world.
The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt’s largest political organisation and produced democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi who was controversially removed in a military coup by current Egyptian leader, Abdulfatah al-Sisi.
However, in a reaction, Yemen’s Shiite rebel, Houthi movement, which was also included in the banned list, denounced the move as an expression of unjustified hate.
“This decision serves the policy of dividing Arab people to serve the West’s interests.
“It expresses unjustified hate to the Yemeni people,’’ Mohammed al-Bakheiti, a member of the Houthi group, said.
In recent months, the Houthis have expanded from their stronghold in Yemen’s far north, capturing the capital Sana’a and areas in mostly Sunni central and northern Yemen.
Last week, the UN Security Council ordered a global travel ban and an asset freeze on two Houthi commanders and former president Ali Abdullah, accusing them of destabilising the country.
Meanwhile, the Arab League head, Nabil al-Arabi, welcomed UAE’s move.
“We back this decision in view of the wave of terrorism in the region,” al-Arabi said.
The list was approved by the UAE government in line with anti-terrorism laws issued in August.
It banned the militant Islamic State group, which controlled large areas in Iraq and Syria.
Meanwhile, the list also included al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates.
According to the report, Islamist organisations in Britain, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Serbia and the U.S. were also listed.
It said in recent months, UAE authorities have jailed dozens of local Islamists after convicting them of setting up a subsidiary of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The report added that in March, Saudi Arabia branded the Muslim Brotherhood along with other regional Islamist groups as terrorist organisations.
In December, the Egyptian government declared the influential Islamist group a terrorist organisation, blaming it for a wave of deadly attacks in the country since Mr. Morsi’s overthrow.
However, the Brotherhood has repeatedly denied links to unrest, insisting that its anti-government protests are peaceful, and calling for the re-instatement of Mr. Morsi, who like thousands of other Egyptians, politicians, and journalists has been imprisoned by the current government.