French author George Malbrunot says Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, places the fight against Islamic organizations at the top of its priorities while tolerating religions other than Islam, including Catholicism, which made Pope Francesco visit it.
The war on “radical Islam”, especially political Islam, has become an obsession in Abu Dhabi, Malbrunot said in an article published in the Le Figaro newspaper. The UAE did not only put the organization of the Islamic state, al-Qaeda and Lebanese Hezbollah to its blacklist of terrorism, it also put The French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the former Union of Islamic Organizations in France, which became known as French Muslims.
He notes that Abu Dhabi considers all strikes are permissible in this war against the Islamists.
Abu Dhabi, which declared 2019 the year of tolerance, also prevented Qatari fans from attending the final of the Asian Cup, which Qatar has won, a move that is highly intolerant, according to many Internet users in their criticism of the UAE.
Malbrunot adds that foreign workers in the UAE – unlike Saudi Arabia – if they could practice the Catholic religion, the authorities control their religious practices and suppress any political protest or exploitation of religion.
“We interfere in Friday sermons for the public interest and to avoid the spread of the hate speech we have seen in many countries, including Europe,” Emirati official told the author.
He adds that in a country where the citizens are strictly and secretly watched, the intelligence charges any person of being an enemy, allows the authorities to practice suppress beyond reasonable limits. For example, the UAE jailed a British researcher for four months before pardoning him at the end of last year.
Malbrunot says the UAE looks like a country sharing some values with the West, such as interfaith dialogue, which the pope is attending Monday with the sheik of Al-Azhar Mosque.
The writer notes that the attendance of Sheikh Al-Azhar is no coincidence because Abu Dhabi supports Egypt under the leadership of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi politically and financially in its war against the Islamists.
He pointed out that the UAE was the first Arab country to reopen its embassy with the Syrian regime in late December. He added that Abu Dhabi did not intend to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the emergence of democracy, but its obsession was to expel Muslim Brotherhood.