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Distinguished activist quits UAE ‘peace’ forum over deal with Israel

In this file picture, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, addresses academics and religious leaders at the opening session of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (FPPMS) conference in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on March 9, 2014. (Photo by AFP)

A distinguished Muslim American activist has quit the so-called Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (FPPMS) based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), denouncing the organization for a “breach of trust” after it issued a statement with her name attached to it endorsing an Israeli-Emirati normalization deal.

Aisha al-Adawiya, the founder of the human rights group Women in Islam, disclaimed the FPPMS’ statement, which supported the deal in a Facebook post, and stressed her firm support for the Palestinian nation.

Adawiya said the topic of normalization was never brought up at a recent board meeting, underlining that “there was no agreement on any kind of support for the UAE’s deal with Israel.”

“As a result of this breach of trust and consistent with my values, I am announcing my resignation,” she pointed out.

Last week, FPPMS hailed the UAE-Israel deal, claiming it “stopped Israel from extending its sovereignty over Palestinian lands” and was a means to “promote peace and stability across the world.”

The organization then removed the statement from its platforms after being roundly criticized.

Hamza Yusuf, vice-president at FPPMS, also denied any knowledge of the statement.

Yusuf, the head of Zaytuna College in California, said he did “not engage in or endorse geopolitical strategies or treaties.”

“My allegiance is and has always been with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, whether Muslim, Christian, or otherwise,” he said in a statement on Facebook

Moreover, Abdullah al-Matouq, an adviser to Kuwait's royal court and a member of the forum, also distanced himself from the statement.

“I attended the aforementioned meeting as a member of the forum's board of trustees. No political initiatives regarding the Palestinian issue were discussed or mentioned on the agenda,” he said.

Sheikh Ahmed Heloyel, the former Jordanian grand religious judge and a member of the forum, also said he did not know anything about the statement.

He reiterated his support for the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.

The FPPMS was established in 2014 in the UAE, and purportedly focuses on promoting peace and justice in the Muslim world. It is headed by the former Mauritanian politician and professor of Islamic studies, Abdallah bin Bayyah.

Under the agreement between Israel and the UAE, the Tel Aviv regime has allegedly agreed to "temporarily" suspend applying its own rule to further areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to annex.

While Emirati officials have described the normalization deal with the Tel Aviv regime as a successful means to stave off annexation and save the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli leaders lined up last week to reject UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s bluff that Israel's annexation plans were off the table.

A senior Israeli source also said the administration of US President Donald Trump had requested to temporarily suspend the announcement of annexations "to first implement the historic peace agreement with the UAE.”

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