Muslim Brotherhood in UAE ‘recruited members as young as 13’

Mohammed N Al Khan
November 21, 2013  |  The National

DUBAI // The Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated schools and universities and was recruiting children as young as 13, a new documentary has revealed.

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The first film of the two-part The Road to July 2nd – Revealing the Truth of the UAE Secret Organisation Trial was previewed in Dubai on Thursday.

Launched by the human-rights group the International Gulf Organisation (IGO), it follows the trial of 30 people accused of running a branch of the Brotherhood in the UAE.

An interview with university student Naif Al Shehi, a former member recruited at the age of 13, features heavily in the documentary, which left many of the Emiratis at the screening shocked and emotional.

“It started with just football matches and field trips. Nothing seemed unusual at first,” explains Mr Al Shehi.

“But after a while the secret night meetings began and instructions to keep what we do secret from everyone, even our parents.”

He describes a field trip in which children were given large pipes and told to pretend they were grenade launchers.

The film also shows plans, sourced from former members, to take over military compounds.

“We tried to show the absolute truth of the secret organisation case from the day the accused were arrested to the first trial session, up until the passing of the judgment on July 2,” said Dr Ali Al Jabiri, the documentary’s director.

“We used numerous documents of members who were part of the secret organisation, confessions duly signed by the accused themselves and video clips recorded by members of the secret organisation.

“All of the records used in the film were part of the evidence included in the case files, which we were able to obtain.”

The opening is an introduction to how the secret organisation was founded, how it emerged in the UAE and its activities in the years until its members were arrested and put on trial.

Part two of the documentary will focus on what happened during the trial at the Federal Supreme Court by using statements, evidence, documents and confessions from suspects and witnesses.

“The Government’s perspective has not been shown in this movie; we have only used statements made by the witnesses regarding the secret organisation,” Dr Al Jabiri said.

“We wanted to ensure that all the concerned parties had absolute freedom to make statements without any restrictions.

“We tried to get in touch with defendants who had fled the country and the families of other defendants. However, most of them refused to be a part of the film.”

He said families began to come forward after news of the film spread.

“Just yesterday we interviewed the mother of one of the accused,” Dr Al Jabiri said.

Established by a group of Emirati lawyers in Geneva last year, the IGO aims to promote adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

“We organise events and activities that support and raise awareness of individuals, educators and relevant organisations on promotion and adoption of UDHR,” said Mansoor Lootah, IGO’s president.

IGO aims to enhance and improve human rights conditions in Arabian Gulf countries by educating people and raising awareness, said Mr Lootah.

“In the film we do not act as investigators, judges or lawyers,” he said. “We have only revealed the truth because only the truth can refute all slander, allegations and falsehood.

“In the film, we highlight all aspects of the case which raised public concern in the UAE and abroad.”

The first part of the documentary will air on Al Arabiya TV at the end of the month, with the second instalment due to be shown the following week.

The complete film will then be made available to UAE TV and several Arabic channels.

“We are currently negotiating with European channels to broadcast the film in Swedish, French and English languages,” added Dr Al Jabiri.

malkhan@thenational.ae

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