A petition headlined "Petition to Boycott the Emirates," signed by 87 Muslim clerics, most of them affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), called on Muslims worldwide, primarily the Muslim business community, to boycott the UAE for what the clerics refer to as "its wars for killing Muslims" worldwide. Most of the signatories are Libya-based – among them Libyan Mufti Al-Sadiq Abd-Alrahman Ali Al-Ghariani, who is on several Arab countries' designated terrorist lists, including the UAE's. Others are from Tunisia, Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Mauritania, and some are members of the International Union of Muslims Scholars (IUMS), founded by MB spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
The text of the petition was first published November 8, 2019, without the signatories, on the Facebook page of Libya's Dar Al-Ifta, the ministry in charge of religious rulings that likely launched it. A few days later it was published by the old guard of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt, with the signatories included.
In response, Salafi-jihadi ideologue and prominent Jordanian cleric Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi wrote that he welcomed the call to boycott the UAE because of its crimes against the Muslims. At the same time, however, he criticized the signatories, primarily over their claim that the UAE had acted against what they called "legitimate and just governments," including the MB government of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Al-Maqdisi wrote that the clerics' defining of democratically elected governments whose authority comes from the people and not from Allah and that do not implement shari'a law, as "legitimate" and shari'a compliant, is essentially polytheism. A boycott will not in itself be sufficient, he said, to bring down the government of the UAE or of any other state that fails to operate in accordance with the laws of Allah. He added that the clerics who signed the petition should actually be calling for rebellion and revolution against these governments.
The following is a translation of the main points of the petition and of Al-Maqdisi's reaction to it:
The Clerics' Petition: The UAE Is Responsible For The Killing Of Muslims – Time To Boycott It
"It has not gone unnoticed by anyone that the extent of the UAE's crimes against the Muslims, and its disregard for their lives, is very high. The killed, wounded, uprooted, and migrant who are victims [of the UAE] in Libya and Yemen alone are estimated to number in the millions. Rebuilding these destroyed cities and countries will take decades, and will cost billions that would be better spent on development, construction, and industry so that the residents of these countries, and the Muslims [in general], will be able to live with dignity.
"The UAE and its treasury play both a covert and an overt role in almost every traitorous aggression against the Muslims worldwide. It is against countries, as happened in Egypt in the coup there against the elected president Dr. Mohamed Morsi, may Allah have mercy on him, and as happened in Yemen and Libya. It is also against minorities – as happened to the Muslims in China [i.e. the Uyghurs] and in Kashmir. It buys weapons, equipment, aircraft, and mercenaries, and via them sends violent death to the Muslims and destroys their cities.
"The UAE cannot carry out these crimes and this bloodshed without its massive funds, whose main source is its role as a commercial center – because its oil revenues [alone] do not provide it with the means to sow this unfettered destruction across the world.
"With this money, it kills the Muslims, pays for mercenaries, launches coups against legitimate and just governments, murders the dreams of the Arab peoples that aspire to be rid of repression and tyranny, and plots against the Palestinian resistance and accuses it of terrorism in order to support the Zionists. The source of these funds is the exchequer of the [Muslim] business community, which has established its commercial centers there. The UAE exports goods to other countries, including to the countries against which it is waging wars – thus [in effect] using Muslim funds to kill Muslims.
"Thus, [we,] the clerics [who have signed this petition,] are calling on all the Arabs and Muslims in all the Muslim countries, and on their governments and peoples, to boycott the UAE and to refrain from buying its goods. By the same token, we are calling on the business community that has made the UAE its center of operations to abandon it and boycott its ports. This is because it is this [community's] money that is funding the UAE's wars to kill the Muslims...
"We must do everything possible to weaken the enemy... Economic weapons have always been, and remain, one of the most powerful weapons that do the most harm to the enemy..."
Al-Maqdisi: Boycotting The UAE Is Not Enough – We Need Revolution; The Petition's Signatories Are Siding With Governments That Do Not Implement The Laws Of Allah
A few days after the petition was published, it and its signatories were harshly criticized by Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, primarily for the petition's description of democratically elected governments that do not implement shari'a law as "legitimate" or "sharia compliant."
On his Telegram channel, he wrote: "...There is no doubt that many praiseworthy things were written in the announcement [i.e. the petition], and only those who support the aggression of the UAE tyrants, whose scheming against the Muslims and Islam is well known, would object to it.
"However, three points about this announcement must be raised:
The crime mentioned in the petition is being committed by all [Muslim] tyrants. Most of them collaborate amongst themselves in apostasy, crime, and aggression [against the Muslims]. The failure to include them in the [references to the] plots being carried out by the UAE is a political matter unbefitting Islamic law. This is true even if the UAE heads the list [of perpetrators] and is responsible for most of [these deeds]. Saudi Arabia, for example, is its sister's [i.e. the UAE's] partner, and does no less than it in this regard. Behind them stand all the [Muslim] tyrants, including some whom the signatories praise.
Calling on the peoples to impose an economic and political boycott is not enough to bring down and replace these regimes. Why doesn't the call include revolution and rising up [against the rulers], and why does it refrain from doing so even though this is the real and sharia-compliant solution?... If anyone says, They [the signatories] cannot adopt this dangerous position because they are persecuted sheikhs, we will say, If being persecuted does not permit them to issue this call, then it likewise does not permit them to depict their mistake truth.
The important and main point in my statements about this petition and its signatories concerns their statement that 'with its money [the UAE] launches coups against legitimate and just governments.' Let us take a look at this term 'just,' because this is relative, not a matter of religious law – that is, [these governments] are just in comparison to those that are repressive and dictatorial. But let's talk about what they refer to as 'legitimate governments'... Do they, as clerics, mean that these governments are implementing Allah's laws? Because they really are not – at least not in this announcement [i.e. the petition]. Today, governments [that implement shari'a], particularly those that came to power by taking over according to religious law – that is, jihad, which is the true and religiously correct way to implement the religion of Allah – are called extremist and are condemned by many among the clerics. At the same time, what do these clerics mean when they refer to 'legitimate governments?' They mean governments that are democratically elected at the ballot box – in favor of which, unfortunately, these clerics preach. This is the bitter truth that the believers must acknowledge...
"When clerics use the term 'legitimate,' they [should] mean Allah's law. Religious knowledge, religious law, and monotheism requires this. But if they mean democracy or constitutional legitimacy or international and legal legitimacy [when they use this term] – all these are expressions of polytheism in the modern age...
"Believing Muslims must adhere to the notion that the only regime that can be described as 'shari'a compliant' is one that implements the law of Allah or the divine religious rulings..."