UAE charges 41 ISIL suspects with attempting to ‘establish a caliphate’

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United Arab Emirates will hold a mass trial for 41 suspects accused of attempting to overthrow the government and set up an Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)-type caliphate.

UAE judicial center in Abu Dhabi.
UAE judicial center in Abu Dhabi.

Prosecutors said on Aug. 2 that the suspects, who include Emiratis as well as foreigners, are accused of setting up a group “with a terrorist, takfiri (Sunni Muslim extremist) ideology,” in a bid to “seize power and establish a caliphate.”

The suspects are accused of setting up terror cells to train potential jihadists in the handling of weapons and manufacture of explosives in preparation for attacks on UAE soil.

UAE held a similar mass trial in 2013, when 60 people were sentenced to jail terms of between seven and 15 years for links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist group by the country.

The UAE is cracking down on “takfiri groups” with harsh prison terms and even execution for crimes linked to religious hatred. Takfiri, the ideology of ISIL and Al Qaida, regards Muslims who do not follow their interpretation of Islam as apostates who should be put to death.

Last month, UAE executed Alaa Bader al-Hashemi for the December murder of American teacher Ibolya Ryan. It was the first execution in the Emirates since 2006.

UAE remains a key Western ally and is participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

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