Twitter has been aflutter the past few days over news that several individuals had their UAE citizenship revoked.
The Financial Times correspondent in Dubai has an English report out today in which he interviews a daughter of one of those now-former UAE citizens who tells him “They did not give a reason, but maybe they did this because the seven are from Islah”. Islah is widely believed to be the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation in the Gulf.
In fact Islah has come out with an Arabic statement calling on the President of the UAE to reverse his decision. Islah's statement blames the UAE Security Agency for the decision demanding that the "cancerous" elements be removed from the agency so that the UAE "doesn't suffer the fate of other (Arab) countries where revolutions have occurred".
Additionally, Al Hewar, a London based satellite channel known to host dissidents from the Gulf states interviewed Mohammed Abdul Razaq Al Siddique, one of those included in the decisions who tells the channel that "there was no reason behind the decision" and that "it didn't follow the UAE laws." Al Siddique tells the channel that "these are all prominent individuals" and recounts their jobs.
The London based website Middle East online published an article a few days ago saying that these individuals were of Iranian origin. The website said that Mohammed Abdul Razaq Al Siddique "deliberately omitted to mention his Iranian background in the (Hewar) TV interview". (link via Nasser Al Shaikh) Most of the Arabic commentaries were supportive of the government decision (which was up to that point not official yet). However some comments targeted Shias in general which is a worrying phenomenon we've seen in other Gulf states and that I had warned against here recently.
The online Kuwaiti newspaper Sabr published an article titled "UAE reformists call for help: We stood against the regime and lost our citizenships".
Finally this morning the UAE's official news agency WAM issued a statement on the revocation of citizenship "for committing acts posing threat to the State's security and safety". The statement mentions the names and the dates of the "granting" citizenship in the 1970's and 1980's which means that they weren't born UAE citizens. One point is as yet unclear, media reports that seven people had their citizenship withdrawn, however the official press release mentions six only.
The UAE had also withdrawn citizenship from a Gulf national in 2002 after forging documents. However the decree had come from the Ministry of Interior not the President as in the latest case. Interestingly the unnamed gentleman had taken his case to the Surpreme Court (although he lost the case in 2011). It is unclear if the six mentioned individuals will also have recourse to the Supreme Court.
This article I wrote on the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf may provide further insight