Viewing cable 03ABUDHABI2715
Title: UAE FIRST LADY SPEARHEADS CAMPAIGN TO CLEAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUDHABI27152003-06-07 11:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
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Diana T Fritz  03/21/2007 05:45:03 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Search Results

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CONFIDENTIAL

SIPDIS
TELEGRAM                                            June 07, 2003


To:       No Action Addressee                                    

Action:   Unknown                                                

From:     AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI 2715 - PRIORITY)        

TAGS:     PREL, PGOV                                             

Captions: None                                                   

Subject:  UAE FIRST LADY SPEARHEADS CAMPAIGN TO CLEAN          UP
           THE MOSQUES, LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY               

Ref:      None                                                   
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C O N F I D E N T I A L        ABU DHABI 02715

SIPDIS
CXABU:
    ACTION: POL 
    INFO:   P/M ECON RSO AMB DCM 

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB: MMWAHBA
DRAFTED: POL: STW/MM
CLEARED: A/DCM: TEWILLIAMS

VZCZCADI467
PP RUEHC RUEHZM RUEHDE
DE RUEHAD #2715/01 1581138
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071138Z JUN 03
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0290
INFO RUEHZM/GCC COLLECTIVE
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 3173
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 002715 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/04/08 
TAGS: PREL PGOV TC
SUBJECT: UAE FIRST LADY SPEARHEADS CAMPAIGN TO CLEAN 
         UP THE MOSQUES, LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY 
 
 
¶1.  (U) Classified by Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba for 
reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
¶2.  (C) SUMMARY:  UAE First Lady Shaykha Fatima Bint 
Mubarak briefed the Ambassador on her personally- 
designed campaign to literally and figuratively clean 
up the UAE's many mosques.  With her customary 
extraordinary attention to detail, Fatima has arranged 
everything from the provision of refrigerators to the 
need to lock the mosques after the day's last prayers 
so as to keep troublemakers from spending the night 
and turning mosques into their safehavens.  The 
campaign, which includes the participation of Al-Azhar 
notables, also features evening lessons at mosques, 
Quran memorization courses and the establishment of a 
one-year training course on oratory skills for imams. 
Since the wrenching events of 9/11, Fatima has taken a 
personal interest in the negative influence of 
fundamentalism in the UAE.  She has worked closely 
with her sons, particularly State Security Director 
Hazza, to monitor the country's mosques, schools and 
judicial system.  In so doing, she has earned herself 
some internal enemies and told the Ambassador she has 
been the target of at least one smear campaign in an 
Arabic-language paper published in the U.S.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS 
-------------------------------- 
 
¶3. (C) On 5/30, the UAEG launched a week-long mosque 
construction/renovation and religious education 
campaign throughout the country's seven emirates.  The 
campaign, titled "Construction of Houses of God 
Symbolizes Faith and Civilization," was spearheaded by 
UAE First Lady Shaykha Fatima Bint Mubarak, wife of 
President Zayid.  In a 6/3 private meeting with the 
Ambassador Shaykha Fatima shared that the campaign had 
been her personal initiative, i.e. not instigated by 
one of her six sons, aka the Bani Fatima -- Chief of 
Staff Muhammad, MFA Minstate Hamdan, State Security 
Director Hazza, Presidential Court Director Mansour, 
Infomin Abdullah or Zayid's Private Department Head 
Tahnoun, who represent a formidable decision-making 
clique. 
 
¶4. (c) The UAE First Lady spoke with evident pride 
about the campaign's success, noting it was designed 
to improve "performance" at the mosques and included 
the participation of four imams from Cairo's 
prestigious Al-Azhar University.  Fatima wanted the 
campaign to emphasize the need for cleanliness and 
security in the UAE's houses of Muslim worship.  For 
instance, she ordered the installation of refrigerated 
units at each mosque to provide cold water and 
instructed that the areas for washing before prayers 
be kept clean and the mosques be closed and locked 
after the last evening prayer until the next morning's 
prayer to ensure that no "trouble makers" camp out. 
Fatima noted to the Ambassador that undesirables had 
made a habit of spending the night at mosques and 
turning them into safehavens.  Fatima told the 
Ambassador that her next goal is to clean up the 
municipalities; for instance, she wants to replace 
open garbage cannisters -- which pose a health and 
security hazard (as people can place dangerous 
objects, i.e. explosives) into them -- with closed 
bins. 
 
HELPING MUSLIMS BETTER UNDERSTAND ISLAM A KEY GOAL 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
¶5.  (U) According to local press reports, the campaign 
will include the construction and renovation of 
mosques and an "activation" of their role in society 
through religious education.  The UAEG opened two bank 
accounts to receive donations in support of mosque 
construction and renovation.  The religious education 
campaign will be carried out through Friday sermons, 
evening lessons at mosques, Islamic lectures and 
seminars aimed at helping Muslims better understand 
Islam, new Holy Quran memorization courses at 350 
Islamic centers, and the distribution of more than 
40,000 copies of the Holy Quran.  The Ras Al Khaimah 
Department of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf also announced 
a one-year training course on oratory skills for 166 
imams to help increase their knowledge of Islam. 
 
COMMENT:  FATIMA'S INFLUENCE FAR REACHING 
----------------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (C) Fatima has been a key behind-the-scenes player 
in UAE decision-making circles, particularly since the 
wrenching events of 9/11 and the shattering revelation 
that two Emiratis were among the 19 hijackers.  She 
was among the first UAE leaders to emphasize the need 
to assess the impact of extremist thought on UAE 
society.  Fatima carefully tracked the leadership's 
appraisal of the fundamentalist threat, guiding her 
son Hazza to look at the country's mosques and 
education and judicial systems.  She used her personal 
relationships with the northern emirates' rulers and 
their wives to obtain their buy-in of Hazza's actions 
in their territories.  The results have included the 
unprecedented sidelining of at least 150 individuals, 
all of them Emiratis, who were deemed to have 
fundamentalist tendencies.  Fatima's latest campaign 
is very much in keeping with the UAEG's decision to 
maintain tight control over the country's 500 mosques. 
This means that no detail is left unaddressed by the 
First Lady -- from the temperature of the water served 
to parishioner to the contents of books distributed as 
part of religious education. 
 
WAHBA