A "Moderate Muslim" - Anwar Ibrahim

by DR. RACHEL EHRENFELD November 24, 2010
On her recent visit to Malaysia, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), at the International Islamic University (IIUM) in Kuala Lupmur. The IIUM’s website clearly states that the reason for the establishment of the university in 1983, “was a fulfillment of one of the major aspirations of the contemporary global Muslim community to regain the leadership of the Ummah.” The university, which is subsidized by the Malaysian government, aspires "To be an international centre of educational excellence which integrates Islamic revealed knowledge and values in all disciplines and which aspires to the restoration of the Ummah's leading role in all branches of knowledge."
 
Mrs. Clinton lauded the country’s “creative approach” to Islamic finance – a Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) invention, and expressed her hopes that Malaysia becomes a “thought leader.”
 
In a press conference hosted by Foreign Minister Anifa Aman, Clinton took the unusual step of siding with opposition leader, and a Muslim Brotherhood activist, Anwar Ibrahim. He is on trial for corruption and sodomy charges, which he claims are politically motivated.
 
Perhaps.
 
But Clinton's announcement that she had raised Ibrahim’s prosecution with the Malaysian government, and that the State Department “raise[s] it on a consistent basis,” should be viewed not merely as the U.S. concern for the rule of law. Clinton's statement should be regarded as a major victory for Anwar Ibrahim. More broadly it is a triumph of the International Muslim Brotherhood, whose ideology both Malaysia and Anwar work hard to advance.
 
 
Who is Anwar Ibrahim?
 
Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who claims to be “the voice of democracy in Malaysia,” was the country’s former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance. He now leads the opposition, and considered by many Westerners to be a leading moderate Muslim intellectual, “the best hope for a more democratic, less corrupt Malaysia.” According to Ian Buruma. Yet, even a cursory examination of Ibrahim’s background reveals that he is an Islamist, dedicated to promote global Islamic rule based on Shari’a Law.
 
Anwar, a radical Muslim student leader in his youth, came to prominence in the early 70’s’ after he founded and led Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), known in English as Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement.
 
Anwar gave a speech about the direction he sought for ABIM, at a 1979 ABIM meeting. "It is our conviction that if all parties concerned are sincere and serious about understanding Islam, its concepts and principles, they will accept Islam as the only practicable and viable alternative to the present order,” he said.
 
To achieve this goal, Anwar proposed that “Schools, especially institutions of higher learning must be encouraged to cultivate the spirit of Islamic universalism to break down the present communal barriers." The speech was published by HARAKAH, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party's (PAS) English publication in 1999.
 
In 1981 Anwar joined the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which always proudly promoted Malay-Muslim rule over all others races in Malaysia. A successful activist, Anwar was elected Leader of UMNO Youth in 1984, and in 1986, became its Vice-President.
 
He served as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1983; Minister of Agriculture in 1984; and Minister of Education in 1986. In the early 90s’ he was appointed Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Although former World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz, credited Anwar with saving Malaysia's economy during the financial crisis of 1997-1998, it was then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's decision to decline the IMF's financial rescue program and peg the ringgit to the US dollar that saved the country from collapse.
 
Shortly afterwards Anwar was arrested and charged with sodomy and corruption. He spent about seven years in prison, until his sodomy charges were overturned in 2004. Throughout this time he maintained his innocence and claimed the charges against him were politically motivated because he questioned UMNO’s policies, including those concerning race. Those familiar with Malaysia’s politics said Anwar attempted to replace the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
 
Anwar led the Opposition Coalition in Malaysia’s 2008 General Election, winning a record number of seats, but not enough to defeat UMNO. Later that year fresh charges of sodomy were proffered against him. These charges are currently before the courts.
 
Anwar and the Muslim Brotherhood
 
Anwar’s long time activities have been acknowledged on December 11, 2005, in an interview to the London based Asharq Al-Awsat, Mohammad Mahdi Akef, former leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, stated:
 
“the Muslim Brotherhood is a global movement whose members cooperate with each other throughout the world, based on the same religious worldview - the spread of Islam, until it rules the world.” [Emphasis added]
 
Despite such statements many in the U.S. and the West regard the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic creed and the many Islamist organizations it spawned, such as al Qaeda and Hamas, as nothing more than social movements. "Islamism is ... but a social movement like any other – communism, nationalism, liberalism, fascism, socialism."
 
The West’s confusion regarding the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood that propelled this global “movement” is illustrated by the following:
 
On the same day that the Financial Times carried the German chancellor Angela Merkel’s warning that her country is facing a major “Islamist terror attack,” the paper published a new warning by al-Qaeda - “a militant organization” - that more cheap parcel bombs “are on the way.” Another headline about Egypt’s “Islamist” reported of growing international criticism of the Egyptian government for cracking down on Muslim Brotherhood candidates, whose slogan is “Islam is the Solution.” Clearly, the FT as other Europeans fail to connect the dots. The Islamists Merkel and the Egyptians are worried about, as well as al Qaeda, believe that Islam is the solution, and they all act sometimes violently, to achieve their goal.
 
Anwar, who claims he is an enlightened Muslim, has provided evidence of the influence that Sayyid Qutb and Maulana Maududi, the radical ideological fathers of the Muslim Brotherhood have had on his understanding of the Quran.
 
Qutab and Maududi also inspired the creation of radical Islamic groups such as al-Qaeda and Hamas, and Islamic charities that use the guise of humanitarian relief to transfer funds to Hamas, al Qaeda, the Chechen mujahedeen, and others. The U.S. recently shut down the activities of the now defunct Oregon branch of the al Haramain Islamic Foundation, and Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), one of the largest Islamic charities in the US. Holy Land Foundation was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2001.
 
In 1999, in prison on previous charges of corruption and sodomy, Ibrahim wrote to Abdul Hamid Abu Sulaiman, former Rector of International Islamic University of Malaysia, and a fellow director of the Virginia based Muslim Brotherhood’s International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
 
In his letter to Sulaiman, Anwar wrote:
 
"I'm trying to keep myself busy--with prayers and du'a, tadarrus and reading…My old copy of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of the Quran is most valuable because of my earlier short notes and references from Ibn Kathir, al-Qurtubi, Sayyid Qutb and Maulana Maududi's tafsirs (interpretations)."
 
When Sulaiman became the Rector of Islamic University of Kuala Lumpur, which houses IIIT’s sister organization, International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), he
 
vigorously started the work of Islamization of Education. Arabic and Fiqh. Islamic Law and Jurisprudence were introduced as compulsory and university requirement courses. The University from the very beginning, took steps to gradually Islamize subject matters of the social science, discipline, and the effort is still on.”
 
In a 2005 ABIM conference in Malaysia, Dr Ahmad Totonji, VP of IIIT’s Administration, praised Anwar’s activity to advance Islamic rule. Totonjii was also co-founder and officer of the Saudi funded, now-defunct Islamic charity, Safa Trust, which had ties to yet another Saudi funded charity, the SAAR Foundation. Both were suspected of funding of al Qaeda.
 
Tontonjii praised Anwar: “We have changed the world. I first came to Malaysia in 1970 and was met by Br Anwar... I am glad to see sisters everywhere in Malaysia today wearing hijab. We have made a better world for Muslims”.
 
He went on to congratulate Anwar for his successful sham to disguise the true nature of his activities. “It was wise not to involve ABIM in the political work, it was wise to keep daawah separate from politics,” said Tontonjii.
 
This calculated effort to disguise the links between the Islamists' activities and their political agenda continue to fool many in the West.  Muslim Brotherhood spawned organizations beginning with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, have successfully used this division of labor to claim deniability.
 
The role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. was laid out inthe May 22, 1991 document, "Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America. This role was described as a "kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all religions."
 
Anwar’s activities on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. date back to 1981, when he became a trustee of the newly establishment IIIT. A 1991 IIIT internal memorandum acknowledged the Muslim Brotherhood as “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The organization had spawned other Islamist groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which have been identified as unindicted coconspirators in the HAMAS financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The IIIT “had been demonstrated by the Justice Department to be an unindicted coconspirator” in that case. According to his own twitter, Anwar last meeting with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood was held in NYC, on October 8, 2010.
 
Not surprisingly, Anwarexcelsat double speak; whilecondoning Jihad and violence as means sometimes necessary to achieve the Ummah, he also talks about the message of love and peace in Islam. This perceived “moderation,” helped place him in 2008 as the 9th World Most Influential people on TIME magazine’s list, before Ben Bernanke (12th), and Robert Gates (14th). In 2009 he dropped to the 124th place. Clinton’s intervention on his behalf could propel Anwar upward, and push his Islamization agenda forward.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is the Director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy. She is an expert on terrorism and corruption-related topics such as terror financing and narco-terrorism. She has helped to change New York state law, when the Libel Terrorism Protection Act (pdf) was passed. Similar laws have been passed in other U.S. states, and a federal law known as the SPEECH ACT which is due to be signed, follows the same principle - that First Amendment guarantees should protect authors and publishers against foreign libel judgments from countries with poor free speech protections.
 

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