Sunday, 26-Oct-2003 2:50 PM
RESPONSE OF DATO’ SERI ANWAR
IBRAHIM TO THE ATTEMPT TO CONNECT HIM TO THE “AL-QAEDA TERRORISTS”
(This statement was issued
via Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer who visited him at Sungai Buloh Prison
on Saturday, 25 October 2003, and read our by his wife, Dr Wan Azizah
Wan Ismail in a press conference at their home on Sunday, 26 October
I strongly condemn the deception
and malicious slander of the state-controlled media against
me, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and the
International Free Anwar Campaign (IFAC), with the mainstream National
Front media being made use of to help promote the agenda of a small
group of anti-Islam organizations.
Wan Azizah reading out Anwar Ibrahim's statement. Please
click picture for bigger view.
My enemies have created false accusations through
which to attack me, IIIT and IFAC, attempting to connect me to al-Qaeda
terrorists. They are in fact merely repeating old stories created
by a minor Washington-based research outfit, which is known to be
anti-Islam and which has condemned just about every Islamic organization
in the United States as being involved with Al Qaeda or terrorism
It is scandalous that a national
leader and the local media, which only a few days ago berated the
Jews and the Western press, now allow themselves to be exploited
by a group of Washington-based anti-Islam organizations such as
for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) in order to denigrate
IIIT, IFAC and my family. Behaviour such as this reveals the true
attitude of UMNO leaders towards Islam.
A similar attempt to connect
me to terrorism was made last year (February 2002), when the cooperation
of an American Muslim missionary, Shaykh
Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, was secured by UMNO leaders to make
allegations that I was funding a shady Islamic organization. Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at one time repeated Shaykh Kabbani’s
original claim that I had transferred millions of ringgit to a group
of terrorists and Islamic radicals in America. Shaykh Kabbani himself
later denied that he had ever made such an allegation.
IIIT was founded by the late
Islamic thinker Professor Dr. Ismail Faruqi together with Sheikh
Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Dr. Abdul Hamid Sulayman, former Rector of
the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and me,
in 1980. Sheikh Taha Jabir is a world-renowned scholar of the traditional
school, and is one of the founders of the Centre for Studies of
Islam and Democracy which is based in Washington DC.
IIIT has published books and
journals and organized various seminars to foster Islamic thought
which is development-oriented, pro-democracy and human rights, and
aims to formulate strategies to enable Muslims to play an active
role in modern society. The other founders of IIIT comprise religious
and other scholars of high repute, who hold clear views opposing
terrorism and promoting inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue.
The late Ismail Faruqi was a professor of Islam at Temple University
in the US, and was one of the best-known scholars of Islam not only
in the US but throughout the world, and his ideas were taken up
by many world leaders.
Several academic discourses
and conferences were held in Malaysia, including at the invitation
of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. IIIT has
been active in producing academic publications on contemporary Islam,
including the Journal of Islamic Social Sciences.
We have been informed that
before this the SAFAR Trust as well as the Heritage Education Trust,
an investment agency of IIIT, have taken legal
action against Rita Katz (executive director of SITE), and against
SITE itself for defamation.
It is obvious that the state-controlled media’s
objective, in disseminating accusations by such anti-Islam organizations
in order to sully the good name of IIIT, is simply to fulfil the
narrow political agenda of national leaders. This is no more than
a continuation of their malicious propaganda which earlier painted
me as a CIA agent, with certain groups labeling me as pro-America
and the CIA. Since this earlier attempt met with failure they are
trying a new line: that I support Al-Qaeda.
With regard to ABRAR, the relevant
authorities should also refer to Tan Sri Nor Mohammad Yaacob, the
Prime Minister’s Financial Advisor, who, at the time in question,
was the Senior Advisor to the ABRAR Group International as well
as managing director of ABRAR Corporation Berhad, together with
Dr. Wan Hasni and Abdul Rahim Ghouse. ABRAR Group International
is now under the ownership of DANAHARTA.
At the same time, the Ministry
of Home Affairs should explain how Sheikh Yassin al-Qadi came to
be given Permanent Resident status in this country.
I strenuously deny that either
I, IIIT or IFAC have any connection to terrorist activities. The
Malaysian authorities, especially the Police, should immediately
investigate this matter, transparently and fairly, in order to restore
the good reputation of IIIT. I challenge the government to urgently
investigate these allegations and to make their findings public.
This BN media campaign in fact
strengthens my argument all this while, that the “terrorist” label
will continue to be used by autocratic leaders to oppress the opposition
and any critics of the government. We are now working towards initiating
legal proceedings against SITE in Washington, against SBS TV in
Australia, and against the local media which has played a role in
disseminating the latest allegations.
In connection with IIIT’s award
of a scholarship to my daughter Nurul Izzah, I would like to state
that Muslims in America made a special donation to sponsor the education
of all six of my children during the five years that I have been
I believe that the media strategy
is to make a big thing out of these false accusations in an attempt
to confuse Malaysians. The authorities will issue a statement to
the effect that investigations are be initiated, and the matter
will quietly end there since their aim of arousing the people’s
suspicions will have already been achieved.
Sungai Buloh Prison
25 October 2003