A Saudi English newspaper is reporting that Malay opposition politician and global Muslim Brotherhood figure Anwar Ibrahim spoke yesterday in Medina to a Saudi economic forum on the development of a knowledge-based economy. According to the report
Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim yesterday called on Muslim countries to remove obstacles in the way of investments in the development of a knowledge-driven economy. Anwar was speaking on the second day of the three-day Knowledge Economy Forum here.“We urge the development of science because that is what our religion encourages us to do. No society can develop unless it marches forward while keeping pace with global economic and technological advances,” Anwar said, while presenting his paper.Anwar said he hoped Madinah would once more become a world center for knowledge and culture where students could flock.The former deputy prime minister added that impartial application of law and bureaucratic transparency are the factors that attract huge international investments.The Malaysian leader warned against technology becoming the monopoly of a particular group or people.“Technological know-how should be distributed evenly among the poor and the rich, and should not be the property of any particular group,” he said.He said he believes that Saudi Arabia, with its financial resources and unswerving determination, could attract the world’s best brains to become a center of knowledge economy.He also warned against a cultural catastrophe, which may befall several Asian countries because of their negligence in developing their vast human potential in education.“We should not be content with the knowledge of the West or the East. We must acquire knowledge from all sources as long as it doesn’t contradict our religion and traditions,” he said….
Saudi speakers at the forum included Prince Faisal ibn Abdullah, chairman of the Al-Aghar Strategic Think Tank Group and Amr Al-Dabbagh, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
Anwar Ibrahim has had ties to Saudi Arabia since the 1970’s and early 1980’s serving as a trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) where he represented Asian youth. He also helped to found the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) where he currently serves as a director. IIIT also had major links with Saudi Arabia, though the now defunct SAAR Foundation which was funded by the Al-Rajhi banking family of Saudi Arabia. As a previous post reported, Ibrahim gained significant political status in Malaysia following elections in March. He was the Deputy Prime MInister of Malaysia from 1993-1998 until he was jailed by the country’s Prime Minister. Ibrahim has recently established his own website where his biography omits his Islamist background.