Australian media is reporting that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi has issued a letter of support for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on the eve of his announcing the election. According to a report in The Australian:
ONE of the most famous — and controversial — Islamic scholars, Egyptian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has sought to burnish the crucial religious credentials of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on the eve of his announcing the election. Mr Qaradawi had previously been supportive of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim during his visits to Malaysia, but he has realigned himself with the growing tide of international Islamic backing for Mr Najib, following the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Gaza as a guest of Hamas — the first non-Arab leader to travel there. Mr Qaradawi has been refused entry to Britain and France, but his ‘‘Sharia and Life’’ broadcasts on al-Jazeera have reached audiences of 60 million. His return from exile to Egypt in 2011 following the downfall of president Hosni Mubarak has been compared with the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran in 1979. Aged 86, Mr Qaradawi prayed in introducing his letter commending Mr Najib for visiting Gaza that ‘‘Allah may shower his blessings and mercy upon Najib in discharging his responsibilities to pursue the goals of progress, stability and security for the people in Malaysia and worldwide’’. He prayed that ‘‘Malaysia may always be the best place for Muslims and their civilisation’’. He wrote: ‘‘Your visit has nourished the hope of millions of Palestinians who have been seeking freedom for decades. ‘‘For them, Malaysia is recognised as the principal Islamic nation that consistently gives serious attention to supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people.’’ Malaysia and its people, he wrote, are crucial in the struggle for Jerusalem — of which Mr Qaradawi is the chairman of the council of international trustees of the Muslim holy sites. As the UMNO-led coalition that has ruled Malaysia for 55 years has come under increasing pressure, its campaigning thrust has begun to focus more heavily on the two-thirds of the population who are Muslims. Clive Kessler, emeritus social sciences professor of the University of NSW, whose research has focused on Malaysia and Islam, said: ‘‘Najib, until recently seen as ‘the great moderate’, is now finding that his political salvation lies in demonstrating Islamic zeal.’’ Thus the visit to Hamas in Gaza, he said, ‘‘has become Najib’s potentially game-changing trump card. =‘‘If he and UMNO end up winning the electoral game, it will be through a script that was written and a deal that was sealed in Gaza.’’ For UMNO, he said, the nonMalay third of the electorate — chiefly Chinese and Indian — does not feature centrally in its campaign strategy. Instead, he said, its strategy was to dominate the Malay vote, to stigmatise Mr Anwar’s People’s Justice Party and to drive a wedge between the moderates and hardliners in the Islamic PAS party which is allied to the PJP, in the hope of winning Muslim Malays back to the UMNO fold.
A post from earlier this month reported that the Lebanese-based Al-Quds International Institution (QII), closely tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, had praised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his “continuous support of the Palestinian cause” and his visit to the Gaza strip in January.
Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements. A post from August reported that Qaradawi had been included as part of a list of Islamic scholars to be appointed to an Egyptian national board of senior Islamic scholars (Ulema). Al-Azhar is considered to be the main center of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world.