Malaysian media reported earlier this month that Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders Anwar Ibrahim and Mustafa Ceric had visited Pope Francis where they were said to have discussed religious persecution. According to a report in the Malaysia Chronicle:
October 9, 2013 KUALA LUMPUR – Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim described his recent meeting with Pope Francis as meaningful, praising the head of the Vatican as an enlightened force representing the new voice of the papacy.
The 66-year-old Anwar also brought home a message of peace from Pope Francis, who was elected by the papal conclave earlier this year following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
“The meeting was to me quite meaningful because Pope Francis represents the new voice of the papacy, a lot of compassion and care particularly for the poor and reduces the paraphernalia of officialdom,” Anwar told a press conference on Wednesday.
“I remember when we were commenting on the Syrian crisis, about destruction of churches, which we must all condemn, he took great pains to remind the Christians to show enough compassion to the million of Muslims who are now victims of the gross injustice in Syria.
“So I am of course very fortunate to have that meeting with and t I took the opp to th him and he respkinded by saying he was praying for peace and for the welfare of Christians and Muslims in Malaysia and that there would be religious harmony in the country. And I said it is our common duty to ensure that happens.”
The Malaysian leader had met the Pope on October 1.
Anwar was invited by the Sant Egidio committee which organises international annual dialogues between Muslims , Christians and members of other faiths.
Also present was the Grand Mufti of Eygpt Shawky Alam and former Bosnian Mufti Mustafa Ceric.
Anwar said the dialogue was conducted in a free and open environment, where all had condemned the violence against the Muslims in Egypt and Syria, while firmly promoting religious freedom without persecution.
Anwar Ibrahim is a Malaysian politician and leader of the opposition PKE Party (People’s Justice Party). Ibrahim was a Deputy Prime Minister in Malaysia under Mahathir bin Mohamad but following increasingly discord between the two men, Ibrahim was accused and convicted of sodomy in 1998 and was jailed until the verdict was over turned in 2004 and he was released from prison. He was re-arrested on the same charges in 2008 but acquitted in 2012 after a two-year trial. Ibrahim has many known ties to the global U.S Muslim Brotherhood including helping to found the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) where he currently serves as a director, serving as a trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) during the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and appearances at numerous Brotherhood-linked conferences. In 2011, he was a participant in the 2011 U.S.-Islamic World Forum, held in the US for the first time and which included a large number of individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood as well as their supporters. Media coverage on Ibrahim generally ignores this history which may be explained by a 2008 article from the Malaysian media on how Ibrahim has reinvented himself. In April the GMBDW reported that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi had written a letter endorsing Mr. Ibrahim for Prime Minister of Malaysia. Earlier this month, the GMBDW reported that Anwar Ibrahim had written an article for the Malaysian media in support of a recent report on Islamophobia issued by the US Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Dr. Mustafa Ceric held the position of Chief Mufti of the Bosnian Islamic Community for almost 19 years but was replaced in September 2012 by the Mufti of the northeast Bosnian town of Tuzla, Husein Effendi Kavazovic. Bosnian media reported in December on the controversy surrounding the selection of Dr. Ceric as head of the newly established World Bosniak Congress seen by critics within the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina [IZBiH] as “Ceric’s vanity project.”Considered by some to be a leading “liberal” Islamic leader, Dr. Ceric is tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by global Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and by his participation in the UK-based Radical Middle Way comprised of a wide range of associated scholars representing the global Muslim Brotherhood.” In November 2012, the World Association of Muslim Scholars (aka International Union of Muslim Scholars), headed by Youssef Qaradawi, was expected to send a delegation to the Gaza Strip that included Dr. Ceric who is known to be a member of the IUMS. Recent statements by Dr. Ceric put him at odds with Qaradawi and some of his religious rulings and Dr. Ceric has also participated in Holocaust remembrance events which would also seem to conflict with Qaradawi’s Holocaust denial/minimization. However it should be remembered that Dr. Ceric has seen increasing visibility and importance and that Ceric sees himself as a possible future leader of a “European Islam.” It maybe that these actions may be designed to win greater acceptance for Dr. Ceric by European leaders while at the same time preserving his connection to Qaradawi by remaining part of the ECFR.