Palestinian media is reporting that Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal (aka Mishaal) arrived in the capital of Malaysia earlier this week in order to attend the annual conference of the United Malays National Organisation (UNMO), Malaysia’s largest political party and the longest continuing ruling party in the world. According to an Alresalah Press report:
December 1, 2013 Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khalid Mishaal, on Sunday, arrived in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, to attend the annual conference of the UMNO political. The Hamas delegation encompasses senior leaders of the Islamic movement such as Mohamed Nasr, Sami Khater and Osama Hamdan.
A senior source of Hamas told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that Mishaal is due to meet with the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Razak, the Secretary General of the UMNO party, Gov. Seri Mansur , and a number of other political leaders in the country.
He stated that Mishaal will deliver a speech on Tuesday at the International Forum, which will be hosted by the UNNO party, ahead of the opening session of the annual general conference. Then he will deliver a speech at the International Islamic University-Malaysia, which includes students from more than 100 nationalities, including Palestinians.
This is the first official visit to Malaysia, done by the head of the political bureau of Hamas, which is an indication of the level of development of the relationship between movement and Malaysia. The Prime Minister of Malaysia visited Gaza in January 2013 to help break the siege, imposed on the Gaza Strip.
The International Islamic University-Malaysia has long been part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood network. In 2008, we reported that Dr. AbdulHamid AbuSulayman, one of the most important figures in the history of the global Muslim Brotherhood, was a guest of honor at the 25th anniversary celebration of the International Islamic University Malaysia where he was rector from 1989-1999.
According to a BBC profile, Mr. Meshaal (aka Khaled Mishal) joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971:
“Mr Meshaal was born in 1956 in the village of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Meshaal has been increasingly important since Sheikh Yassin died. His father, like many other Palestinians, travelled to the Gulf emirate of Kuwait in the 1960s for work. His family followed after the area fell under Israeli occupation in 1967.At school, Mr Meshaal became involved in Palestinian and Islamic activism. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971. Mr Meshaal continued to take interest political Islam while studying physics at Kuwait University and he founded a student organisation called the List of the Islamic Right. After graduating in 1978, he spent a number of years teaching physics in Kuwait. In 1987, Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Gaza founded the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in response to a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation. Mr Meshaal became increasingly involved with Hamas over the next few years, leading what was known as the Kuwait contingent of Palestinians who lived and worked there.
Read the rest here.
A 2009 book review provides further detail on Mr. Meshaal’s early activities in the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite characterizations of Meshaal as a “relative moderate” in October 2012 Meshaal gave a speech in Cairo in which said that “Nothing will restore the homeland but jihad, the rifle, and self-sacrifice” and that Zionists are the enemies of Allah and of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and Abraham – the enemies of the Prophets, of the Messengers, of values, and of morality.’ In December 2012 Meshaal reiterated his call for the complete destruction of Israel during his first ever visit to Gaza in honor of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas. In March, we reported that Hamas had re-elected Khaled Meshaal as the head of its political bureau. In September 2012, Reuters reported reported that Meshaal had decided to step down from his position as head of the Hamas political leadership. In October 2013, the GMBDW reported that Meshaal) had paid what was described as a “surprise visit” to Ankara in order to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.