Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Anwar, Islam, Democracy: Ideology & Funds


Questions on ideology were the main factors for Professor Dr Chandra Muzaffar’s resignation as the Deputy President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and his leaving the party in 2001.

It all began with an article in TIME magazine dated October 15 2001 written by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The article, ‘Who Hijacked Islam?” changed Dr Chandra’s stand, persuading him to retract his support.

“I remember an incident after the September 11 attack…he (Anwar) wrote in TIME magazine…we were very disappointed with what he wrote. It was as if he sided with the Americans without giving any thoughts to issues pertaining to global equality…it was as if he blamed the Muslims at that time.

“It happened in October 2001…I left the party in December of that year, three months after the revelation in the article published in TIME magazine.

“Reading the article I could sense his stand and tendencies…I could see that he was willing to be the puppet of the Zionists,” said Dr Chandra.

According to Dr Chandra, based on the article, he poured out his disappointment and frustrations when he met Anwar, but the de facto PKR leader denied that he ever wrote the article. His excuse was that he was still languishing in Sungai Buloh Prison when the article was published.

It was a denial that Dr Chandra could not accept, because the article clearly carried Anwar Ibrahim’s name.

Like the Wall Street journal case relating to the security of Israel, TIME magazine, too, accepted responsibility when it published the article written by Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Chandra realised that in the TIME magazine article Anwar was not telling the truth – it eventually led to his (Dr Chandra) resignation from Keadilan and his leaving Anwar.

About 10 years later, when Anwar spoke at the “International Meeting of Prayer for Peace”, in Munich, Germany, when he said he wrote the piece for TIME magazine, it confirmed that his denying to Dr Chandra earlier was a lie.

“Exactly 10 years ago today, when I was still in solitary incarceration in the federal prison, guards rushed to my cell shouting “they have bombed the building! It was a big explosion…the plane was hijacked...I was cut-off from any print and electronic media, so I could not imagine the situation that occurred on September 11 2001.

“However, three days later when someone smuggled in a copy of the 12th September newspaper, I discovered to my utter horror the carnage and destruction wreaked by the September 11th attacks.

“Within a week I managed to despatch an article to TIME magazine condemning the attack and calling for calm and sanity to prevail fearing naturally that this event would unleash reprisals and a new tide of hostility towards Islam and Muslims.

Who Hijacked Islam? Revelation of Anwar’s principles

“Who Hijacked Islam?” – It was an article that aptly underscored the orientation of the propaganda during that time, when the US accused that the planes were ‘hijacked’ by Islamists who were wholly responsible for the massive destruction and deaths at the World Trade Centre (WTC) in New York.

“This is what Mohammed Atta and his fellow terrorists and sponsors have done to Islam and its community worldwide by their murder of innocents at the World Trade Center in New York and the Defense Department in Washington,” said Anwar.

Besides Mohammed Atta, Anwar made other accusations that went along with the policy lines of the US at that time in putting the blame on Osama bin Laden, who was described as the actual person behind the attacks.

“One wonders how, in the 21st century, the Muslim world could have produced an Osama bin Laden… uses his personal fortune to sponsor terror and murder, not learning or creativity, and to wreak destruction rather than promote creation, “he said.

Anwar said Afghanistan's descent into chaos and anarchy as a result of the Soviet invasion and the subsequent rise of the Taliban, and the suffering inflicted on the Muslim masses in Iraq by its dictator as well as by sanctions imposed on that long-suffering nation.

As a conclusion, Anwar postulatedthe solution that was of greatest urgency was the effort to inculcate an intellectual and political orientation that promoted democracy and openness.

“The growth of democracy, political participation and civil society is the final answer… For more than 100 years, the Muslim world has had to grapple with the problem of modernity…

“Of greatest urgency is the effort to inculcate an intellectual and political orientation that promotes democracy and openness…

“Intellectuals and politicians must have the courage to condemn fanaticism in all its forms. But they must, in the same breath, equally condemn the tyrants and oppressive regimes that dash every hope of peaceful change,” he said.

Two Muslim Personalities Helping to Shape view of Islam – Wolfowitz

According to Dr Chandra, as expected Anwar’s message in TIME magazine was partisan to the West, and this was confirmed by New York Times journalist, Peter J. Boyer in his article “The Believer Paul Wolfowitz Defends his War”, which was published in The New Yorker on November 1 2004.

In the article, Boyer said Anwar’s piece in TIME magazine was among the factors that persuaded former US Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz to visit Anwar in Munich, Germany.

“En route to Poland, Wolfowitz made a brief stop in Munich, where he met with two men who had helped to shape his view of Islam.

“One was Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, who was in Germany for medical treatment. Ibrahim had been a nineteen-seventies-era student activist who entered politics and became, in the eyes of Wolfowitz and other Westerners, the embodiment of the moderate Muslim ideal…

“Just after the September 11th attacks, Ibrahim, still in a Malaysian jail, wrote an impassioned essay condemning the attacks as an abomination and lamenting the Muslim world’s failure to address “the suffering inflicted on the Muslim masses in Iraq by its dictator as well as by sanctions,” wrote the journalist.

According to Boyer, besides Anwar, another Muslim figure much trusted by Wolfowitz was Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur).

“Wolfowitz and Wahid became lasting friends, and, inevitably, one of their shared interests was the subject of Iraq.

“Wolfowitz told me that Wahid had studied in Baghdad, and that he was an early witness to the Baath Party’s atrocities.

“Wahid had described how Saddam’s regime “left the bodies hanging so long, the necks stretched…,” he said.

Islamic Mastermind & Democracy

In his article “Susu Kerbau Dibilang Susu Kambing” (Buffalo Milk Said to be Goat’s Milk) Gus Dur related in detail about the time he met Paul Wolfowitz and Anwar.

“The writer (Gus Dur) wanted to make it to Munich, Germany where he would meet Wolfowitz along with Malaysia’s Dato’ Anwar Ibrahim.

“Anwar had just had his back operated on, following his release from prison in Kuala Lumpur where he was jailed for six years. This writer thinks that he would emerge as a ‘key personality’ in the progress of the Islamic world, “he said.

According to Gus Dur, given his life background, Anwar was very suitable to be made the ‘key personality’.

“Because of that, this writer considers the meeting with Paul Wolfowitz and Anwar Ibrahim as highly important. This writer was part of the meeting, hence making it even more valuable. It was on such understanding on the part of Paul Wolfowitz that he flew in his private jet to Munich, after which he hastened back to Washington DC.

“This writer and Paul Wolfowitz are agreeable that Anwar Ibrahim, like the de facto leader of Muntada Al-Fikr-‘Al-Arabi (an Arab think tank), Saad al-Din Ibrahim who was similarly jailed for years in a Cairo prison, must be protected as among the most prominent moderate Muslim leaders.

“Within the circle of Muslim leaders, such a position cannot be filled by anyone without such background credentials,” he said.

For the record, Saad al-Din was an activist of human rights and democracy in Egypt.

He was a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo, as well as the founder of the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies, Arab Organisation for Human Rights, and on the board of advisors for the Project on Middle East Democracy.

In 2000, Saad al-Din was jailed by Hosni Mubarak for allegedly defaming Egypt's image abroad by providing information of national interest to outsiders.

He was said to have accepted NGO funding from sources that shared “peaceful and democratic values”, including those in the US, such as the NED, IRI, and USAID.

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