Malaysia Welcomes Hamas, Brotherhood: Report

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

 

Malaysia has offered to be the new home for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas officials who may be bowing out of Qatar to alleviate Qatar’s crisis with the Gulf and Arab states.

In June, nine countries — including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain —  severed ties with Qatar over Qatar’s support of terrorism, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

According to an exclusive report in the respected Egyptian media outlet Albawaba News, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the interior minister of Malaysia said his country would “open the door completely” to the transfer of officials from these terror organizations to Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia reportedly made the offer to help Qatar extricate itself from the crisis with the Gulf and Arab states.

Because of the powerful influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Malaysia, the Southeast Asian country is the preferred location for officials of the Muslim Brotherhood whose welcomes have worn out in other countries. The Brotherhood owns a number of companies in Malaysia and has a cadre of businessmen who are loyal to them.

Sources within the Brotherhood that requested anonymity told Albawaba that Malaysia tops the list of countries slated for relocation of Brotherhood officials currently residing in Qatar. Since the latest speech by the Emir of Qatar, in which he indicated  that he is willing to hold talks with the states that are currently boycotting his country, the declaration by Malaysia’s interior minister only makes this possibility more attractive.

The sources added that second-tier officials of the Brotherhood residing in Qatar as well as others who are on international terror lists have already begun preparations to leave after a recent meeting of members of the International Muslim Brotherhood organization which was recently held in Turkey.

Higher-level officials are still waiting for a final decision from the international organization.

In recent years, Malaysia has hosted a number of Brotherhood and Hamas officials who were on the run.

In addition, the Islamist party in Malaysia, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS),  has adopted the tenets of the Brotherhood and is now connected to the international Brotherhood organization. In recent months, closer ties have been established between the PAS and the Malaysian government.

In other news related to Malaysia’s turn toward Islamism, Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Tunisia’s Islamist Ennhahda Party, visited Malaysia last week for meetings with the prime minister.

Ghannouchi also met with the Malaysia’s minister of defense to talk about developing bilateral relations between the Tunisia and Malaysia. Ghannouchi expressed his support for the International Meeting for Solidarity of the Islamic World in Asia, which will be held in the Kelantan state of Malaysia with governmental cooperation. The stated purpose of the meeting is to unify Islamic efforts in Southeast Asia.

 

 

RM
Ran Meir
Ran Meir is Clarion Project's Arab affairs analyst.

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