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Islamica Magazine

Open Letter Concerning Anwar Ibrahim

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful May Peace and Blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad and his kin “ … [M]ake peace between them justly, and act equitably. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable. / The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that perhaps ye may obtain mercy.” (The Holy Qur’an, Al-Hujurat, 49:9-10) OPEN LETTER CONCERNING DATUK SERI DR. ANWAR IBRAHIM Al-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu, We, the undersigned, believe the honorable brother Datuk Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim to be of the highest ethical and moral integrity, a devout Muslim and a devoted father and husband. He is universally recognized as an advocate for justice and fairness, and he has a long history of promoting Islam and championing Islamic ethical and charitable causes. We are deeply concerned about the physical safety and freedom of our respected brother Datuk Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim. We are troubled by the unsubstantiated and clearly scurrilous claims made against him and his character. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful.” (The Holy Qur’an, Al-Hujurat, 49:12) Our beloved Malaysia is today one of the leading countries of the Muslim Ummah. It is an example of a successful modern Islamic country, and in many ways a model and example for other Muslim countries. This has been due to the Grace of Allah and then largely to the historical and invaluable efforts and contributions made by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi (among others). Every Muslim who knows anything about Malaysia is proud and appreciative of these efforts. Equally, every Muslim who knows Malaysian politics is appreciative of the formidable political courage in leadership exhibited by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed during his time as Prime Minister of Malaysia and of the example of personal piety and forbearance that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi has given the Ummah today. Indeed, perhaps precisely because of Malaysia’s prominence within the Ummah and the world, we would like to point out that the global Muslim community is paying close attention to the way our respected and honorable brother Dr. Anwar Ibrahim is treated. We have no wish to interfere in the internal politics of Malaysia, or in civil and criminal accusations within the country, which we reiterate are ultimately the business only of the Malaysian state and people. However, the spectacle, ten years ago, of our respected brother Datuk Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim sitting patiently in court after having been personally and illegally beaten up by then Police Chief of Malaysia is still fresh within our minds as a travesty of justice and impartiality under the law in a leading Muslim country. We are all still ashamed of that image, which will ever be indelibly engraved in our memories. So we remind our bothers in Malaysia that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that justice is the very goal of government in Islam. And Allah Himself says in the Holy Qur’an: “Say: My Lord enjoineth justice …” (Al-A’raf, 7:29) Thus we feel that we have a right — and indeed, an obligation under Islam — to strongly urge the Malaysian authorities to facilitate a swift, transparent and just resolution to this issue and resolutely ensure the safety, freedom and physical well-being of our honorable and respected brother Anwar Ibrahim. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “The Truth is from thy Lord (O Muhammad), so be not thou of those who waver.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:147) Moreover, given the political implications of the timing of this latest incident; given the political undertones of the previous incidents of similar accusations made in 1998 — which led to the wrongful incarceration of Dr. Anwar Ibrahim for six years, and that have since been publicly refuted in the highest Malaysian court of law — and given the proven questionable nature of the authorities involved in the investigation, we feel morally obliged to also state our deep concern about the prospects of true justice for Anwar Ibrahim in the current authorities in the police and prosecution departments (whose leadership was personally involved in Dr. Anwar Ibrahim’s previous unjust accusations) without deliberate, careful, impartial and independent political oversight. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Lo! Allah enjoineth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed.” (Al-Nahl, 16:90) Finally, we are morally obliged as Muslims to also point out that our religion and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) regard false accusations in these matters to be of extremely grave consequence. In fact, under Islamic Law, accusations of this magnitude that are not substantiated by four eyewitnesses of impeccable character (such as did not occur neither with these accusations nor with the previous ones) incur severe legal punishment only for the accusers themselves. Perhaps what is most insidious and disturbing, however, is the likely malevolent and slanderous intent behind these attacks on the moral character of our brother Dr.
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Anwar Ibrahim. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “When ye welcomed it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths that whereof ye had no knowledge, ye counted it a trifle. In the sight of Allah it is very great. / Wherefor, when ye heard it, said ye not: It is not for us to speak of this. Glory be to Thee (O Allah)! This is awful calumny. / Allah admonisheth you that ye repeat not the like thereof ever, if ye are (in truth) believers.” (The Holy Qur’an, Surat Al-Nur, 24:15-17) However, we have complete trust in Allah and so remain hopeful that the highest political authorities in Malaysia will, in sha Allah, secure an honest and just outcome to this deeply troubling situation. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Let there arise from you a band of people who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid wrong. Such are they who are successful.” (Aal-‘Imran, 3:104) Wal-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu. Click here to endorse the open letter Signed by (in Alphabetical Order of First Names): Dr. Abubaker Al-Shingieti President, American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE) Prof. Dr. Akbar Ahmed Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University, Washington DC; Former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK Shaykh Al-Habib Ali Zain Al-Abidin Al-Jifri Founder and Director, Taba Institute, United Arab Emirates Mr. M. Ali Lakhani Founder and Editor of Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, Canada Dr. Anas Al-Shaikh-Ali Chair, Association of Muslim Social Scientists UK Academic Advisor, International Institute of Islamic Thought, London Ms. Amina Rasul Lead Convenor, Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy, Mandaluyong City, Philippines Prof. Dr. Aref Ali Nayed Muslim Scholar, Libya; Senior Advisor, Cambridge Interfaith Program, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University; Former Professor, Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Ms. Asma Mirza President, MSA National (USA) Asst. Prof. Dr. Caner Dagli College of the Holy Cross, Worcester MA, USA H.E. Shaykh Prof. Dr. Mustafa Ceri Grand Mufti and Head of Ulema of Bosnia and Herzegovina Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin President, Central Board of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia Mr. Eboo Patel Founder and Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core, USA Ms. Farah El-Sharif President, Muslim Students Association, Georgetown University, USA Shaykh Faraz Rabbani Hanafi Scholar; Instructor, The Razi Institute, Canada Dr. Faroque Khan Chairman, Islamic Center of Long Island, NY, USA Prof. Dr. H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal Chairman
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of the Board of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan Shaykh Salih bin Sultan Ghalib Al-Quaiti Hadramaut, Yemen Mr. Hasan (Charles) Le Gai Eaton Writer on Islam, UK Dr. Ibrahim Kalin Director, SETA Foundation, Ankara, Turkey; Asst. Prof. Georgetown University, USA Prof. Dr. Ingrid Mattson President, The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Intisar Rabb, Esq. Princeton University

Dr. Jamal Barzinji Vice-President, International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA Dr. Jonathan Brown Assistant Professor, University of Washington, USA Dr. Marve Kavakci George Washington University Dr. Mohammad Fadel Assistant Professor of Law, University of Toronto, Canada Dr. Mohamed Bechari President of the National Federation of Muslims of France (FNMF); Secretary-General of The Islamic European conference (EIC/CIE); VicePresident of the Foundation of Islamic Works of France (FOI); President-Rector de of the Avicenna Institute (IASH), France Mohamed H. Marei Founder and Director, Qasid Institute, Jordan Hafiz Moez Masoud Host of Al-Tariq Al-Sah television show, Cairo, Egypt H.E. Amb. Dr. Murad Hofmann Author and Muslim Intellectual, Germany Mr. Musa Saket Chairman of the Board, Al-Salam Audio Media (Hayat Fm), Jordan Prof. Dr. Mustapha Cherif Muslims Intellectual; Former Minister of Higher Education and Former Ambassador, Algeria Prof. Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqui Islamic Scholar and Theologian; Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, USA Dr. Nabil El-Sharif Editor- in-Chief, Al-Dustour Daily Newspaper, Jordan Mr. Nihad Awad National Executive Director, Co-Founder Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), USA Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller Author and Educator, Jordan Dr. Seyyed Reza Shah-Kazemi Author and Muslim Scholar, UK H.E. Prof. Dr. Rusmir Mahmutcehajic Professor, Sarajevo University; President of the International Forum Bosnia; Former Vice President of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Prof. S. Abdallah Schleifer Distinguished Professor, The American University of Cairo; Founder and former Director of the Adham Center for Journalism (AUC); former Washington DC bureau chief Al Arabiya News Channel Dr. Sayyid Syeed ISNA Secretary-General, USA Dr. Sherman A. Jackson Arthur H. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan; Co-Founder The American Learning Institute for Muslims, USA Mr. Sohail Nakhooda Editor-in-Chief, Islamica Magazine Prof. Dr. Sulayman S. Nyang Howard University, USA Dr. Tawfik Awji Beirut Islamic University, Lebanon Dr. Yusuf Islam Composer and Philanthropist, Islamia Schools Trust, London, UK Dr. Yousuf Zia Kavakci Director Islamic Association of Northern Texas and Member Fiqh Council of North America. 1429 July 2008 CE; Rajab

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