Anwar slams ‘gutless’ Muslim world for silence on Syria, Egypt

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SHAH ALAM, Sept 7 — As the world holds its breath over a possible US attack on Syria, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hit out at Muslim world leaders for keeping mum on escalating conflicts against fellow followers of the same faith.

Amid worldwide condemnation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons on his own people, Malaysia’s opposition leader also asked Muslims here to not forget the plight of Egyptians in their own country following a military coup, and closer to home, the reported abuse of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya people.

“There is not even one voice who dares to speak up... The Muslim leadership has become gutless and laggard,” the PKR adviser told a gathering in solidarity in the country’s most developed state last night.

“Dark clouds are hovering over the Muslim world. It is an age of calamity for Muslims... We have leaders who cannot speak (their minds),” the 66-year-old added.

Anwar (picture) was the final speaker in a show of solidarity for Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Rohingya and Bangladesh, organised by local Muslim organisation, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement, better known by its Malay name, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), which he had once led.

This despite Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s pledge last Thursday of Malaysia’s opposition to any US intervention in Syria despite an alleged chemical weapons attack.

Anifah was also reported saying last month that Putrajaya had written to the secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) asking for a swift meeting to end the conflicts in Syria and Egypt.

Some 500 predominantly Malays turned up last night at the solidarity rally in Stadium Malawati here, which started off with a prayer session followed by speeches from Muslim non-governmental organisation leaders and preachers against what they called “infidel” forces.

Other opposition leaders in attendance included Anwar’s daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, and PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar.

“The remarks made by our prime minister seemed to endorse the regime of Mubarak,” said Mahfuz, referring to Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in a revolution in 2011 and replaced by Mohamed Mursi in an election last year.

Less than a year in office, he was ousted in a military coup in July.

A movement called “Rabia”, which in Arabic means the number four, and which is also named after the Rabia al-Adawiya Square in Cairo, has been the rallying sign for Islamist supporters of Mursi.

The logo for the “R4BIA” movement, a black hand showing four fingers over a yellow background could be seen all over inside the stadium from banners, placards, to the headbands and t-shirts worn by ralliers here.

The stadium was also decked with banners proclaiming “Stop the killing! Egypt will be free”, “Free Syria, save Rohingya” and “Let UN/OIC peacekeepers enter Myanmar”.

Supporters also held the Palestine flag, and the alternative Syrian flag in support of the country’s opposition government.

The alternative flag has green, white and black stripes with three red stars, instead of the official flag of red, white and black stripes with two green stars used by Assad’s government.

ABIM’s programme will continue with the World Conference On Islamic Resurgence tomorrow, to be held in the Selangor state government complex.

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