By Islam Abdel Aziz – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has accused his country’s government of supporting the pro-Israel lobby in the US and Jewish groups inside Israel.
"I have evidence proving that the government is backing the Jewish lobby in the US and some parties inside Israel," Anwar told IslamOnline.net in an exclusive interview.
Anwar, a former deputy premier contesting legislative by-election as the next step in his plan to become premier, declined to elaborate on the nature of the support or his evidence.
Malaysia, a Muslim Asian giant, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
After the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 following decades of military occupation, it denied reports the move would change its position on relations with Israel.
"Tel Aviv has yet to fulfill certain conditions," Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Ahmad Shabery Cheek said at the time.
"Therefore there is no reason why Malaysia should review its current stand."
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who retired in 2003 after 22 years in power, had angered Israel just before his retirement when he said that Jews rule the world by proxy, getting others to fight and die for them.
Anwar again refuted charges of sodomy made by Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a 23-year-old former aide.
"These accusations are nothing but propaganda and mere fabrication," he told IOL.
Anwar was accused of sodomy in court this month, but the charge indicated the alleged sex act was consensual.
Mohamad Saiful said last Friday that the alleged sex act was not consensual, and that it "happened by force, without my permission."
He was photographed last week at a city mosque, swearing on the Noble Qur’an that he was telling the truth.
Anwar insists the charges have been engineered by the government to prevent him from seizing power after landmark March elections.
"They are a bid by the government to…stumble my bid to lead the country."
Anwar led a three-party opposition alliance to astonishing victories in the March general elections, seizing control over five of Malaysia’s thirteen federal states and a third of the federal parliament seats.
Sodomy, even between consenting adults, is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
If convicted, Anwar will be handed down a 20-year sentence which will end his political ambitions.
The sodomy charge against Anwar, who had served in various portfolios before becoming deputy premier in 1993, is the second in a decade.
He was found guilty of sodomy in 2000 and sentenced nine years in prison but released after four after the highest overturned his conviction.
Anwar ridiculed accusations of being a US "lackey".
"These accusations are nothing but propaganda to tarnish the opponents’ reputation."
He said he has been a vocal opponent of the US-led war on Iraq and its so-called war on terror.
"But this does not mean I would engage in a war against the US."
The opposition leader also took a swipe at prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s flagship Islam Hadhari project.
"There is only one Islam," Anwar said.
"Claiming that there is Islam Hadari means that there is a ‘bad’ Islam."
Islam Hadhari is the brainchild of Premier Abdullah, who maintains it is derived from the core principles and teachings of Islam.
It aims to present the civilized image of Islam as a faith that caters for all social, political and economic needs of the human beings.
"Action speaks louder than words," Anwar said.
"How can we propagate this project at a time we are plagued by corruption, poor education and a crumbling economic system."
(Originally published in IslamOnline.net)