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I have no ties with Israel, says Saudi scholar praised by Zionist groups

Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa is viewed favourably by the Israeli media, leading to suspicion among supporters of the Palestinian cause.

2 minute read
Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa (right) with US rabbi Arthur Schneier, among pro-Zionist leaders with whom he shared the stage.
Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa (right) with US rabbi Arthur Schneier, among pro-Zionist leaders with whom he shared the stage.

A visiting Saudi Arabian scholar said he has no links to Israel after it emerged that he has had engagements with pro-Zionist figures and organisations in the US.

Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Universiti Malaya yesterday in the presence of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, was previously praised by the Israeli media, which saw him as a useful ally for the US-backed plan to normalise relations between the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia.

Al-Issa denied today that he sympathises with Israel, adding that he advocates the promotion of common good with people of the Jewish faith, adding that they are referred to in the Quran as "people of the Book".

Speaking through an interpreter on the sidelines of the International Conference of Religious Scholars in Petaling Jaya, Al-Issa said that there are people in Israel who speak out against evil, adding that good deeds transcend religions.

He then said that he would condemn anyone, including Muslims, if they do wrong.

It is not clear whether he has addressed the main concerns of Muslims over his involvement in Zionist-linked programmes.

On Monday, MalaysiaNow documented his participation in various programmes organised by the Jewish lobby in the US, leading many internet users to question the Malaysian government's warm welcome for him.

This includes his participation in programmes organised by the American Jewish Committee, a staunchly pro-Israel organisation that supported the military action in Gaza.

Al-Issa has also had friendly meetings and shared the stage with other Zionist Jews, such as US-based rabbis Marc Schneier and Arthur Schneier and UK-based Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, all of whom have defended Israel's current military assault on Gaza, which has claimed at least 30,000 lives, mostly women and children.

Al-Issa's organisation, the Saudi government-sponsored Muslim World League (MWL), has been closely associated with Anwar since his days in the Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia, or Abim.

 MWL is seen as Riyadh's propaganda tool in the Muslim world and is accused of spreading Wahhabism, the controversial doctrine that has dominated Saudi Arabia for close to a century.