Anwar defends Mat Sabu in Syiah issue


SUBANG: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim defended PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu who has been accused of having Syiah leanings, saying that the latter only needs to explain himself if there was compelling evidence against him.

"Even in Islam, those making accusations against another must come forward with clear and compelling evidence and allow the other side to be heard.

"If the Home Ministry has strong evidence, then they should charge him," he told reporters at the "Spirit of Merdeka" book launching here Sunday.

He added the accusations against Mohamad or better known as Mat Sabu were frivolous in nature and were aimed at demonizing the PAS leader.

Anwar said that Iran's successful struggle against the then corrupted Shah of Iran was the basis of general admiration amongst Muslims around the world.

"I was amongst the second delegation of leaders after PLO Yasser Arafat to meet Ayatollah Khomeini in Teharan in early 1980.

"We held discussions on ways to prevent further conflict between the Syiah and Sunni Muslim but does that mean I practice Syiah beliefs?," he said.

Anwar, who was then ABIM president, said that despite some misgivings over Teheran's policies, he too admired the Ayatollah's leadership.

On Thursday, the Home Ministry listed 10 points linking Mat Sabu's to the Syiah branch of Islam that is considered to be deviant in Malaysia.

Mat Sabu has since denied the accusations.

Jakim (Malaysian Islamic Development Department) has identified 1,500 Syiah practitioners across the country, with the most active of them located in Selangor, Perak and Johor.
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