By Pizaro Gozali Idrus
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) - Islamic organizations and NGOs in Malaysia on Monday condemned a recent decision by the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars to label the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a terrorist group.
During a press conference held in the capital Kuala Lumpur, 17 organizations slammed the decision in a joint statement, warning it could divide the Muslim community.
They included the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement, Ikram Malaysia, the Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs and the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is a pioneering organization that brought a wave of universal Islamic awareness when the Islamic world was still gripped by colonialism in the early 20th century,” said Zairudin Hasim, vice president of the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement.
Despite facing violence and oppression, the Muslim Brotherhood has continued to adhere to the principles of the rule of law and democracy, which are important manifestations of human rights.
"The world has witnessed the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in supporting democracy and the election process after [President] Hosni Mubarak’s reign,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs said many members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been victims of violence and dictatorial regimes after Egyptian Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a coalition to remove President Mohamed Morsi from power.
“Thousands were detained without trial and their rights to defend themselves were denied. However, the Muslim Brotherhood maintains its peaceful and non-violent approach,” said the committee’s chairman, Mohammad Jamal Shamsudin.
Shamsudin said the statement issued by the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars has been used as a political tool by certain parties to tarnish the honor, sanctity and sacredness of Islam.
“It has been used for slandering, labeling and punishing others without clear evidence,” he added.
The alliance also said the former Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Bin Baz, has issued a fatwa, or ruling, deeming the Muslim Brotherhood as one of the most righteous Islamic groups and the closest to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad which has contributed a lot to the Islamic world.
"The statement of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars will only lead Muslims to division," said Shamsudin.
Last week, the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars issued a statement designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and accused the movement of being a destabilizing factor in the region.
Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood was blacklisted by Egyptian authorities in 2013 following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, in a military coup led by then-General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the same year.
In May this year, Saudi Arabia officially blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency's Indonesian language service