Malaysia is sponsoring terrorism through Hamas
Until recently there was very little information regarding Hamas’ activity in Malaysia. Particularly it was thought that the geographical distance from Gaza meant that Hamas’ activity in Malaysia was less important. The truth is totally different.
Malaysia has supported the Palestinian cause for decades. Therefore, when Hamas’ leadership spread out its activities among several countries, it naturally chose Malaysia as one of its main hubs. The patronage of the Malaysian government and perhaps even the geographical distance provide Hamas with the ideal setting for variety of fields of operation as: political and financial activity, recruitment, and military and technological training and development. Since Hamas is not perceived as a terrorist organization in Malaysia, but as a legitimate political movement, it allows it to conduct its activities openly and conduct its affairs with little concern.
These activities are greatly facilitated, if not managed, via two organizations – PCOM and the al-Quds Foundation. Of the two, PCOM headed by Muslim Imran is the more prominent organization and operates as Hamas’ embassy in Malaysia. PCOM provides Hamas not only with political and financial services
As this article shows, Hamas exerts great efforts into using the Malaysian higher education system for its military needs. Universities play a dual role in achieving Hamas’ military interests. First, they provide it with an excellent setting to recruit high quality candidates for its military apparatus. Second, access to knowledge available in the universities also allows Hamas to improve its technological abilities and its military industry.
Malaysia is one of Hamas’ staunchest supporters in the world. Officially Malaysia doesn’t see Hamas as a terror organization. An example of how Malaysia’s support of the Palestinians can be seen in a quote of its former (until 2020) Prime Minister from 2003 at an Islamic conference: “The Europeans killed six million Jews out of twelve million, but today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.”
Indeed, the terrorist organization enjoys the official support of the government, and other senior politicians (including members of the opposition) and influential individuals. This allows it to carry out both political and military activities on Malaysian soil unhindered.
Hamas’ Political activity in Malaysia:
As mentioned, Hamas is connected to the highest levels of the Malaysian state. It is not uncommon for Hamas’ delegations to meet with very influence people like ministers and the Prime Minister. Hamas’ political interests in Malaysia are largely represented through the activities of two organizations – the “Palestinian Cultural Organization in Malaysia” (PCOM) and al-Quds Foundation – Malaysia. Of the two, PCOM is the more senior organization since its leadership seems to be in close contact with senior Hamas leaders both abroad and in Gaza.
The organization was founded in 2011 in Kuala Lumpur at the direct request of then Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during his visit to Gaza. As such, PCOM is well connected to the highest decision makers in the Malaysia like the former Prime Minister (until 2020) Mahathir Mohamad and the former Prime Minister Najib Razak and other influential religious and political leaders. The stated purpose of the “Palestinian cultural organization Malaysia” (hereafter PCOM) is to help the Palestinians have a better life and promote a vision of a Palestinian country that will win over the “Zionist enemy”. But in reality, it is Hamas’ main political organization in Malaysia and acts as its “embassy” in the country.
Over the last few years, PCOM officials were always involved in visits of official delegations of Hamas’ senior command. Moreover, PCOM officials are also present during these official meetings between Hamas officials and directors and senior members of the Malaysian government. For example, in May 2019, PCOM organized a visit of members of Hamas’s Political bureau abroad. During this visit, members of the delegation discussed with the Malaysian Prime Minister about several issues such as Israel’s policy in Gaza and the prospects of a future war, the status of Jerusalem, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and their objection to the American administration’s “deal of the century”. During the same meeting, the now former Prime Minister said Malaysia will continue to condemn Israel and to support the Palestinian people.
(From left to right; Munir Jarda said – Head of foreign affairs of Hamas with the Arab and Muslim countries, former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, Khaled Mashal – Former Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Izzat Al-Reshq – senior Hamas Political Bureau, Muslim Imran, Abdulla Walid. May,2019).
Under the patronage of the Malaysian state, PCOM, as the veritable representative of Hamas, operates freely in the country; using its high-level connections to obtain large amounts of money for Hamas. A large part of PCOM’s funds is received through donations from very senior Malaysian political figures. Moreover, it even receives governmental funds as well as funds from other official institutions in Malaysia. Just in 2019, PCOM received 140 scholarships worth a total value of 3 million USD for Palestinians students to come and study in some of Malaysia’s finest universities.
PCOM HQ in Kuala Lumpur
The prominent figure in PCOM is its chairman, Muslim Imran, originally from Gaza, a Hamas operative of that has lived in Malaysia for the last 15 years. It is thanks to his efforts that PCOM has become such a dominant factor in Malaysia and has become more prominent than the Palestinian Authority in Malaysia. Imran also has direct ties to Hamas’ leadership.
Imran is very outspoken, often at the center of various public relations activities. For example, in a speech he gave in front of the US embassy in 2014, he called for the continuation of the Jihad against Israel. On another occasion, in June 2018, he gave a eulogy for Fadi AlBatsh, a Hamas operative that was killed, reportedly by Israel, in Malaysia. stating:
“Those who killed him thought they would scare Malaysia from educating Palestinian youth. We all know that in a long struggle like ours, knowledge is power. Dr Fadi’s assassins didn’t want Palestinians to possess any knowledge or power! But it is our strong belief, that Malaysia was, still is, and will continue to be a strong supporter of the Palestinian struggle”.
Imran’s second in command is Abdullah Walid, PCOM’s director of political affairs. Previously, Abdullah worked before at Ismael Haniyeh’s office in Gaza.
The second major organization active in Malaysia is called Al Quds Foundation Malaysia which is affiliated with the Al-Quds International Institution that operates in Lebanon. It is important to note that the Lebanese organization was designated in 2012. This organization is also linked to PCOM since its Secretary of the Board of Directors is, Muslim Imran.
Al Quds Foundation Malaysia was established in 2012 with the stated goal of freeing Jerusalem from the “Zionist occupation” and achieving full control over the Al Aqsa Mosque, as well as to help the Palestinian people to improve their way of living on the battle for independency. In Malaysia, the Organization holds various cultural activities meant to raise awareness for the Palestinian cause.
One of their flag projects is “Aqsapedia” that is meant to act as an accessible database that supports the Palestinian cause, and how important is to be ruling Al Aqsa against the will of the Zionist regime. The main characters that are leading this project are the chairman Mukhriz Mahathir – son of the former Prime Minister, the CEO Abu shammalah, and they receive religious support from Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, Al-Aqsa Mosque’s preacher.
PCOM and al-Quds foundation are not regular NGO’s that raise money for poor people in Gaza or offer Palestinian students the opportunity to acquire higher education in Malaysia. They in fact also serve Hamas’ military interests. Hamas’ military activities in Malaysia are heavily focused on the country’s higher learning institutions. Scholarships funded by the Malaysian state are awarded to Hamas charitable organization in Malaysia. These scholarships in turn are given by Hamas to Palestinian students (many of them from the Gaza Strip) that want to study in Malaysia.
Hamas uses these scholarships for two main purposes. The first is to recruit operatives that can be useful to the battle against Israel in different ways. Some of these operatives receive some type of military training in Malaysia or in Turkey on their way back home. The second use Hamas makes of these scholarships is to enhance its technological military capabilities by sending operatives to acquire the relevant education in Malaysian universities. The organization’s strong ties with Malaysian senior officials allow it to carry out this activity unhindered.
One example of how Hamas recruits its operatives in Malaysia is that of Wasim Qawasmeh. Qawasmeh traveled Malaysia in 2011 to begin his studies at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). At the university, he joined a Hamas student organization called Rabitat Bilad al-Sham – Malaysia, and in 2014 he was recruited to the Muslim Brotherhood by Mustafa Bassam Najem, a Hamas activist in Malaysia that at that time was the head of Hamas’ da’wah committee at the International Islamic University.
Later that year (2014), Sharif Abu Shammalah (a Hamas activist in the Islamic University student association) proposed to Wasim Qawasmeh that he undergo Hamas military training in Turkey. What is important to note is that currently Shammalah is the CEO of al-Quds Foundation – Malaysia.
(Abdullah Walid, Muslim Imran, Mukhriz Mahathir – the son of the Prime Minister and the Chairman of Al Quds Foundation and Shareef Abu Shammalah)
(Shareef Abu Shammalah and Mujahid Yousuf Rawa, Minister of Islamic Affairs)
Another example for Hamas’ military wing activity in Malaysia is Majdi Mafarja. In 2014, he was arrested in Israel. During his interrogation he admitted that he flew to Malaysia for a message encryption and computer hacking training on behalf of Hamas.
Probably the major case that shows how Hamas military wing operates in Malaysia is of Dr. Fadi Albatsh. Albatsh was very successful at his job as a lecturer at the University of Kuala Lumpur at the British-Malaysian-Institute. He was an expert at electrical engineering and was using he’s knowledge to improve the effectiveness and the accuracy of drones and rockets for Hamas’ uses. Albatsh was involved deeply inside Hamas’ secret plot to develop new technology of weapons that Hamas doesn’t have yet, so it can be a tie breaker against the Zionist regime. He was one of the most senior and important members of Hamas in Malaysia. Albatsh was killed in 2018.
The University that Albatsh was teaching at, is one of the 12 universities that appear on the list of PCOM for scholarships. (Some of them has collaborations with elite universities worldwide).
University Kuala Lumpur (Dr. Fadi Albatsh was a lecturer in this University at the British Malaysian Institute).
Seems to be that two other Universities that Hamas has big interests about are the University of Malaya and the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM). According to some evidence few operators of Hamas recrewed there new members for military operations.
According to the evidence, there is no doubt that Hamas put a lot of efforts to use the Universities in Malaysia to recrew more Palestinian students to its military wing. With the scholarships that PCOM is giving they can locate more optional elite students and give them the best conditions to continue study to PhD and use their knowledge to Hamas operational goals.
There is a major focus on the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), that seems to be the most important one with much larger options to recrew new members, because of having more lecturers that work there that belong to Hamas military operative and some active student cells that the Hamas’ people are managing to their needs. The following people are the exact examples why Hamas Malaysia is so active and effective, especially with the high education coalification.
Dr. Fadi Albatsh used to volunteer in a humanitarian organization called MyCare.
This organization is appearing on Al Quds Foundation Malaysia website’s as the major sponsor of the “Aqsapedia” project.