Dr. Mahathir and Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi named Muslim Man and Woman of the Year

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

Malaysia’s Prime Minister was named Muslim Man of the Year and was listed as one of the most influential Muslim men for 2019, as reported in the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Muslim 500.

The report is published by The Royal Islamic Studies Centre with the Royal All al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, an independent research entity for Islamic studies in Amman, Jordan. It lists the 500 most influential Muslims around the globe, with a cumulative ranking spanning 10 years.

The report, which notes that Dr. Mahathir is the oldest sitting head of government in the world, and has been elected Prime Minister of Malaysia twice in his lifetime.

Sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi was named as the Muslim 500 Woman of the Year. Tamimi, who received an 8-month jail sentence for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier who had shot and severely wounded her cousin in the head in Nabi Saleh, 80km from Jerusalem, was set free from prison in July 2018.

Tamimi’s act was caught on video and made her a heroine in many countries.

The young woman said after her release, “It makes me happy and so proud that I succeeded to deliver the message of the prisoners, my homeland and nation. God willing, I will succeed to deliver the message that the Palestinians are suffering because of the occupation.”

The report called Dr. Mahathir a “quite extraordinary man” and made note of his lengthy career spanning seven decades, as well as the fact that he has written 17 books in his lifetime, including two memoirs.

Dr. Mahathir’s involvement with calling on his predecessor, Najib Razak, to resign, starting from 2015, as well as how he joined the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition and later went on to win the elections in May 2018, getting elected as Prime Minister for the second time. “Not bad for a 93-year-old politician with a history of two heart attacks and one bypass surgery,” the report said.

The Malaysian Prime Minister ranked 44th on the list of the 500 most influential Muslims. It is the first time that he has been included on the list. The awardees are chosen based on their positive representation of Islam to the non-Muslim community, as well as their influence to bring about change among Muslims.

The editor in chief of the Muslim 500 list is S Abdallah Schleifer.

Singapore’s own President Halimah Yacob also made the list, ranking in 41st place. Her caption read, “A former speaker of Parliament she gave up her parliamentary seat and position with the ruling People’s Action Party to run for President. The government’s criteria for the current President, including that the President must be an ethnic Malay, meant that Yacob was unopposed and became President unelected, a process which has drawn some criticism. She is the first ethnic Malay President for 47 years.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ranked 16th, while Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ranked 29th on the top 50 list.

Read also: Dr Mahathir rules out sedition in public comments on Agong, Sultans 

Dr Mahathir rules out sedition in public comments on Agong, Sultans