A group of over forty of the world's most prominent Islamists published an open letter Saturday calling on new Syrian President Bashar Assad to "turn a new page" and free all political detainees in Syria.
The letter, published in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustour, calls on Assad, who was inaugurated last week, to "begin his term by new relations with Islamic and national movements so they can participate in the construction and defense" of Syria.
The letter was signed by the leaders of Egypt's and Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood movements, Mustafa Mashur and Abdul Mejid Thuneibat respectively; Rashed Ghanushi, head of the Tunisian Renaissance Movement; Rabeh Kebir, president of the executive committee of Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front (FIS); along with Turkish and Malaysian fundamentalist leaders and Arab Islamists based in Britain.
The 44 fundamentalists called on Assad to "turn a new page" and order "the liberation of all political prisoners and the canceling of special laws that impede the national reconciliation" of Syria.
They cited in particular a 1980 law "that sentences to prison any member or sympathizer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Syria."
The Muslim Brotherhood was severely suppressed in the 1980s by Bashar's father, Assad, who ruled the country for 30 years. Syrian authorities blamed the movement for a series of bombing attacks in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Islamist leaders also urged Assad to remain firm in negotiations with Israel and not give up "one single inch of occupied Arab land." - AMMAN (AFP)
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