A Sudanese opposition leader and prominent Sunni Muslim who had links to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s said he hopes President Barack Obama will get re-elected in Tuesday’s much anticipated election, AFP reported.
“You know what ‘Baraka’ means in Arabic? Blessing,” said veteran Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, who served as the secretary-general of the Islamic Charter Front, a political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood that advocated an Islamic constitution and opposed western secularism.
“Obama of course,” Turabi told AFP, when asked about his U.S. presidential preference during an interview.
“He’s gentle towards the Muslims generally,” Turabi said, and referred to Obama’s childhood spent in Muslim-majority Indonesia, and his Kenyan father who was raised as a Muslim.
Obama uses the word “terrorism” far less than his predecessor George W. Bush, and his name is a variant of the Arabic word “Baraka,” Turabi told the news agency.
Turabi has been a force in Sudanese politics for six decades, and was a key figure behind the 1989 coup, which brought the Islamist regime of President Omar al-Bashir to power.
Sudan then became a notorious refuge for Islamic terrorists, including bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. special forces in May 2011.
“He’s a media image. He’s not the true bin Laden I knew here,” Turabi said of the man whose terror organization has been tied to dozens of atrocities around the world including the September 11, 2001 attacks which killed around 3,000 people in the U.S.
Turabi, whose daughter studies in Philadelphia, fell out with Bashir about a decade after the Islamist coup and now leads the opposition Popular Congress Party.
Turabi, who has been in and out of prison countless times during his terror career, told the news agency that he reads Obama’s books behind bars.