Malaysia's opposition Islamic party Friday cheered Hamas' victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections and said the militant group should be given a chance to prove it can contribute to peace in the Middle East.
Hamas' triumph showed that the people of Palestinians wanted a "clean leadership, that is transparent and anti-corruption," said Nasharudin Mat Isa, deputy president of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic party that rules one of Malaysia's 13 states.
"We congratulate Hamas for participating in the process of democracy to bring about changes," he told The Associated Press.
Nasharudin said there was no need for Hamas to disarm because "Israel is a terrorist nation," but expressed confidence Hamas will work toward peace. He also urged the international community to put equal pressure on Israel to commit to lasting peace.
"It's unfair that the world is only asking Hamas to denounce violence but is silent about Israel's atrocities against the Palestinians. There is a need for commitment from both sides toward peace," he said.
"Give Hamas a chance to prove that they can also be a contributor to peace. They have only been there for a day."
Hamas, which has refused to renounce violence and calls for the destruction of Israel, took nearly two-thirds of the 132 parliamentary seats in Thursday's elections. The group is regarded as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States. I.L.