ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) on Thursday declared the 2018 list of most influential Muslims, featuring President Masoud Barzani.
The independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought praised President Barzani for the major role he played "in shaping the new Iraq through his political position."
The group added that Barzani was influential "by becoming a member of the Iraqi Governing Council in April 2004 after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime."
The center which is based in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, praised Barzani for being the main force fighting the Islamic State (IS) and for being "adamant about establishing a Kurdish state."
The jury also pointed out that Barzani who was the President of the Kurdistan Region since 2005, entered the political arena at the young age of 16.
His father legendary Mala Mostafa Barzani groomed Masoud to be an influential Kurdish leader. In 1979 Masoud became the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The Muslim 500 pointed out that Masoud Barzani was the main person behind the historic referendum on secession from Iraq.
On September 25, 2017, 93 percent of the electorate (8.4 million people) voted YES to independence.
The ethical and democratic demands faced major opposition from the Federal Government as well as the neighboring countries of Iran and Turkey who are suppressing their own Kurdish population.
Among other influential Muslims listed are Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, Recep Teyyeb Erdogan, President of Turkey and Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran.
The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered, according to its website.