Saturday, June 24, 2006

The battle against extremism

Ever since the infamous actions and statements by parliament members representing the Islamic Action Front in the Jordanian parliament, and their subsequent detention in Al Jafer, it has become clear that the Islamist movement in Jordan is facing monumental decisions regarding it's loyalty to the country and it's stands on democracy and terrorism. For once, tough questions are being asked and answers are being demanded. The answers that should come out should be definitive and clear of the typical vacillations.

King Abdullah has made it clear during his recent CNN interview that his aim is to achieve zero tolerance or acceptance for terrorism. The Jordanian press is on message, with many opinion writers expounding on the issue, as are many bloggers. The real question is how is the Islamist movement dealing with the challenge it is facing from the government and from the public?

On the surface, the IAF is presenting a united stand. Their spokesman, Rhail Ghraibeh, told the Financial Times that the movement will not respond to government "threats", and will try to change the subject. However, hard questions seem to be simmering in the movement.

For example, Ibrahim Gharaibeh wrote in Al Ghad (and posted on his blog) an article calling for the movement to expunge those he calls "Those who espouse extremism and exhibitionist political behavior and contradict themselves as well as contradict the Muslim Brotherhood, and use fatwas for the sake of political or organizational or personal gain". He also alludes to allegations that members of the extremist wing of the Muslim Brotherhood have been implicated in corruption and financial and administrative impropriates related to their control of the "Islamic Center Charitable Society", which is an important financial and social base for the movement. The ICCS runs schools, hospitals, and distributes financial help to the poor.

Comments on the blog post include a group which is particularly enlightening. An "observer" claims that the article is in retaliation for being kicked out of the Muslim Brotherhood during the crisis when Hamas leaders were expelled from Jordan in 1999. I guess revenge is best served cold, if you believe this reasoning. The "observer" also claims that the article seems to be in defense of the moderate wing represented by Rhail Gharabeh, who is Ibrahim's brother (I didn't know that). According to the observer, the article is an invitation for splitting the MB. It seems that this debate is part of what is going on within the movement.

The head of the MB, Salem Falahat, gave an interview to the Al Hayat newspaper. He defended the visit by the MP's to Zarqawi's family, and declined to comment on whether Zarqawi was a martyr or not (the usual vacillation). Falahat also said that Abu Fares' statement that Zarqawi was a martyr represents his own view, and not of the Islamist movement. He also said that Zarqawi committed "terrorist acts", saying that this statement will have a political cost.

So, how much political cost is the Islamist movement willing to pay to stand up for the values all civilized people should support? My guess, not much more, but only time will tell.



At 6:43 AM, Blogger Abu Shreek said...

Don't you think that this whole everbody vs.IAF (so-called)“crisis” has been blown waaaay out of proportions. I do not think they are obligated nor should they be forced to make changes in their line of political work , if that is their choice. And then the decision returns to the people, who may or may not continue to elect their representatives (who obviously has been dominating on all levels), according to the people's agreement or disagreement of their agenda.

Now if we just stop that suspicious campaign that featured “people who are worth it and people who are not” (illi biswa (amthal khalaf wa batir) willa ma bisaw (bidoon thikirr asma2)), because it is starting to generate negative results (don’t you think at this point the IAF is gaining some supporters at least out of compassion to this overblown attack!!)

And one more thing, the re-installation of emergency laws (a7kam 3orfyyiehh) , unlawful detentions and the re-opening of the infamous Jaffer should not be accepted under any conditions, because those who are celebrating the arrests of the four today, could be sharing the cell with them tomorrow.

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

AS: I have been critical of the Islamists for a long time, so like I said in a previous post "this outrage comes some level of amusement, which stems from what seems to be great surprise on behalf of the enraged". I don't beleive that the issue of the Zarqawi condolences is the sole issue, but the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Ikhwan have enjoyed privaleges not enjoyed by any other political grouping for the last 50 years. Now there is talk of revoking these privaleges. This should be done because Jordanian political activists who are not Islamists deserve a level playing field, not as a punishment for poor behaviour. It is unfortunate that is being discussed in the context of a punishment and not in the context of political reform.

As for what Ikhwan supporters (I know you are not one of them) claim is a "suspicious campaign", I am not sure that such a campaign exists, per se. Many people are demanding answers from the Ikhwan, which they do not want to provide. Instead of answering the hard questions, they are trying to divert attention by decrying this "suspicious campaign". By the way, the implication that anybody who is against the Ikhwan is a tool of the government is a cheap tool and is insulting.

As far as emergency laws are concerned, I haven't heard or read that they are to be reinstated. The terrorism provention law is still under debate, and some provisions of the proposed text should by clarified and modified to make it acceptable. It will go through the constitutional process before it is enacted. I am not sure what you mean by illegal detentions. As I said in a previous post, the Islamists don't have a problem with freedom restricting legal stipulations such as article 150, as long as they don't apply to them. As I said before, the law should apply to everybody. I am against jailing people for expressing political views, but I would by lying if I extended that to the four in Jafer. Inciting violence and terror is not a political view.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Abu Shreek said...

All good points Khalaf.
Thanks for the Reply.
i was not referring to the exact old "emergency laws", but i was expressing concern that the expected terrorism prevention law may be in that same mold.

At 1:28 AM, Blogger Osaid Rasheed said...

Good points Khalaf
Good day


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