The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood finds itself fraught with internal divisions after it expelled three senior members for trying to initiate reforms.
This comes as the movement continues to struggle to exert its political agenda in the Arab world, particularly after suffering a major defeat in Egypt and being labeled a terrorist organization there and in Saudi Arabia.
The Jordanian Brotherhood released a statement saying that any members taking part in the Zamzam Initiative reform would be punished, reported the London-based Arab daily Asharq Alawsat on Tuesday.
The reform calls for more pragmatic positions, such as participating in governmental institutions and respecting the state, and is named after Amman’s Zamzam Hotel, where Brotherhood members met to plan the move.
“An internal tribunal has unanimously decided that this initiative violates the Brotherhood’s regulations and principles,” Brotherhood officials said according to the report.
Brotherhood members Rheil Gharaibeh, Nabil Kofahi and Jamil Al-Dhisat were dismissed for participating in the initiative.
“We do not recognize the tribunal or the Brotherhood leadership that formed this tribunal, or any of its decisions,” Gharaibeh, who is believed to be the founder of the initiative, told Asharq Alawsat following the decision. “These figures are trying to postpone the [Islamist] dialogue that every Jordanian dreams of.”
The Brotherhood issued a statement last year regarding the Initiative: “While the Brotherhood is working together to achieve the group’s demands for reform, we were surprised by some Brotherhood members who launched an initiative that represents nothing but a new organization. While it shares some common policies with the group, other policies are in direct conflict with it.”
Jordanian writer Ibrahim Gharayaba wrote in March in the London-based magazine The Majalla that the Brotherhood movement in Jordan was laying low and playing it safe after Saudi Arabia named it a terror organization.
So far, the Jordanian government has said it will not follow the Saudi example and ban the group, but the decision has far-reaching consequences for the group, asserted Gharayaba.
“In the face of the Saudi proclamation, the Muslim Brotherhood will come under considerable political and social pressure. Some wonder whether it will retreat into operating secretly, becoming more closed off and more extreme, or if it will gradually change its ideas and positions, slowly reinventing itself once again,” said Gharayaba.
Jordan has close relations with the Saudis, and it seems the latest fracture within the movement may represent these tensions.
Separately, Jordanian border guards captured five suspected jihadists Saturday who were illegally attempting to cross into Syria, reported The Jordan Times.
According to the charges the men were seeking to join the Nusra Front, Al-Qaida’s Syria branch. The arrest raises the total number of arrested suspected jihadists along the border to 40 over the past month.