Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Holds First Rally In Over A MonthBy
Jordanian media reported that 1000 activists from the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood protested in Amman on Friday in what the report said was the first rally in over a month. According to a Jordan Times report:
Over 1,000 activists hit the streets in downtown Amman on Friday as the Kingdom’s largest opposition group returned to the protest movement.In a “Friday of Insistence”, the Muslim Brotherhood held its first rally in over a month in the capital, drawing some 1,200 supporters.According to Islamists, the end of their hiatus came due to “frustration” over what Islamists call authorities’ lack of commitment to political reform.“We have given the government a month and we have yet to see any signs of reform,” said Ali Abul Sukkar, Islamic Action Front (IAF) shura council president.“Until we see progress on the ground, we will continue our protest activities,” he pledged.In the two-hour rally, led by IAF Secretary General Hamzah Mansour and Muslim Brotherhood leader Hamam Said, protesters called for elected governments, constitutional amendments, “regime reform”, and the dissolution of the State Security Court.Demonstrators also called for the immediate release of jihadist salafists who have been held without trial for over seven months – marking the first time that the salafists’ cause has been raised in a pro-reform protest.Noticeably absent in Friday’s protest were slogans criticising Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh, who offered Islamists Cabinet posts – an offer the movement turned down – within days of his appointment in late October.Despite its modest size, the gathering, which marched from Al Husseini Mosque to the Greater Amman Municipality headquarters, attracted both veteran Islamist activists and newcomers to the protest movement.Alaa Abu Zuhair, a 20-year-old student at the World Islamic Sciences and Education University, said he was driven to take part in his first-ever pro-reform protest on Friday due to concerns over ongoing corruption.“Corruption is pulling Jordan back decades and the only solution is political reform, and God willing, the Islamist movement will help us reform Jordan,” Abu Zuhair said.Ali Hamdan, a longtime Muslim Brotherhood supporter from Amman, said he has taken part in demonstrations on a near-weekly basis for months as part of efforts to “seize this historic moment of change”.“
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The Islamic Action Front (IAF) is generally considered to be the political wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. One of the most important leaders of the IAF is Ishaq Farhan a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, one of the three founders of the IAF, and a former education minister and senator. Mr. Farhan is also listed as a director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), founded in the U.S. in 1980 by important members of the Global Muslim Brotherhood who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge.” IIIT was associated with the now defunct SAAR Foundation, a network of Islamic organizations located in Northern Virginia that was raided by the Federal government in March 2002 in connection with the financing of terrorism. In 2000, Mr. Farhan was denied entry to the U.S. after having had his visa revoked in the prior year without informing him. The New York Times reportedat that time that unidentified American diplomats called Mr. Farhan a “moderating force” and that he “as kept a distance from the vociferous opposition to peaceful relations with Israel.” However, in 2003 a media report said that the IAF had “declared a jihad in favor of Iraq and Palestine if the US attacks Iraq.”