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May
03

Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Re-elects Hardline Leaders

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Jordanian media is reporting that Hamman Saeed, the leader of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, was re-elected on Monday and that current Islamic Action Front Secretary General Hamzah Mansour, was also retained.. According to an Ammon News report:

2012-05-01  The overall leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hammam Saeed, kept his post following internal elections Monday, where he was challenged by dovish former leader Salem Falahat, a source inside the group told The Jordan Times. According to the source, Saeed’s win came as no surprise as the group’s shura (consultation) council, which elects the overall leader, selected earlier in the day five new members that tilted the balance in favour of the hawks, who support Saeed. Four out of the five winners in the council’s polls declared their support for Saeed against his rival. Saeed won 27 votes, while 25 voted for his rival, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. The 47-strong shura council voted for current Islamic Action Front Secretary General Hamzah Mansour, a moderate, and four of the group’s hawks: Saoud Abu Mahfouz, Ahmad Zurkan, Mohammad Aqel and Murad Adayleh. Both the overall leader and the council, now of 53 members, will remain in their posts for four years. The council has the final say over vital issues related to the largest opposition group, including its participation in municipal and parliamentary polls. “

In May 2008, a post reported on the election of Saeed, described at that time as “hawkish” and “hardline”:

The Consultative Council of Jordan’s influential Muslim Brotherhood movement has elected hard-line Hammam Saeed as new leader, reliable Islamic sources said Thursday. Saeed, a former member of the lower house of parliament, narrowly won the post in severe competition with former leader, Salem Falahat, who lost with one-vote edge in the voting that took place late Wednesday. The new leader, who descends from a Palestinian origin, apparently won the support of hawks who back the Palestinian hard-line Hamas group currently in control of the Gaza Strip. Falahat, a dovish Islamist, came under fire from hard-liners since he was chosen several months ago by King Abdullah II as member of the upper house of parliament, also known as the king’s council. The Muslim Brotherhood movement has been for decades leading opposition in the country mainly through its political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), which suffered a major setback in the last general elections in November.

An earlier post had noted that elections for the Consultative Council (Shura Council) had already been won by hardline forces. Other posts discussed the pressure faced by the Jordanian Brotherhood, operating under the name Islamic Action Front (IAF) following major losses in general elections . The reported cited above indicated that the defeat was blamed mainly on the leadership’s choice of moderate candidates to run the elections and that Saeed’s choice as new leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement could result in confrontation with the Jordanian government, which supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas versus Hamas.

Numerous posts have discussed extremist statements by Hamman Saeed including his support for a bill that allowed a committee of religious leaders to authorize marriages at age 15 instead of the normal legal age of 18 and his opposition to a U.N. treaty governing the rights of women.

In June 2010, a post reported that the Islamic Action Front (IAF) had elected Hamzah Mansour as its secretary general for the coming four years.  Although described above as a “moderate”,  a 2005 Saudi media report described Mr. Mansour as close to Hamas. In 2009, the Chinese news agency reported that Mr. Mansour alleged that the Israelis were trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque, a well-known feature of Global Muslim Brotherhood incitement against Israel:

“The Zionist attack on Al Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites in Jerusalem is not something new. There have been several attempts to destroy the mosque and all should shoulder the responsibility to defend Jerusalem and the holy sites,” Hamzah Mansour, head of the parliamentary bloc of the IAF, which is the political arm of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, said at the sit-in.

In August 2010, a post reported on support expressed by Mr. Mansour  for Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir, accused by the International Criminal Court of genocide in Sudan. 

The IAF is the political action arm of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and earlier posts have reported on what has been described as the crisis between the so-called hawk and dove factions of the movement. Generally unreported are the ties between the IAF and the US Muslim Brotherhood. The former IAF caretaker was 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 reported at 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.” More recently, after congratulating President Obama on his election, the IAF called his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan “a hostile step against the Arab and Islamic worlds. In 2009, the IAF also called Israeli actions in Gaza “the ugliest crime in history.” In February 2010, a post reported that the deputy leader of the IAF was scheduled to appear as a featured speaker at the annual conference of the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID), held last month which also featured Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan, As that post discussed, CSID has many ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

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