The Islamic Action Front (IAF) on Saturday held its third general conference in which it adopted its political agenda for the coming stage and elected the remaining members of its shura council. During the daylong event, Islamist leaders took the opportunity to highlight the group’s position on local and regional issues that shape the Kingdom’s political landscape. The party’s general assembly elected nine members for the 120-strong shura council, thus closing internal elections. Having completed the process, the group is ready to pick a new secretary general and members of the executive bureau. IAF officials are setting the stage for a shura council meeting to elect the new chief and bureau members, whose job is to run day-to-day business. The party’s secretary general, Ishaq Farhan, said the meeting could be held in the coming few weeks. Observers said yesterday’s polls hardly provide any sign over the identity of the upcoming secretary general, amid expectations that former overall leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Salem Falahat would be voted for the post. Farhan told The Jordan Times that Falahat’s name is “frequently mentioned as a candidate”. But the Islamist leader refused to comment on reports of rivalry between “hawks and doves” over who will take the helm of the largest opposition party in the Kingdom. Inside sources said naming the upcoming secretary general would all depend on an upcoming meeting for the shura council of the Muslim Brotherhood, the mother organisation of the IAF, which poses as the political arm of the almost 70-year-old group. The sources told The Jordan Times that the debate is still on within the group’s leadership over whether the Brotherhood has the power to name possible candidates for the IAF secretary general post. “It has not been decided yet if the Muslim Brotherhood shura council would agree to name two candidates for the IAF secretary general post or leave it to the party’s shura council to decide,” said one source on the sidelines of yesterday’s conference. Last month, the IAF held elections at its 24 branches to choose representatives at the shura council, the body responsible for the party’s affairs. Results indicated that the doves gained a 70 per cent majority over the hawks, putting them in a stronger position to name their candidates for the post of secretary general as well as members of the executive office and other party committees. The IAF held early elections after its former leadership, led by Zaki Bani Rsheid, resigned due to differences over the group’s ties with Hamas. The party has been deeply divided between the hawkish camp, which favours stronger ties with the Palestinian Islamist group, and doves, who wish to sever the party’s links with Hamas. During the conference, activists approved the party’s political agenda for the future on domestic and regional fronts. They agreed, among other resolutions, to expand the party’s outreach across the Kingdom and support resistance in the Palestinian territories.
The IAF is the political action arm of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.
The IAF Secretary-General 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 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.”
An earlier post from earlier this week reported that the deputy leader of the IAF is scheduled to appear next week as a featured speaker at the annual conference of the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID). As that post discussed, CSID has many ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.