The crisis within the Islamist movement has deepened after the Islamic Action Front (IAF) legal committee ruled that a recent meeting of the party’s shura council to elect a president was illegitimate. Hardline leaders affected by the decision said they do not recognise the panel’s decision, leaving the situation inside the largest opposition party in uncertainty. The ruling means that the recent election of Ali Abul Sukkar as president of the 120-member council is no longer valid, leaving the party under the temporary management of Ishaq Farhan, appointed last year as caretaker. “Any decision taken after the elder president of the council adjourned the session is not legally sound, including the election of shura office,” said Farhan, quoting the panel’s decision. Last week’s shura council session was interrupted by heated arguments between hawks and doves, and a number of “dovish” council members walked out of the meeting, prompting temporary president Hosni Jarrar to adjourn the session. Abul Sukkar was then elected in the absence of key moderate figures. IAF officials and Muslim Brotherhood key leaders remained divided over the ruling….The IAF, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been deeply divided between hawks, who favour stronger ties with Hamas and a more confrontational posture towards the state, and doves, who are pushing for the party to sever its links with the Palestinian Islamist group and focus on local issues.
The IAF is the political action arm of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and an earlier post reported on the election of “hardliner” Zaki Bani Rsheid as IAF Secretary-General.
IAF caretaker Ishaq Farhan is 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 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 feature Tariq Ramadan, As that post discussed, CSID has many ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.