'Zamzam' Reveals Divisions In Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood

Article Summary
The Zamzam Initiative, a proposal launched by a moderate faction within the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood calling for all sides to participate in the government, risks dividing the group, reports Tamer al-Samadi.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan risks being divided following a new initiative for reform, called the Zamzam Initiative, announced by figures affiliated with the moderate faction within the group and with the participation of independent Islamic leaders.

While the initiative calls for all sides to participate in government institutions and maintain the “prestige of the state” — among other general policies — the extremist-controlled Brotherhood leadership issued yesterday [Nov.4] an internal circular calling for a boycott.

“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. The new organization attracts brothers and sisters who are removed from the Brotherhood’s teachings and positions,” the circular said.

Zaki Bani Arshid, the Brotherhood’s number-two man, refused to respond to questions from Al-Hayat regarding the group’s position toward the initiative, taking the same stance as that of Brotherhood spokesman Murad Adayleh.

However, a prominent senior leader within the Islamic group described the initiative as “suspicious and designed to cause rifts within the Brotherhood’s ranks in collaboration with official parties.”

The leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, accused those who launched the initiative of “seeking to sow division and discord within the Brotherhood’s ranks at the regional level [...] especially given that those behind the initiatives come from eastern Jordan, except for two who are from western Jordan.”

“West Jordanian” is used to describe Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin who came to the country after the wars of 1948 and 1967.

Regarding his expectations about an eminent rift within the group’s ranks, the leader said, “the Brotherhood has been through many crises before and has overcome them intact.”

He accused those behind the initiative of seeking to establish a political party under the name of the “Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.”

The Zamzam Initiative has received widespread attention during the past two days, as it stresses the need to “build a good relationship with all state institutions based on cooperation and active participation in various fields.”

The initiative’s regulations also emphasize the “need to adopt the principle of gradual transition toward democracy within the framework of reform plans, which must be implemented based on national consensus and popular participation in the reform project.”

Mohammed al-Majali, a member of the group, said that “the initiative came to complement what the Brotherhood failed to do, at the level of the Jordanian domestic situation.”

He accused the Brotherhood of being more concerned with Arab and Islamic issues, especially the Palestinian cause.

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