News / Middle East

Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Raises Its Political Profile

Elizabeth Arrott
Jordan's monarchy largely stifles vigorous political dialogue, but the Muslim Brotherhood, banned for decades in neighboring countries, has long had a prominent voice in the kingdom. As Jordanians demand greater representation in their kingdom, the Brotherhood appears poised to step up even more.

Jordanians' demands for change have been growing stronger, fueled by economic hardship and boiling over at times into a direct challenge to the monarch. But the Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized political force in the kingdom, says it wants no part of regime change.

"So we are a peaceful movement and what we are asking for are reforms under the auspices of the monarchy," said Nimer al-Assaf, a top official in the Brotherhood's political wing.

Since its founding in the 1940's, Jordan's branch of the movement has played it safe, working with the government as it slowly built a following. But with the Arab Spring and the civil war next door in Syria, momentum has increased.

Political analyst Oraib al-Rantawi observes, "They spent more than one year-and-a-half waiting for what will happen in Syria because they feel if Muslim Brothers there reach power, this will empower them by default.”

Even as the ranks of Syrians taking shelter in Jordan swell, the Brotherhood, while keeping an eye on the conflict, said it isn't taking an active part. Al-Assaf said they don't send jihadis to fight, though he argued it is their right.

Al-Rantawi asserted that any encouragement is short-sighted, with hardened fighters likely to return and, as in Saudi Arabia, turn on those who supported them.

"They keep on following the same track and expect to reach a different result, for [them] to go somewhere else. This is really a stupid game being repeated time after time," said al-Rantawi.

The ultimate goals of the Brotherhood here are unclear. It holds views in keeping with hardline Islamists - refusing dialogue with the United States and Israel, despite Jordan's peace treaty with the Jewish state.

Nimer al-Assaf said this would change should they come to play a leading political role. "Things become different. You have to deal with the world, whether you like them or not.”

The promise of talks with Israel, though, is no guarantee of a smooth future.

"Maybe [we] will have a referendum through the Jordanian people and they can decide about the treaty," said al-Assaf.

With most Jordanians of Palestinian origin, some change would seem inevitable.

Opponents of the Brotherhood see the rise of Islamists in Jordan and across the region as a hijacking of the aspirations of the Arab uprisings. Al-Rantawi faults wealthy, conservative Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"From my point of view they are part of the counterrevolution of the Arab Spring,” said al-Rantawi.

The Muslim Brotherhood dismisses the notion of conspiracy, linking its rise to the expression of popular will.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bobgood1 from: Indianapolis, IN
December 07, 2012 12:09 PM
The land of Jordan, is the area where the Palistinians were suppose to re-locate in 1947. It really sounds like the Muslim Brotherhood is slowly taking over that Whole area. Anybody could see that.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More