What is the Muslim Brotherhood?
The Muslim Brotherhood is both a religious and political group. Its fundamental belief is that Islam is not merely a religion, but a way of life. They want to export and extend that way of life across the Arab world; then, keeping to their belief, the world. It is a formal Islamic group and movement that represents a desire to return to the rules outlined in the Quran and a rejection of secularism. They believe that Islamic law is the purest and healthiest set of rules for families, communities, and nations.
This series is an attempt to understand the Muslim brotherhood, and its recent rise in Jordan. Here is part one.
Everyone thought the Muslim Brotherhood was on the outs, pushed out of Jordan. The central government views the Muslim Brotherhood like a contagion. It’s true in a sense; their ideas have power, and we’ve seen how those ideas can spread into something terrible. Egypt, under Morsi, fell to the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, an effort a long time in the making that came to fruition. They proved they can effectively wage a cultural and social campaign, and prevail. While their time was short lived, the world should heed the lessons learned in Egypt.
Today, Turkey is under siege to Muslim Brotherhood fanatics – or so their critics claim. But rumors are abound that they support Sunni extremist groups as an action arm to their political agenda against a Shia, as well as a Kurdish state. However, we can’t control Turkey, that’s for sure. And whether or not their behavior is with the best intentions is yet to be seen. Jordan is who we ought to be concerned about.
Muslim Brotherhood structure in Jordan
Islamic Action Front (IAF) – Muslim Brotherhood political arm. Registered political party since 1992.
Muslim Brotherhood Group (MBG) – Main Muslim Brotherhood body.
Muslim Brotherhood Society (MBS) – The Muslim Brotherhood de-facto political party newly re-established.
How did the brotherhood rise when they were already a blip on the Jordanian’s radar?
They’ve won seats in parliament despite efforts to shut them down this year. Earlier this year, the IAF was notified by the governor of Aqaba to shut down and close their offices.
“In the second incident, on March 31, the governor of Amman informed MBG officials that because their group was not officially registered, they were prohibited from holding internal elections to select Shura Council members and a general overseer.” -AL Monitor
The MBG is able to rally support, both financial and legal to prop up the MBS in Jordan. To exact its political objectives the MBG seemingly rely on the IAF who boycotted the 2013 elections.
Yet, the Muslim Brotherhood has survived and moved forward via the IAF. Mainly due to the fact that Jordan, like many Arab nations, has transferred more power to the people. That power is the form of courts, legislative powers, and other democratic institutions.
The Islamic Action Front won seats instead of an official Muslim Brotherhood Group in the latest election.
The New York Times covered the vote and reported that “members of the political arm of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood won seats in Jordan’s Parliament in a symbolic comeback, and women increased their numbers in the legislature, according to results of parliamentary elections released on Thursday.
Although most of the 130 seats in the lower house of Parliament were retained by pro-monarchy loyalists, the Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood’s political arm, and other Islamists not affiliated with the Brotherhood won a total of 16 seats.
Jordan is pivotal for the Mideast. They represent sanity in the Middle East. They’re also the hub for those fleeing from areas ravaged by violence. Yet, the Muslim Brotherhood has won a substantial number of seats in their parliament at a time when the King has been preparing the kingdom to become more democratic post-Arab spring. The question is will Jordan ban the Muslim Brotherhood?”
This is how ideas survive, they aren’t quantifiable. They live on in the minds of believers. Anyone can ‘gate’ their own speech and thoughts to circumvent extremist ideologies and present yourself as part of the status quo. There’s no way to fight back an ideology. The more it is suppressed, the more its worldview confirmed and more extreme its believers become. If Jordan were to ban the Brotherhood it would only suppress the problem temporarily.
Either by design or not our presence in the Middle East along with globalization and its inter-connectivity sparked the Arab Spring. It began with a sense of economic disparity and a feeling of injustice. It’s good in that the Arab people want government more representative of their beliefs. However, it might not be government that we in the West want to come to be.
Featured image courtesy of www.billionbibles.org.